Storytelling

It takes an entire day for the job, but finally it’s done.

That morning I had dashed out in the cold to the garage and opened several huge Rubbermaid bins to find the sealed bags of clothes I needed.  Having three girls means we own girls’ clothing in every size for every season and when it’s time to transition from size to size it’s a chore.

Oh my, is it a chore.

I sorted through the dressers and in the closets.  I pulled out piece by piece of clothing from the bins and covered my living room and kitchen in piles for this size and that season and this child and that one.

Then I washed all of the “new” clothes, dried them, folded them and hung them on hangers.

Packing away the old size, I dashed out to the garage once more and then returned inside to collapse on the sofa with a cup of tea.

Done!

It isn’t without its share of memories, this sorting through old clothes.

I pulled out the outfits and remembered my middle girl’s preschool program when she wore this green dress….
…and the wedding that my oldest daughter had worn this to….
….and the birthday I had given this outfit to her….
…and how Grammy made the older girls these sweaters with the special buttons and they had worn them to the parade on Main Street.

Sorting these clothes is like flipping through the pages of a photo album and I find myself telling the stories to my daughters and to my husband as I fold them or pull out the hangers.

I tell them how I know exactly at what age my oldest daughter decided she had to wear dresses, all dresses, all the time—even nightgowns instead of pajama tops and bottoms.

I know it because in the size 4T bag of clothes I find dress after dress after dress.  You’ve never seen so many dresses: Dresses for play and for church and for school and for special occasions and everything in between.sewing-button

I think about it as I sit stretched out on the floor of my living room, sewing a button onto a shirt.  My preschooler fingers the buttons in the tin, choosing the one she likes and counting them.

There I sit telling a story again about visiting my great-grandmother’s house when I was a girl and how she was a seamstress, so I played with her leftover buttons all collected into metal tins and how I stacked her empty spools into towers.

I realize: We moms are storytellers so often, the caretakers of the family saga, the ones who remember grandma, great-grandma, and the babies, the births, the marriages, the days both joyful and hard.

So I take time to give my daughters this heirloom: these memories, these stories, these word pictures from the past.

But later I wonder: What stories will they tell about me?

I think of Tabitha in Scripture, a woman who followed Christ in her city of Joppa and “was always doing good and helping the poor.”

When she died, the people called for Peter to come and as he stood there in the room with her body: “All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas (Tabitha) had made while she was still with them” (Acts 9:39).

I think of this as I stand in front of my own piles of clothes and remember the stories.  That’s what the widows did.  They held up physical reminders of Tabitha’s past, of her kindness and self-sacrifice, of her service, of the way she used her gifts to glorify God and bless others.

So Peter called for Tabitha to come back from the dead and even this became part of her story, her testimony to God.

Amazingly, “she opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9:40-42).

The miracle started with a woman serving others in the simplest of ways.

It continued with the women in her town telling this story to Peter.

And it ended with God’s glory and with many people believing in Him.

We also are storytellers about the heroes of faith from the past and about the God who does wonders.

And we also are forming our own story, serving, loving, giving and trusting that the legacy we leave is one that gives glory to the God who saved us, even if it’s as simple as buttons and sashes and the stories we told our children.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Weekend Walk: A Messy Unraveling and a Thanksgiving Verse

We had made a mess.

So far, my daughter’s work at sewing class had impressed me.  She was getting into the groove of things: set the needle, angle the cloth, put down the foot, press the pedal, sew forward, backward and forward again, always guiding the material with her hands without getting her fingers sewn.

That’s a lot for me to remember, much less my six-year-old!

She was proud of her work and I was proud of her concentration and focus.  We’re learning, though, mostly together.  I’m probably not much more expert than she is.  So mistakes are inevitable.

During one of our rows of stitching, she slammed her foot down on the pedal like she was racing in Nascar without setting the needle and without clamping down the material.

We didn’t realize the extent of the disaster at first.  I just stopped her and we started the row over, correctly this time.  But when we lifted the finished row of material off the machine and flipped it over we saw a tangled, unraveling mess of string and knots where a row of straight and even stitches could be.

Sometimes mistakes and mess are like that, hidden underneath the surface.  We look like we have it all together and are happy and whole.

But we’re really unraveling.

And we can only hold it together so long before it all comes apart.

This Thanksgiving week, I’m thankful for mentors and teachers who can teach you how to get it right and what to do when you get it wrong.

But I’m also thankful for grace and fresh starts, for the fact that sometimes God lets us rip out the stitches, reset the material and start again.

I’m thankful that He never leaves us in an unraveling mess.  He’s always stitching us back together, with care and attention.

Our God is full of faithfulness, abundant in mercy and worthy of our praise, and our verse to meditate on all this Thanksgiving week is a reminder of that.

Psalm 100: A Psalm of Thanksgiving

 Shout with joy to the Lord, all the earth!
Worship the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing with joy.
Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;
go into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him and praise his name.
 For the Lord is good.
His unfailing love continues forever,
and his faithfulness continues to each generation.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King