James Avery bags. Each contained a single, tangerine-orange box topped with a lighter dreamsicle shade of fluffy, orange tissue.
Tucked within the boxes were the secret treasures my mother and I had been not-so-patiently waiting to share with my sister-in-love, Liza. You see, all three contained identical, multi-corded strands of caramel and walnut leather, each ending in a simple, silver anchor.
While the jewelry's rustic appeal was lovely in its simplicity, the bracelets were not purchased to be things of beauty. Instead, they were to be objects of purpose, to serve as a visible reminder to constantly pray for my brother Johnathan, who would soon deploy overseas with his military unit.
The silver anchor charm was an
obvious choice. Johnathan is in the Navy will be living on a ten-story city of steel and rivets that floats atop the vast oceans. Yet, more than that, the charm reminds us that as his family, we are his anchor back home. In order to be that anchor, though, we must anchor ourselves in Christ and in prayer. Otherwise, we could be just a dead weight dragging him down. Our purpose as those "left behind" is important, even if sometimes we think it isn't.
The braided leather cord also serves to remind us of how important it is for all of his friends and family to pray for him while he is gone. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, "A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart."
As I look at that rough, woven band on my wrist, I imagine Johnathan's wife, his mother, and me (his sister) serving as those three strands, the women in his life weaving a rope of prayer around him as he embarks on his tour to another part of our globe.
This morning after I brushed my teeth and changed out of my pink, candy cane pajamas, I reached for that bracelet, knowing that today was the day he shipped out. Just like my mother and sister-in-love, I, too, wrapped the woven, leather cords around my wrist and anchored the two ends together into a circle.
For the next ten or so months until my brother returns to American soil, I will do the same thing each day, not because the bracelet is imbued with any particular power on its own but because I don't want a day to go by without me praying for my brother. In the mist of the chaos that is raising children, I need that visible reminder to stop and pray, over and over, as often as I see that anchor, to just pray. Lest I forget.
So, for the next year, if you see me dressed to the nine's in black velvet, heels, and diamond earrings but then let your gaze drop to this rough, unmatching accessory on my wrist, know that it's on purpose and for a purpose.
And when you see it, can you remember with me? speak over me a word of encouragement, or simply lift up a silent prayer with me for Johnathan, Liza, and all his family--for God's hand of protection and peace on us all....until we are all together again.