By Debbie Baumgartner
Last week, I was making a banner for a wedding, and I was stringing it with some beautiful–albeit fragile–yarn.
Part way through the process, this beautiful fragile yarn snapped, so I made a knot and continued. I wove the yarn in and out of the holes at the top of each paper triangle. I did this for each flag, and as I pulled the yarn through, I was conscious of where the knot was and so was extra gentle with that part of the strand.
At least at first.
Since the knot didn’t seem to be getting stuck, and I didn’t feel like babying it through each hole, I sped up. A few flags later, the yarn broke from the strain, and I had to make another knot.
As I tied the second knot, I could sense the Holy Spirit’s gentle nudging–I knew it wasn’t about the banner.
In that moment, God was telling me that these knots were like the chronic pain and flare ups from my Fibromyalgia–reminders to take care, to slow down, to be gentle with myself.
Having to make that second knot reminded me of what happens when I don’t do those things. When I’m feeling OK, or having a “good day” as they say, I tend to overdo it, and then I end up having to stop altogether and spend some time mending.
So I took my time tying that second knot, thankful for an opportunity during the busy wedding preparations to be reminded of my own frailty, my own need. Then I carefully wove that twice broken, twice mended strand through the flags, pausing at each knot and thanking it for its weakness and its imperfection.
On the wedding day, that banner hung beautifully across the reception hall. The knots were hidden, just like my pain, and the words of the Apostle Paul echoed in my mind, “when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Debbie Baumgartner is a bivocational minister at Jesus People USA Evangelical Covenant Church where she lives and serves along with her husband of 18 years and their two amazing teenagers. Debbie is a math teacher and loves to make connections between math and the gospel. She loves reading, watching movies with her family, talking to friends and living in community. You can read more of her writing at The Tree Gardeners of Uptown.