Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Learning To Follow A Pattern

Do you love to crochet? Maybe you're a knitter. I enjoy creating scarves and afghans for my favorite people. I get excited as I walk into a shop to pick out new yarns for a project. I let the colors speak to me. I ponder what it would look like all finished. Creating something new stirs my heart. Once I get started on an afghan I almost get lost in the stitches. I take this time to pray for the one I'm creating a piece for. Then to give it as a gift brings so much joy. To see a friend wrapped in  a scarf I created, to see my grand-children and children all snuggled in an afghan warms my heart. 

It takes time to create something from a string of yarn. Amazing what happens with a hook and yarn and a bit of imagination. Color comes together and a pattern begins to form. At first it doesn't look like much. But once we continue in the process beauty appears. 

I have always used easy stitches for my projects. Now that I have mastered them I want to move on to more difficult patterns. But, here is my issue. I've never learned how to read a pattern. I've tried. When I look at a pattern all I read is, blah, blah, blah. It makes no sense to me. I look at it in total confusion. So, instead of moving along to new stitches I continue to stick with what I know. 

I'm that hands on girl. I need someone to sit next to me and show me each stitch. Once you take time teaching me one on one, it's not too long before I've got the hang of it. The problem with this is it does take time. It takes time and patience to sit next to someone and teach them something new. 

Yesterday I was blessed to sit with a friend who also loves to crochet and knit. She is one talented lady. I brought all my scarves and yarn and ideas. She was amazed at all that I had created without a pattern. She said to me, "Oh, honey, once you learn to read a pattern, you'll be able to do everything". She had such patience with me. In the photo I'm sharing you can see that I have started a new scarf. This is from a pattern for an afghan. She took that pattern and brought it to meet my need. We still followed the instructions. The pattern still the same. We just took it down to size. But in reading the pattern the possibilities are endless. 

In learning each stitch and knowing how to read that stitch on the pattern makes it easy to add other stitches. Pretty soon you have a row. Then your on the second row and third. Pretty soon your placing a border around it and your creation is complete.

"For I know the plans I have for you-this is the Lord's declaration-plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart." 
Jeremiah 29:11-13

For me to create just this small piece took about four hours. This was time spent with my friend teaching me to read the pattern and then following the directions. I would create a row and see that I forgot a stitch. I would let out what I had stitched and start again. I can tell you this happened quite a few times. I was ready to give up. My sweet friend encouraged me. "No, honey, don't give up. It takes time to learn. Once you understand the pattern, you will learn how to follow it". 

Praise Jesus, when we skip a few stitches or don't quite get it right, His grace is there for us. He gently guides us back and sets us on the pattern before us once again. We have a God of second and third chances. He knows the pattern is hard. He too knows what it's going to take to stay on course and finish strong. 

"The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Romans 5:20-21 

For all of you who create masterpieces of beauty this may come easy to you. You may have been crocheting for years. For me, this was difficult. So, I had to take my time. Some things come easy to us and others are more difficult to follow. It helps us to have a pattern and what's most important is how to understand that pattern. Before we follow it we must learn to understand. The more we understand the more we want to follow. I had to understand each stitch. During our time together she never once got frustrated with me. She said, "Honey, what you don't understand today, we'll get to next time we meet". 

Doesn't that sound like our Jesus? "Let's meet again? What you don't you understand today, you will soon. Give it time. Spend time with Me and I will show the pattern of life. Everything may not make a lot of sense starting out. Somethings may be hard. But don't give up. One day it will all come together and you will see what I have been creating for you." 

After spending the morning with my friend I drove home and simply pondered Jesus. I thought about the plans He has for me. It's my choice if I follow along His pattern or if I skip that and do my own thing. In skipping out on reading and understanding His pattern I'm going to be missing out on some extraordinary blessings.

"Although by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the basic principles of God's revelation again. You need milk, not solid food. Now everyone who lives on milk is inexperienced with the message about righteousness, because he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature-for those whose senses have been trained to distinguish between good and evil." Hebrews 5:12-14

I can just stick with what I know and that's fine for a time, but if I don't learn more, if I don't explore Him in more detail, I will never see all that HE has for me. I am to always be in continual growth with Him. Sometimes that means slowing down and soaking it all in. Others it means that I can move ahead and keep going. What's wonderful is the fact that I can always repeat a stitch I learned long ago. Somehow going back gives me an opportunity to learn even more. And what I learn I too can share with others.

I have a long way to go on this new project. I'm sure I will have to redo a few stitches here and there. Maybe backtrack a bit, but with determination and a great set of instructions I'm on way to something extraordinary. Surrounding myself with others who love to crochet will give me the encouragement I need for the journey in creating beauty.

We all have to start somewhere. What's amazing is that our Teacher meets us where we are. He wants to spend time with us. He is patient and understanding. He wants us to learn and grow, but in our own time. Not according to someone else. He's willing to put in the time. And that's the best kind of Teacher to have. 

"Your Word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path." 
Psalm 119:105

"I love Your instruction! It is my meditation all day long."
Psalm 119:97

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and he will guide you on the right paths." 
Proverbs 3:5-6


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