I’ve talked about the tapestry of life. I’ve written about the rich, thick rug that is the life you and I lead. I’ve battled to unwind the fabric, impatiently tugging in the same threads over and over again, hoping desperately that I’ve somehow grabbed hold of the one string that will cause the whole woven mass to fall to pieces. To unroll and unwind and become once more the individuals threads that I hope against hope would be easier to decipher.
I’ve told you about the paint. Not an elegant portrait, not even a decipherable image, but the splotches and splatters of a real life. There are no color by numbers in this life, and the paint runs freely and eagerly all over the place. The red’s running in streaks through the green, the green is tinged yellow, the yellow’s dripping everywhere, and there’s a pool of blue at my feet.
I can’t unwind the tapestry, and sometimes I can’t make heads or tails of the painting. So very often, I’m careening through life, clinging fruitlessly to what I can get my hands on, and sending paint spraying with every step I take.
I don’t get it and I’m too close, too involved, to be able to step back and see the beauty in the twisted threads, in the running, oozing paint.
But sometimes, every now and again, I do see. A thread, a colored string in the tapestry of my life, catches my eyes, and I can follow it. I step back and I can suddenly see how one single thread runs across the whole. I can see where it twisted around to form a flower, where it ducked and turned and mixed with other threads, temporarily lost among the jumble, to form something more beautiful than it ever could have on its own.
But a glimpse is just that- quick, short, instant. And suddenly, I’ve lost the thread and all I can see is the jumble, the twist, the in and out, once more.
But the thread is still there.
In fifth grade and completely decided: I’m going to Moody Bible Institute. And, while I’m there, I think I’ll major in Elementary Education. I’ll learn to teach, to train, learn to be like so many who have taught me.
Then, suddenly, I’m a senior in high school and the application I’m filling out online lists me not as an El Ed, a future teacher, but rather as a linguistics major. Years have passed and I have somehow convinced myself that I’m not a teacher.
I could never teach; I’m sure it’s hard and tiring, and think of all the requirements and classes to take before I even begin; I can’t do that.
But there’s something different, too. The thread doesn’t stop, it flips and rolls and loops under another and it’s spring 2010, and eight years of plans skid to a halt. I’m not going to Moody, not this fall anyway. My after-college plans are unformed at best, completely nonexistent at their worst, and I slowly begin to realize that a career in linguistics, Bible translation, is not where my heart lies.
Children’s Ministry it’ll be now. I’m nineteen years old and have applied once more to the Moody Bible Institute. January, February, March 2011 pass, and I’m deeply embedded in my life in Mexico, my heart completely wrapped around the Casa Hogar.
I’ll not apply a third time, and I find myself planning, imagining, what it would look like to not attend Moody, to stay in Mexico. To work, to help, to love at the Casa Hogar.
But the Moody thread’s a long one and there’s a scanned letter in my Facebook inbox. We are excited to inform you…
My world tips violently and I’m completely doused in paint. Casa Hogar and church and family and Moody are so mixed together, I’m not sure what I’m feeling, and my eyes blur with hot tears as I read the full extent of the acceptance letter.
One school year down. May 2012, school ends and I’m reeling. The tapestry is fully intact, the painting’s just as vivid, just as intricate as ever, but for months I’ve been too busy to see it. Too busy to marvel at the beauty. Almost too busy to take comfort in the fact that I don’t get it, I don’t understand how the paint swirls, or why the threads knot and loop, but there is Someone who does.
Summer flows out of school, out of last year, out of the rest of my life; it’s the same tapestry. The same story. The same me. But I’m growing and learning, too. I’m jumping from puddle to puddle, splashing paint left and right, skipping and hopping as the thread continues to loop and twist, a never-ending story of God growing me, stretching me.
And then suddenly, I looked up and things looked familiar. I wiped the paint off my feet and shuffled around and realized I’m right where I was ten years ago. I’m going to Moody. In fact, I’m moving back to campus in just a little more than a week. And while I’m there, I think I’ll major in Elementary Education.
It’s funny, the way God works life, works hearts, works sovereignty. I’m not decided yet, I’m standing in front of the mountain, the skyscraper, trying to hold onto anything firm, anything steady. Because it’s a long climb and you’re right, I’m scared. But thread doesn’t stop and the colors of this painting, the hues of this next step in my life, are brilliant.
I might lose sight of the thread, left standing confused in front of the tapestry. And it won’t be long before I’m dripping paint, but Someone much bigger, much wiser, much grander than me made this tapestry, painted this picture, and I trust Him.