COAL INTO DIAMONDS
Today in my readings I came across this passage written by Ken Mansfield, former manager of the famed musical group The Beatles. Mr. Mansfield writes:
I love how God weaves incredible tapestries by using everything in our lives so that nothing is wasted. It is amazing how He turns coal into diamonds, grapes into fine wine, and trials into treasure.
Jesus showed us through His life how He does this in our lives if we allow Him to. He took Saul, a Roman Jew whose aim in life was to destroy all the Christians he could, and Jesus changed his life (and his name) to being a devout follower and preaching the good news of Jesus in many lands. He became "Paul" and he was turned from coal into a diamond.
The times in our own lives when we have experienced the most trouble, the most distress, the hardest days often end up being the times when we have changed the most. And it depends on who you look to for answers as to how you change. If you depend on yourself for all the answers, you will end up broken, bitter and desperate eventually. If you depend on Jesus Christ for the answers (perhaps not the ones you would have chosen for yourself---but the true answers), then you change for the better. You become the fine wine and your trials are turned into treasures. You receive the miraculous gift of salvation.
The book of Romans written by Paul tells us in chapter 8 about this transformation from trash to treasure.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us...These trials are not just turned to glory once we reach heaven...although that is something to look forward to. These trials are taken and used for the glory of God here on this earth in this present time.
My own story is deeply entwined with that of my youngest son at this time. Because I am his mother I love him deeply and want the best for him. So when he was diagnosed with Crohn's disease last year, I was devastated. I knew about Crohn's. I knew people who lived with the disease. I did not want that for my son.
And when he had to spend time in the hospital, I was filled with sadness at his suffering. I prayed for the Lord to heal him...instantly. But God did not. I prayed for the Lord to give us relief from the aching in our hearts. But the pain still continued.
He is seven years old. It is hard to explain to a seven year old about chronic illness and God healing in the same conversation. But he has been blessed because what I could not explain, God showed him. My son has prayed with many people that he has encountered in this journey. He has prayed fervently for others who are suffering because he knows suffering himself. He has encouraged others by his praise for the Lord Jesus in the middle of his storm. And it is his own observation that when he praises the Lord, he has more peace. And THAT is the miracle that is happening...peace in the middle of unbearable sorrow and pain. Comfort in the middle of the trials. For us...his parents...we saw that peace descend upon our own hearts many times.
We believe God is the great healer and we continue to pray for complete healing for our son. We also have seen answers to our prayers for him....through the use of medicine that was not even in existence thirty years ago....through nurses who were able to give him relief in small ways that meant large amounts...through a church family and friends who gave financially to us so much so that his hospital bills were covered...through support and calls and prayers that brought us love and surrounded us with the knowledge that we are all part of one big family in Christ...through his remarkable and unusually rapid response to the medicine so that he has no pain now and is growing and has energy again. God has answered our prayers but He has done more than that...He has drawn us closer to Him and shown us His power to hold us during the hard times and to turn something terrible into something that brings glory to Him.
My son's testimony is one of praising the Lord in the middle of sadness and receiving peace. My testimony is one of being able to release my control (which in reality was non-existent anyway) to the Lord and to trust Him in the face of uncertainty.
Peace is a diamond. Peace is a glass of fine wine. Peace is a treasure. And Jesus says to us,
“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful." - John 14
One thing I have realized through this particular trial is that there are many children and parents who are afraid and suffering in the hospitals around this world. There is a look in the eyes of the parents you meet in the hallways of ...not really pity, but disbelief in a way...like, "What are we doing here?" And it is almost like you don't want to ask them why they are here but you are drawn to and they are drawn to telling you about their child. We are in the same boat, in similar storms...but the Master of the Storms on this earth is also the Master of the storms of our lives.
I want to praise Jesus for walking with us and with our child and with our eldest son and our extended family through this storm. I want to praise Him for the wonderful doctors He placed in our lives from our family doctor to the ER doctors to the specialists. I want to thank Him for the concern in the hearts of these medical professionals. It would be easier for them to just do their job without caring...because it hurts to care. But they don't....they do their job with tears in their eyes and burdened hearts and some of them have hope that they share...the hope of Jesus and His love and His power...and it means a world of difference. I want to praise Him for bringing us to the other shore of the lake, out of the major storm and into a time of rest in Him. I want to praise Him for the health of my little boy and for growing his faith. I not only want to praise Him; I want Him to take these trials and turn them into treasures. I want to see Him continue to reach down through us to encourage others, to comfort others, and to push us forward.
It is with this in my heart that I have an idea. I love to crochet and I made this little giraffe lovey this week for a coworker. My little boy saw it and loved it! When he was in the hospital he received stuffed animals, Christmas presents, cards and all of that was encouraging to him. So we want to encourage others. He has taken some children's books to the hospital when he returns for checkups and he has given balloons to other kids there. What I would like to do is continue to make more of these "loveys" as they are called for the medical personnel to give to children who are afraid of being in the hospital, to those who have had to go through a hard procedure, to those who are just wanting to go home. And I want to do it in the name of Jesus...to glorify Him. Because it is His love that is the best "lovey" we could ask for. He gave His life for us...how much love is that?
So I want to call this project "Loveys for Levine's Little Lambs". If you crochet and want to make a lovey and donate it we will be happy to take these to Levine's when we go. If you don't crochet or knit, but want to contribute then think about donating yarn. I can provide a giraffe pattern that is of moderate difficulty or some easier patterns for beginning crafters. I hope that this will be of encouragement in the future to other children and parents in storms of their own.
A couple of musts: If you are creating a lovey, please use clean yarn from a smoke-free environment. Also, for facial features just embroider these instead of using attachable buttons or eyes to reduce any risks of choking.
Here are the links to three patterns to start off with. Of course you may use your own pattern as well.
Lulus's Craft Website - giraffe lovey...The lady who created this pattern has very generously offered to help anyone who has questions about the pattern. You can check out her facebook page here at LuLusCrafts.
Bunny Lovey from RedHeart - a sweet little bunny lovey.
Sunshine Lovey - a colorful, bright lovey
If you would like to participate in this project by donating yarn or creating a lovey, I would love to hear from you so leave me a message on this post!
Today I heard the whisper of God in the whisper of yarn against yarn as crochet hooks move and in the whisper of the Holy Spirit saying, Give. Love. Worship.