Blog 11: A Good Work ~ God will complete His good work in you.

The butterfly has long represented "a new creation" in Christ

A Good Work

In Philippians, Paul reminds us that He Who began a good work in us will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6, KJV, my paraphrase)

This post is NOT about the Covid pandemic, but please allow me to lay a foundation here.

Due to the pandemic with its lengthy “Stay at Home” and “Isolation” mandates, many lives changed greatly. People lost their jobs or found themselves working from home; schools were closed, and children stayed home; stores had rigorous entry rules and eating out was no longer an option (with some exceptions for limited take out); and travel was greatly restricted. Social distancing and lack of personal contact became the norm; families were isolated from sick or dying loved ones; funerals and weddings were non-existent or very private; and all or most social clubs and events came to a screeching halt. In the name of health and safety, humanity suffered greatly. Our lives took a topsy-turvy turn, to say the least, and everyone was affected.

Like everyone, my “life” shut down during that time. I found myself with lots and lots of time on my hands, and I began to ask God how He wanted me to use that time (besides praying for people, situations, and nations.) I found myself drawing closer Him. I spent time reflecting on my life, on family relationships, and so forth. As the mandates lifted, my life was radically different. Now what? I wondered.

I want to focus on ONE thing, one area of my life, in which I had NO idea what God was doing. I picked up crocheting.

Yep, that’s right! I got together with my sister – and she taught me how to crochet, how to really crochet! (Oh, I had crocheted YEARS ago, very poorly, and never really made anything except cotton potholders. So – this was a new thing. I learned terms and definitions (terminology); I learned new stitches, like C2C; and I learned a new area of patience. I made several scarves and gave them as gifts. (That was a blessing because I love to give gifts.)

Here is my disclaimer: I would not say I am very good at crocheting, as I am just not “artsy-craftsy” talented. My talents lie elsewhere, but I most definitely improved! I learned a lot, and I had homemade items to give.

Okay, back to my story… Each crochet project I did was small, yet each scarf took a long time because I was not fast. I labored through to the end, but I FINSIHED them. SO many times, I had to go to my sister for help. But I wanted to learn! Eventually, the scarves got easier and faster, and I needed less and less help – until at last I could complete them in a reasonable time without need of help. (What a victory!) And then my sister introduced me to a new pattern: She wanted to teach me to make a shawl!!!

The pattern was lovely, and my sister assured me it was one of the “easier” patterns. To me, it seemed very complicated, but it was pretty, so I wanted to make one. Off we went to the yarn store.

As I was learning the new, and to me difficult shawl stitches and pattern, the frustrations came; I would put in 2 or 3 inches, see my mistake, and take it out, or complete an entire row only to realize it was a row A and it should have been a row B, and so forth. Row A went fairly smooth – 4 double crochets, chain one, repeat – but Row B! Row B was my nightmare! (Ask my sister, she’ll tell you!) Sometimes I would throw it down in disgust (many times, actually), and give up only to pick it up again later asking God to help me. I felt like I took out more than I put in. Eventually, I started getting the hang of it and made fewer mistakes. I even picked up a little speed. My first ever crochet shawl is now complete.

Soon after I had started it, I knew who I was going to give it to. I gave it to a mother of three, with one being a newborn. This comes at a time when gifts and attention are typically focused on the new baby. Isn’t God good to think of that?!

Okay, so what did I learn from all this? Why is all this important? What did God do IN me through all this – besides stretch my patience! -? Yes, I learned to crochet. Yes, I became more patient and got less frustrated. But there is more to it than that.

I FINISHED something hard; I finished something BIG. I finished something that was challenging; it was hard; it was “never” going to get finished. I had finished many things in my life – I am no quitter. But this challenging project was somehow different.

I see a spiritual connection, or truth. This long-time, on-going, difficult project is like God working on me all my life. He is slow and patient and takes the time to get it right. God never gives up on me. It is like me walking through ministry with a hurting person; it takes time, patience, and love. I am not to give up. It is like being hurt but determining to continue pursuing community because we NEED community. Never give up.

Through this shawl project, I came to a new place of determination, to a new sense of fulfillment, and to a new sense of perseverance. I came to a place of completeness. I came THROUGH the difficult into the easy. I pressed through; persevered; I hung on. In short, I did not abandon ship! And because of that, I grew spiritually – in a new way. [John the Baptist said “He (God/Jesus) must increase; I must decrease.” (John 3:30) And so must we decrease that Christ in us might increase.] But there’s more. And this is the exciting part – and the point to all of this!

My first ever crocheted shawl
My First Crocheted Shawl

Because I finished the shawl, I CAN SEE THE COMPLETED WORK – and it is beautiful. I see the whole picture, I see the whole story, I see something that is FINSIHED. And it was WORTH all the hard work, all the time, all the effort, and all the energy. It was worth all the frustration as I learned and grew. It was worth all the hard labor I put into it. IT WAS WORTH IT. And not only that, but I immediately started another shawl. You see, no more was it overwhelming, no more was it “impossible” – it is now something that can be undertaken and accomplished – it is attainable! And that brings HOPE.

That is very important because we ARE a work of God. He IS moving and doing things in our lives, He is forming us, and He WILL complete us; He WILL finish what He started in us. He will be faithful to complete it, as Paul reminds us in Philippians! We ARE worth it! Worth, not worthlessness. And so, there is hope. Hope, not defeat.

This shawl became a beautiful reminder of Christ in us the hope of glory. It became a reminder that in Him I am made whole and complete. In Him, I am lovely to behold. In Him I have worth and value. And it became a reminder that He will finish, complete, the work he began in me. One day, He will look at me and say, IT IS FINISHED; He will deem me beautiful. IT WILL BE WORTH IT. Glory!!!

So, if you are discouraged and feel like giving up, if you feel God has forsaken you, if you just can’t feel His presence or see Him moving in your life. Don’t abandon ship! Press through. God IS there. He will NOT abandon you. (His Word tells us He will NEVER forsake us.) Hold the course! Be confident of this very thing, that He Who begun a good work in you will be faithful to perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6) You are worth it to Him. The NIV SAYS He will carry it (the work in you) on to completion, the NAS says He will perfect it, and the Amplified says He will be developing and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. If you put it all together it is pretty strong! It’s powerful!

Let me leave you with this: In Romans 8:28 & 31 (AMP), it says: 28We are assured and know that all things work together and are fitting into a plan for good to those who love God and are called according to His design and purpose. 31What then shall we say? If God be for us, who can be against us? – Who can be our foe, if God is on our side? And in Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP), it says: For I know the thoughts and the plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace, and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Amen, and Glory to God!

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