Friday, April 16, 2010

Life's tangled messes

My youngest daughter Mackenzie has been very interested in knitting and crocheting for the last year or so.  For Christmas, I bought several different colored skeins of yarn for her to experiment with.  She worked with them busily for a while, then the needlecrafts seemed to vanish out of sight and out of mind.  However, this week, I decided to help her clean her VERY messy room and while cleaning, found the box of yarn.

I started to say, "Hey, I found the yarn box!", then I saw her looking down at the floor and away from me.  As I opened the box, I realized why -- two of the skeins of yarn were huge, twisted, tangled messes.   

The usual "mommy thoughts" started flowing out and the typical "kid answers" followed --

"What on earth happened here?" -- "I tried to wind it into a ball."

"How did it get so tangled?" -- "I started pulling the end and it worked for a while, then the wrapper came off, and it all just jumbled up, and I didn't know what to do.....

"Why didn't you ask for help? I could've helped you or given you directions on how to do it right....."  -- "I thought I could do it on my own......"

"And now it's such a huge mess..... how will we ever get it untangled?" -- "I know, Mommy, I'm sorry......."

As I sat there on the floor, trying to make some sense of the twisted pile of yarn and trying not to actually say the angry comments that were running through my head, the thought came to me that this situation so closely resembles my life sometimes. How often does God look at my life, asking me, "My child, what happened here?"

"Well, God, I just wanted to ......."

"How did the situation get to this point?"

"Well, you see, God, I just started by doing THIS and then I tried THAT, and I thought I could fix it, but it all got messed up, and I didn't know what to do...."

"My precious child, why didn't you ask Me for help? I've got the answers you need."

"I don't know, God -- I really thought I could figure it out on my own...... and now everything's such a mess...... I'm so sorry.......Can You fix the mess I've made of my life?"

In the end, it took several hours over two days to get the first skein untangled and wrapped neatly in a ball; we're still working on the second skein! And again, as Mackenzie and I work through that process, I sense God teaching me another lesson -- that when I "follow the directions", try not to figure it out myself, but do things according to His plan, I don't have a jumbled mess in my life that will take ages and ages (or sometimes years) to untangle!

So often, people have to go through the "school of hard knocks", making a mess out of their lives, before figuring this lesson out. By God's grace, maybe these teachable moments I had with Mackenzie will have lasting benefits for both us, as we continue to learn to follow His "directions" for our lives more closely and avoid some of life's entanglements.


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