Coming up on three years ago when I was pregnant with my now two-and-a-half year old daughter, I found myself longing to learn something new. “I think I will learn to crochet,” I told myself. I gathered up some suggested materials, sat down with a printed pattern described as “beginner” and “easy” and quickly got frustrated. “How could Vanna look so happy on this label of this skein of yarn?!,” I thought to myself, “My face certainly doesn’t look like that right now.”
I could not get the yarn to cooperate and after several failed attempts, I threw the yarn and crochet hook down and walked away. But, I was determined… after watching some youtube videos (and backing them up and watching them again… and again…) I successfully completed my first basic granny square. My stitches were clumsy and too tight in some places and too loose in others. I had trouble finding where to put the hook for the next stitch. But, you know what? I didn’t give up. Not even after being discouraged about my work not looking perfect… and definitely not like the work in the picture of the pattern.
So in the evenings after my daughter is snuggled into her bed, I pick up some yarn and my crochet hook and sit on the couch with a mug of herbal tea, with the glow of a candle flickering on the table. After a row or two of counting and getting into the rhythm, I converse with God.
Sometimes I tend to be my worst critic and beat myself up. Sometimes things just don’t seem to be working out very well. Sometimes I get frustrated, doubt myself and sometimes I feel throwing in the towel on things more often than I should. I think that I’m not a good enough Mom, that I could put forth more effort at work, that I don’t read my Bible enough or pray enough. I think that I’m a really crappy friend and I’m not a very good example as an older sister to my sister and brother. That there’s something about me that caused my husband to not want to be married to me anymore. That my house is not sparkling clean and things are falling apart. I have thought about it all in some form or another as I sit alone with my crochet.
Sitting in the (almost) silence, with the clock ticking, the hum of the refrigerator, or the puppy crunching happily on her food, the soft glow of my candle… I enjoy the pull and feel of the yarn between my fingers. The pattern nestled in my lap as I read it line by line and end up with a finished hat or a scarf or a baby blanket that will be enjoyed and used – the culmination of my talents. Sometimes I mess up and realize much later and have to rip out several rows and redo my work. Sometimes the size just doesn’t turn right or I accidentally use the wrong type of yarn or the wrong size hook and I have to start all over from scratch with fresh “string” and a fresh outlook. But, no matter how the stitches look or how the finished product turns out, I would be proud of my finished accomplishment and I would love it.
When I started out crocheting, I had no idea that I would learn more than just how to make a starting chain, triple crochets, or slip stitches, but I ended up learning so much more. Yes, I mess up. Yes, things are not going to turn out exactly the way I think they should. Yes, I’m going to have to start from scratch on occasion. A lot of my crochet mistakes could be prevented if I had just read and followed the pattern instead of just telling myself, “You’ve got this… keep going and it will be just fine.” It got me thinking that the ultimate pattern I should follow for this life is the Word of God, the Bible. It’s the ultimate instruction book. Does that mean I’m still not going to screw up and repent? Nope. But, it does offer love and and hope and forgiveness and so much more for my screw ups.
And times when I meditate and ask God, “Why is this happening to ME?” God loves me no matter what, screw ups included. Each day is like a stitch in my crochet work. Sometimes they turn out well, and sometimes they don’t, but either way there’s another one coming, Lord willing. And God still loves the whole me… the whole work in progress. There’s even a verse about it:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” — Psalm 139:13
Wow! Mind-blowing stuff! God made me and knit ME (ME!) together! Every stitch, every part lovingly. Every time my mind thinks I’m not perfect, that things are just not going to get better, I just pick up my crochet. “Let’s talk, God.” -K