the value of a hank

I spotted the beautiful blue and green variegated yarn on the sales table at a local yarn shop a few weeks ago. One hundred percent Andes wool, the loosely wound hank of yarn lay twisted in a figure-eight pattern. I couldn’t resist.

Yesterday, tired and feeling frustrated by writer’s block, I opted to knit rather than walk or work while I hung out at the younger three’s soccer practice. I pulled out the hank of wool, removed the small pieces of yarn tied to keep it in its figure eight, and unwound it into a large loop.

But I still couldn’t knit from it. The wool stuck to itself and tangled.  Every time I pulled, it snarled.

I remembered the last sentences from my devotions that morning: “You inhabit a fallen, disjointed world, where things are constantly unraveling around the edges. Only a vibrant relationship with Me can keep you from being unraveled too” (Sarah Young, Jesus Calling).

I continued unwinding the yarn, thinking about that quote as I formed the end into a tiny wad and wrapped round and round it, rotating the emerging ball so it stayed balanced. Still the hank resisted my efforts. Eventually I hung it around my neck and lifted it one loop at a time as I wound.

I could identify with what Young wrote about unraveling. It has been a consistent prayer during my motherhood/teaching years. Last year, when we first took in two international students and with PJ still home part-time, it progressed at times to a fear. I am coming undone, I would cry, and then I would see, time and again, God holding me together.

But He is unraveling me now. The kids are all in full-day school, and I am not teaching. Though I have writing deadlines, I have large chunks of alone time in which to manage them. I am not frantically rushing from one school to another. I have quiet hours in which I don’t hear “Mom” or “Mrs. Underwood” at all. It is an oddly unsettling feeling. It is strangely lonely.

Late one night last week, Dave prayed—in what I think was Holy-Spirit-guided words—that I would find my value only in Christ.

Sometimes God must do some unraveling to make us see ourselves first and foremost as His. We have our roles set; we are comfortable in them (oddly enough, we CAN get comfortable with frantic schedules and too-long to-do lists!); we find our value in them; we may even brag about them. We have reputations. And God says, “I can’t knit with that hank of wool you have arranged just so. I have a finished product in mind for you, and you will have to be unwound for Me to work with you.”

There are some drastic examples of this in Scripture: Joseph: goodbye, pretty coat and favored-son status; Moses: adios, palace; Esther: hello, palace; Abraham: welcome to the tent of wandering! God unmakes in order to create and fashion and teach.

It took me a long time to wind that ball of yarn, but when I was finished with it, it seemed small—compressed, not as pretty. I wouldn’t have bought it if it had looked like that, I thought.

But its value now is not in how it looks at all.

Its value is that it can be used.

And the end result will be beautiful!

Philippians 1:6 “…I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

One thought on “the value of a hank

  1. Jen, I love this! Just good reminder to trust God when it appears our world is out of control. It is sad that our society has convinced women that there is little value in keep clothes clean for their family, keeping the house clean, food on the table and the general care of a home. Society pounds away but Godis always pulling us back to realize our value in not what we do.
    Love you much and appreciate the good work you do as wife and mother.

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