It’s only been a year since I first posted this, but I wanted to post it again. We are headed into a hard week. It’s time to say our official goodbyes. On top of that, we did not find a house while we were in Florida and we’re discouraged. It’s just going to be an emotional few days and as I think about the people who have been so tightly woven into our lives here in St. Louis, my heart breaks and my stomach twists. I am the ribbon being tugged away this time, preparing to be placed alone in a new town and await the beauty that comes from being rewoven.
We covet your prayers these next few days. And I pray that you can identify those who are woven into the fabric of your own life with deep gratitude and thanks.
THE RIBBONS AND THE RIBBON MAKER
Six ribbons, each a different length, a different size and all quite unique. The Ribbon Maker looked at His ribbons and decided that they would be better if woven together so He carefully and skillfully began braiding them. One over another with careful precision He wound the ribbons until they were a cord.
It was a strong cord and the weaving made each ribbon stronger. Until one day one of the ribbons felt a tug. She looked up and watched as the Ribbon Maker began pulling her away. She looked at the other ribbons in the cord. “I think the Ribbon Maker is calling me away,” she said. The ribbons looked up and saw that it was so. Though it saddened them to see a piece of the cord leave, they were thrilled when the Ribbon Maker left behind a thread – a splash of the ribbon He was taking away.
“I’m going to make a new cord using this beuatiful ribbon as my starting point,” the Ribbon Maker said as He lovingly carried away his ribbon.
Then there were five ribbons. They were still strong and with time they grew tighter and tighter as a unit. Until one day one of the ribbons looked up. She felt a tug and noticed that the Ribbon Maker was looking at her. “I think the Ribbon Maker wants to take me away,” she said to the group. The other ribbons were sad. How could they remain a strong cord if another ribbon was pulled away?
Once again, as the Ribbon Maker carefully unwove His ribbon from the rest, he left behind a thin cord. Next to the other four ribbons, the two cords left behind revealed a lovely pattern. “Don’t worry,” He told his ribbons. “I’m going to take her someplace new and begin a new cord. And you all will be stronger for it.” And with that He carried the ribbon away.
For some time, the four ribbons remained and just as the Ribbon Maker promised, they grew stronger and tighter. The threads of those who were carried away remained a strong presence in their unit and they each grew strong individually as well. But one day the Ribbon Maker looked at His cord and decided it needed a new ribbon. So, as only the Ribbon Maker can, He brought in a new, vibrant ribbon to weave into His cord. It took a bit of work to fit her in just right, but with time He had her woven in such a way that it was as if she had always been there. And the cord was strong.
One of the ribbons looked up. She felt the tug and knew it was time. All of the ribbons began to wonder why the Ribbon Maker continued to pull them away when they were so strong together.
“Trust me,” said the Ribbon Maker. “I need her to start a new cord, but her presence will always remain within this cord.”
And He carefully pulled out a thread and left it behind. The cord was beautiful and strong, though the ribbons left behind felt sad as they looked around and saw how many had been tugged away. What began as six ribbons had become five, then four, then five again and now four. Four ribbons with three vibrant threads woven in. What was the Ribbon Maker up to?
“I am weaving you together to make you strong,” He told them gently. “I need you strong so that I can use you to start new cords, strengthening my other ribbons. If I leave you all together too long what use is that to the ribbons who have no one to join with them? Don’t you know that there are threads of each of you left behind in different cords? Don’t you remember how I’ve tugged you away and used you to start new cords? My ribbons are each created with a unique beauty and that beauty is only enhanced when they are woven amongst one another. But I can’t leave my ribbons in one place for too long or they get tired, comfortable, and they lose a bit of their shine. You are a beautiful cord and you have grown into strong ribbons. I am using you to weave a beautiful tapestry. Trust Me.”
“If one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” Eccelesiastes 4:12
To the women who have been woven into my heart by the Ribbon Maker over the last year and a half, I love you. I am stronger because of you. I am grateful for you. The threads of those who have gone on (or are preparing to move on) are still visible and we continue to pray for you as you begin braiding a new cord of ribbons. You are being delicately woven in Costa Rica, in Dallas and, soon, in Cleveland. And for those who remain, I’m hanging on for ride because it appears to me that the Ribbon Maker has a grand plan for our braided little group.