Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The crafter's love

1 Samuel 2:18-21 (NIV)

But Samuel was ministering before the Lord — a boy wearing a linen ephod. Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to the Lord.” Then they would go home. And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord.
As she has been known to do three times over, Kristie is in the process of making a blanket for our new baby. I believe she is knitting this one, but it could be crochet, too, which is the skill she learned far before knitting. Regardless, the blanket (which now is the size of an adult scarf) is very, very colorful because she allowed Jack to choose the yarn.

Somehow in the last couple of weeks, the older boys realized their mother made blankets for them as well. They’ve not been hidden or anything, but nothing about them screams “made with love by mom.” They’re very nice, but otherwise nondescript. However, once the kids knew they had “special blankets,” well, they haven’t been put away since. Max especially is somewhat distraught he has outgrown his blanket — his feet stick out the end if he pulls it up to his chin.

Baby Max and the blanket he's now too big to use.
So Kristie, who loves taking care of her kids more than anything else on the planet, offered to make Max another blanket. When that’ll happen is beyond difficult to calculate (I suggested it be a high school graduation present, giving her 13 years to work with), but he doesn’t care about when. He couldn’t hide the pride and joy on his face when he told me Mom was going to make him a new blanket.

I don’t know the difference between knitting a blanket and fashioning a linen ephod, but I do know Kristie has made some pretty impressive projects over the years that have made very lovely gifts. As with most handmade items, they are welcomed for their beauty and functionality and treasured because of the crafter’s love and care every step of the way.

My creative outlets are limited to writing and amateur photography, which means I try to scribble out earnest thoughts in cards and am forever gifting calendars and framed collages, even to people who probably have far too many of both. Usually the pictures feature the children, which is my way of keeping them visible even when they are not a daily presence in a loved one’s life. Also, I like it when people tell me I take nice pictures, so there’s some self gratification as well.

But nothing compares to just how hard Kristie works on these projects. She does it out of love, even for a child she only knows on the inside. They’re not winning any blue ribbons at the county fair, but each time I see her working on one of these projects I think about how lucky we are to have such a thoughtful, skilled person in our life. And when the item is for one of the children, I realize what a blessing it is to be able to raise children with this woman. The Lord is gracious to us, and we most certainly are growing in His presence.

A prayer for June 19:

Lord, thank you for the skilled hands that lovingly craft family treasures, for the heart that motivates the hands to keep working and the wise mind that knows how to choose the right project every time. There are days when I can see nothing but the blessings in life, and I am so grateful especially for the time I get to spend with my wife and our children while they are so young. It is not always easy, of course, but it is always the work I want to be doing. Thank you for this life. Amen.

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