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Prayer Surprised Me

At the beginning of Lent, I shared with you that I was going to craft my way through Lent as a form of self-care. For me, crafting is about far more than the actual act of making something with my hands. It is a way for me to clear my mind of the clutter and open myself to hear the more important messages around me. Often, craft time turns into prayer time. A few weeks ago, as I helped care for a sick family member, I stitched while I sat. Stitching kept my hands from being idle and helped my mind not spin out of control. As I was working on this finger labyrinth I was able to pray, sometimes with words other times with just the stitches themselves. Following the circular path was rhythmic and predictable. The finger labyrinth I was stitching was intended to be a prayer tool when it was finished. Praying while I stitched took me by surprise, but was such a gift. I admit that there were times when I messed up. My stitches weren’t as even as I wanted them to be. They weren’t flowing along the path as smoothly as I wanted. Many times, I got frustrated and took stitches out so that I could try again. Eventually it dawned on me that my prayers are not always as even, predictable and as easy as I want them to be. My prayers don’t always flow easily or sound nice and tidy like I would like, but they are real. Even the lopsided, straying-off-course, full-of-knots-underneath prayers need to be prayed. God listens no matter what. So with that thought, I quit trying to fix every ‘mistake’ and just kept stitching (and praying). I am looking forward to using the finished piece. One trip to the craft store for more thread and a few more uneven stitches and messy prayers until she goes in a frame. Then, my fingers can walk their way through new prayers that are sure to reveal more insight.

We aren’t all stitchers. Maybe you are a carpenter, painter, doodler or sculptor. If you join me in crafting my way through Lent (or beyond). I would love to see a picture of your creation. (I won’t even make you show the underside or the mistakes.)

April Alston
Associate Minister, Children and Preschool