May 20, 2016
There are so many days that I sit down to pray and find myself getting distracted. My mind wanders all over the place, and I have trouble focusing. The things I find to help one day may not help the next. One of my constant pleas to the Lord is to keep me focused on Him, not only during my prayer time, but in everyday life.
Something I have found to help is to take a pen and paper and pour out my heart to the Lord. I usually don’t use this method for intercessory prayer (praying for others). I write out praise to Him, I thank Him, confess to Him, and tell Him about what I am dealing with in my life. I know that He knows; I also know that He wants me to turn to Him for help and strength.
Lately, I have been dealing with a setback in the grief process. Or maybe it is not a setback, just something I need to go through. Once again, I find myself asking, “Why?” I miss Bob so very much. And among the “whys” are times of praise and thanksgiving that God provided me with such a wonderful man to have as my husband.
This morning as I sat with pen in hand, I paused in my writing. I had been telling the Lord that I felt like I was only taking small steps forward, but I want to make lengthy strides. I want to be an overcomer. I don’t like it when I seem to be going backwards. As I sat staring at the wall, a rack of embroidery thread caught my attention. (My sewing room has become my prayer room, too.)
The thought crossed my mind that it has been a long time since I have used the embroidery attachment to my sewing machine. Then I was reminded that I didn’t want to become distracted. And that is when the Lord took the focus of my distraction and taught me a lesson about small steps and big strides; only He used small stitches and big stitches.
When the sewing machine needle pierces the fabric, it carries the top thread (the one that is seen) along with it. That thread wraps around the bobbin thread underneath, which is normally not seen but holds it in place. The longer the stitch length, the less amount of times that the top thread is wrapped around the bottom one. So the greater length has much less strength. Not only that, but the fabric can become distorted more easily if the tension is not set exactly right. The long stitches can pull the fabric out of shape, causing the whole embroidery to be rippled.
Besides the tendency to be weaker, longer stitches often bunch together and allow the fabric to show below them. This can make the whole embroidery look sloppy. Long stitches also tend to catch on things. Shorter stitches are held closer to the supporting thread on the bottom and are not easily snagged by external objects.
As I realized what the Lord was saying to me, I wrote out this prayer:
“Father, thank You so much for being with me in the little things. For making a way for me. For helping me take forward steps when I would give up. For helping me realize that small steps count in forward progression. I want to make huge strides, but You know I need the small steps, too. With each small step I take, I am anchored more deeply in You. The giant leaps I want to make are more “worthy” in my eyes, yet the small ones fill gaps that large ones would leave behind.
“Father, thank You for the masterful way You take over my thoughts and teach me of You! I notice things that would distract and You use them to teach me a lesson. Embroidery thread…stitches…long ones…short ones. The short ones are anchored more firmly because they are held underneath by the bobbin thread. They have support that the long ones do not. Long stitches do not hold very well unless they are undergirded with smaller stitches.”
In this analogy, the bobbin thread is God’s love and strength. When I take small steps, He undergirds me and keeps me firm and sure. Even when I don’t see His pattern, I can rest assured that He can. When I want to stride ahead on my own, I lose the stability that He provides if I stay closer to Him and wait for His timing.
What a blessing to know that God is faithful and true and that He can use a seeming distraction as a teaching tool!
“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do no perish, for His mercies never end.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness!
I say: The Lord is my portion, therefore I will put my hope in Him.
The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the person who seeks Him.
It is good to wait quietly for deliverance from the Lord.” Lamentations 3:22-26 HCSB