Saturday, December 13, 2008

Saturday Selah: Grace Woven in Darkness

I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places. --Isaiah 45:3
I have a little linen doily made by my great-grandmother. It is one of the few pieces with tatted lace made by her own hands that remains in existence. For me that makes it all the more precious and I take the task of its preservation seriously. It never sits on a table where food or drink may be used. It is never under a candle holder. When it is on display, it is used to highlight a special item that in no way can harm the doily.

Monetarily, it is not very valuable...a similar one is selling on ebay for under $10. But the value of the doily is not in its materials, for linen and cotton thread are cheap. The value of my doily comes from the hands that made it. My great-grandmother spent time using her talents to produce this little piece to make her home more lovely. She probably never imagined that the work she did in the early part of the 20th century would be adorning her great-granddaughter's home in the early part of the 21st century.

I read a little devotion from Streams in the Desert (1925) by Mrs. L.B. Cowman today that stirred the thoughts of my great-grandmother's doily. The devotion was probably written around the same time my great-grandmother's fingers wove my doily. Let me share with you the beauty woven by Mrs. Cowman's suffering on the mission field of Japan as she collected beautiful words to comfort and sustain her through the difficulties.

December 13

In the famous lace shops of Brussels, there are special rooms devoted to the spinning of the world's finest lace, all with the most delicate patterns. The rooms are kept completely dark, except for the light that falls directly on the developing pattern from one very small window. Only one person sits in each small room, where the narrow rays of light fall upon the threads he is weaving, for lace is always more beautifully and delicately woven when the weaver himself is in the dark, with only his work in the light.

Sometimes the darkness of our lives is worse, because we cannot even see the web we are weaving or understand what we are doing. Therefore we are unable to see any beauty or possible good arising from our experience. Yet if we are faithful to forge ahead and "if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9), someday we will know that the most exquisite work of our lives was done during those days when it was the darkest.

If you seem to be living in deep darkness because God is working in strange and mysterious ways, do not be afraid. Simply go forward in faith and in love, never doubting Him. He is watching and will bring goodness and beauty from all of your pain and tears. ~J.R. Miller
My husband and I are in a time of questioning. We know we are called to be ministers in our own community. But, for some reason, God allowed the little mission church we've been involved with to close its doors. The state convention withdrew its funding and the pastor is moving on to other ministry opportunities. So the work of the past years seems for naught. Except....we have not felt God telling us He has changed our calling. The present time seems to be meant for refreshing and regrouping, bathed in prayer.

I don't know what our next move will be, but I am assured that the Master Weaver has the threads of my life firmly in His hands. I know He has gifted me to weave certain threads He gives me into a design of His choosing, not mine. And I know that the final work will be a masterpiece.
The shuttles of His purpose move
To carry out His own design;
Seek not too soon to disapprove
His work, nor yet assign
Dark motives, when, with silent tread,
You view some somber fold;
For lo, within each darker thread
There twines a thread of gold.

Spin cheerfully,
Not tearfully,
He knows the way you plod;
Spin carefully,
Spin prayerfully,
But leave the thread with God.
--from the Canadian Home Journal


Denise said...

Such a lovely post dear.

TattingChic said...

So sorry to hear you are going through a difficult time.

Would love to see a photo of the tatted lace around the linen doily! :)

2nd Cup of Coffee said...

Patricia, I'm so sorry you're going through a difficult time, but you sure ministered to me through this post. This is exactly the way a devoted follower of Christ should respond to trials and even darkness, like the emotional darkness I went through years ago. I wish I could've read this post then. Thanks for sharing. That is the way we build each other up.