The Threads of Our Lives

Last night, I finished reading Beth Moore’s new beautiful memoir All My Knotted-Up Life. Having completed so many Beth Moore Bible studies through the years, beginning in 2005, and having known her for so long, many stories were familiar, but it gave a fuller look into her life. I have appreciated so much her passionate desire to know Christ, to know His Word, to be committed to the local church, to disciple women, and to express in such memorable and beautiful ways His truth. She is more creative than I think most know, with a great sense of humor, and a gifted communicator and giver of words that bring life and hope. Beth has a way of making the Bible come alive and sharing its profound truth in ways easy to understand and remember. Seeing her passion caused me to want to read and know my Bible and the Lord better. I can remember so many events in my life paralleling with her studies. At times, she has been misunderstood and misrepresented, but she has faithfully continued to walk with the Lord. I am grateful for her ministry and thankful for her influence in my life.

As I think about her book’s title, All My Knotted Up Life, and these knots of our lives that seem confusing and difficult, yet can become so redemptive, I am reminded of my favorite childhood author, Corrie Ten Boom. She had a book called Tramp for the Lord which mesmerized me, as a 9 or 10-year old girl, with the stories of God’s miracles. Corrie’s family lived in the Netherlands which was invaded in 1940 in World War 2. Her family provided a safe haven in their home for persecuted Jews. They were captured and ended up in a concentration camp where Corrie’s father and sister died. Through a clerical error, Corrie was released and went around the world telling people about Jesus and all He had done.

Corrie writes: “Although the threads of my life have often seemed knotted, I know, by faith, that on the other side of the embroidery there is a crown. As I have walked the worlda tramp for the LordI have learned a few lessons in God’s great classroom.” These lessons she shares in her book.

Corrie also shared a poem called “The Weaving.” I’m not sure if she wrote it or simply popularized it, but it reads:

My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.

I have thought of this poem often through my life. When things look knotted and messed up from our view, we will at some point be able to flip it over to see a beautiful masterpiece that God was weaving.

In August 2014, I was able to visit Corrie’s home in Haarlem, Netherlands. These two photos of a weaving hang in her family’s home there, along with one other reminding us that Jesus is Victorious!

One other meaningful thing to me is that in my office where I worked for 12 years, which was decorated before I arrived in it, over the desk hangs this same poem, which has been a regular reminder to me:

In Beth Moore’s book, she takes the meanings of these knots in our lives further and gives a greater view to God’s personal care for us through it. I encourage you to read it.

As I searched to find the meaning of “Jesus is Overwinnaar” in Dutch (“Jesus is Victorious!”), I came across this song by Selah which I’ll close with. I praise Him again today for the beautiful weaving He is making out of your life and mine.

February Recap

For Christmas I was given a “Growth Book,” something I had heard about online and asked for. It’s a way to follow your growth for the year, allowing you to track your goals, reading, prayer requests, God’s faithfulness, and reflect each month where you’ve done well or where you need change. There are many blank pages for journaling or taking notes from sermons or podcasts — or however else you want to use them. It has been a help to me to record these things and visualize progress. Read more

Book Review and Giveaway

9780802419194This summer, I went through a new Bible study on prayer called On Bended Knee: Praying like Prophets, Warriors, and Kings by Crickett Keeth. Crickett is the women’s ministry director at First Evangelical Church in Memphis, where I grew up. She is also a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, where my husband earned his Th.M. So we have many mutual connections which helped stir my initial interest in this study. I’ve also been impressed with the growing number of Bible studies being offered by Moody Publishers (where my husband also happens to work!) and have enjoyed using them over the last few years as resources to dig into God’s Word. Read more

Book Review: First Ask Why

“We are not here simply to take up space in the world,
but we are here to make a difference for eternity.”

These words from Shelly Wildman have stuck with me. Shelly’s new parenting book First Ask Why: Raising Kids to Love God Through Intentional Discipleship (Kregel, 2018) is being released TODAY, and I am thrilled to recommend it to you—not simply because Shelly is a friend, but because it is filled with truth and encouragment for the path of parenting.

I’m reminded through Shelly’s quote above that all of our lives have purpose. Because of this, our parenting requires intentionality. Read more

Radical Prayer by Manny Mill

If you are part of a family, you know that there can be times that are hard! It can be for a variety of different reasons – perhaps someone is in a bad mood or doesn’t want to listen to good advice. Perhaps someone feels unfairly treated or is being selfish. No need to even provide many examples because you can likely identify.

My family had one such Thursday in July. I can’t even remember now how things unraveled, but at day’s end, there was much discouragement.

As I went walking the next morning, wanting to pray about it, I grabbed some memory verse cards I’d made earlier in the year, but had not since reviewed. I came across an entry from April, and it said,

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though its waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling” (Psalm 46:1-3).

This sounded very familiar to me! I remembered a text message I had received from Manny Mill the day before, seemingly out of the blue as I had not heard from him in months. I wondered if this was the psalm he had referenced in his text. I got home from walking and picked up my phone to see.

Yes, Manny’s text that Thursday morning had said he was radically praying for my family and had prepared his ministry message for that night with me in mind, that it was on Psalm 46, and that Barb (his wife) would be singing “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

Well, it was that very night that our family had this discouraging time. And after my walk the next day and reading Psalm 46 in my memory verses, I was reminded of Manny’s text that told me he was praying radically for my family before this had even happened.

God in His kindness was reassuring me through this. “Therefore we will not fear.” And when we next went to church as a family, the hymn that was sung that Sunday morning was “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.”

Manny Mill is a commissioned evangelist from our church. I have the blessing of working in the church and getting to know amazing people like Manny and Barbara whose lives are authentic and demonstrate that the relationship they have with God directs everything they do. They truly walk with God and live out what they believe.

Manny recently brought me a copy of his new book Radical PrayerI read it in a matter of days, anxious to learn from this prayer warrior what I have seen lived out in his life.

What do you believe about prayer? 

In 2010, Manny’s wife Barbara was in an automobile accident. This event caused him to ask, “How can I treat God like a paramedic, calling out to Him only when there’s an emergency?” God used this as the impetus to begin to transform Manny’s prayer life.

Through the years I’ve read various things on prayer, and this is one of my favorites. Perhaps it’s because I know Manny and see this lived out in his life, but it definitely challenged me in new ways.

I loved being reminded that prayer is about God’s glory before it’s about my needs, and how he developed praying for the hallowing of God’s name. He encouraged radical prayer and radical love and gave practical examples of what this looks like. There were points in the book where he just says to set the book down, take a radical timeout, open the Bible and pray. I found those to be powerful moments.

As I read Manny’s book, I loved seeing all God has done in his life to reveal Himself to Manny so that Manny can now reveal Him to others and make Him known. And I wonder, how can I do the same?

Whatever it is you think about prayer, this book will encourage you to know more and to pray persistently, radically, and in biblical ways. The 10 chapters would make a great 10-day devotional or be useful in a small group discussion over 10 weeks.

Note: All proceeds from the book will be donated to Koinonia House National Ministries. Their annual banquet is coming up October 29 at 6:00 p.m. in Lombard, IL. If you live in the Chicagoland area and are interested, click here for more information or to register.