Tuesday, December 15, 2009

God Shops Wal-Mart's Clearance Aisles Too

A few weeks ago, Jennifer @ Getting Down with Jesus published a post about starting a Prayer Shawl Ministry . I love this woman more than should be possible since we've never actually met. Her heart note resounds a perfect C in Christ, so when I read her words, I listen for God to speak to me.

Two weeks later, the prayer shawl ministry was still in the forefront of my mind as something God was prompting me to do, but the online pattern looked a bit more intense, meaning "too many places for me to screw up!" since I have little time to crochet without the the three children demanding my attention.

If it's not a pattern I can easily do while both twins cry about something and my other 3-year-old son sings in a not-so-inside voice...well, then it just won't get done.

So, I did what many daughters do--I went and asked my mother if she could simplify the pattern for me, and she did.

A day later,I opened my closet and unveiled part of my "stash" of yarn, and her mouth just dropped open. "You know what this means, don't you? You know why God gave you this yarn?" As I handed her a few skeins, I answered. "Yes, I do."

Three or four years ago, Wal-mart put on clearance for $1 or $2.50 a skein (reg. $4.50 each) all their homespun Lion Brand yarns. Beautiful teals and eggplant purples, waterfall blues and quartz beige/browns--I didn't know what I'd ever do with that much yarn, but I felt compelled to buy it all. With my husband's eyes rolling heavenward at what would his nutty wife possibly want next, he agreed, and I brought 3 huge boxes to our home where I promptly tucked them away in closets...for years.

But I've been so excited lately about this yarn. It's proof that God has been at work in my life in different areas I hadn't even thought would be an area where God would work! He is the one who prompted my heart all those years ago to buy the yarn. But it took this many years to conform my heart and spirit into a humble attitude of service where I would be willing to spend my personal time making this gift for someone not in my family. It took this long for me to not just hear another's need, but to feel it, to grieve over it.

God has given me a heart transplant, replacing a stoic one with a heart so tender, I can't wear mascara anymore unless it's waterproof. He's given me a heart for this ministry. In one week's time, the ministry has taken off. I am a few rows from finishing a prayer shawl for a lady whose husband will pass away soon from liver disease. And I'm halfway through another one for a good friend who's having a rough time with her insecure job situation. My mother, as well, has finished one prayer shawl for a woman whose husband just lost his job. And she's now making one for her mother in law who is nearly always in pain because of her physical condition. All of these shawls came from "THAT" yarn.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least to find out that God stocks Wal-Mart's clearance aisle with other surprises that can be used for His kingdom work, if we're paying attention.

Thank you God for being patient with me. Thank you for not just finding somebody else for the ministry. Your patience, your waiting--they humble me.


  1. Oh Jennifer! Your story is amazing -- and your prayer shawl is gorgeous. You are such a blessing and now you will multiply that blessing through prayer and friendship to the one who receives this handmade gift.

    I send my love, and also my thanks for your kind words. I feel pretty off-key most days, so I'm feeling pretty encouraged at the Middle-C comment.

    You make me smile.

  2. I have a huge lump in my throat! I don't crochet. I am completely in awe at the work that so many hands can do.

    But I'm mostly in awe of God's work and planning. Indeed, it is humbling. It reminds me that He "IS" at work more than my eyes can see. Beyond my expectations.

    I am so desperate for Him. And I know He is faithful.

  3. When God calls you to do something, "can't" isn't an option. "I'll try" works better. I'm by no means a great crochet woman like my mother. Hence, the greatness that is God who found this yarn for me that hides my mistakes!!