Sunday, June 15, 2014

Knit Two, Pray Two

By Tracey Solomon
Dipping the knitting needle into the next stitch, I wrap the yarn and pull it through. As I do, the beautiful lavender, silk yarn glides through my fingers. Wrapping for the next stitch, I whisper prayers for the future wearer of this offering of yarn, handwork and love. "Lord, bring comfort in these stitches." "Lord, let these stitches be a reminder of your love and mine for the wearer."
Knit I dip the needle into the next stitch and continue knitting and praying.
I'd love to say this practice was inspired by a Victorian era women's devotional practice I'm trying to revive. Or, that it came to me by divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Or even that I read about it in a book. I didn't. I'd like to because they sound better (and holier) than the truth ...
Prayerful knitting happened by accident one day, when I was multi-tasking. A friend was struggling through something and I decided to knit her a "hug." I wanted to make something tangible to remind her of my love, and God's. I prayed for her between the stitches.
Which is when I discovered that knitting helps me both focus and stay awake while praying!
See, I have a problem with sitting still and focusing on prayer. When I try to sit still and focus, one of two things usually happen:
a) I get distracted (Oh look! A squirrel) and forget I am praying . Which is like putting Jesus on hold and forgetting him. Nice.
b) I fall asleep. Which is not the same as resting in Jesus. Trust me. I'm not resting. I'm asleep. As in drool may be involved and I could possibly snore. Snoring is not a prayer language. Just saying.
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So for me, prayer is not just a spiritual battle, it's a battle between distraction and exhaustion. Maybe, I have "prayer-colepsy" or "PrayDD." Whatever you call it, I'm glad I've discovered that if I pray while I'm doing something. That way I can stay both focused and awake.
So I pray when I'm knitting. And while folding laundry, and sometimes in the shower. I rarely fall asleep in there.
Knit two, Pray two.
It works for me.
What about you? What works for you when it comes to prayer? Do you have struggles with prayer? What does your prayer time look like? I can't wait to hear!
Tracey is married to her high school sweetheart, Kyle. They have 3 sons. Tracey serves on the Board of Directors at MOPS International and has a background in pastoral counseling. She loves to knit and is passionate about reaching, connecting with and learning from that "other woman," the one who's different from her. She writes about it on her blog, A Mile in Her Shoes, at

Monday, June 9, 2014

Show, Don't Tell

By Margot Starbuck
Though I'm not proud of it, when I am really passionate about communicating something, I create merch.
Since I'm a stinky salesperson, these inspirational products eventually get jammed into nooks and crannies around my home. In closets and under beds are stashed countless bracelets that say "Beloved," t-shirts that command "Live Love," hats that instruct "Walk With the Lord" and buttons that announce "I Am For You."
This morning I noticed a cutie pin-back button I designed to inspire writers, and snapped a pic to post on Facebook.
The small turquoise button proclaims "Show, don't tell," and my caption simply offered, "For my friends who write..."
What writers have been told, and what readers know implicitly, is that "telling" quickly becomes wearisome. When a writer "tells" too much, readers shut off their kindles and go pour themselves a Diet Coke. "Showing," though? That's where the magic is. When a writer shows-through vivid stories and dialogue and description-readers keep reading.
One of my most visionary friends, Kenny, left a comment on Facebook below my photo, adding:
"For my friends who present. For my friends who lead. For my friends who sell. For my friends who parent. For my friends..."
You can bet my blue button I've been noodling on smart Kenny's insight all day.
Kenny had opened my eyes to the fact that what I knew to be true about writing well is true of speaking well. Leading well. Selling well. Parenting well. Whatever opportunities we're given to influence others are enhanced when we show. Not tell.
Writing a book to tell my neighbors how to love their neighbors-which, with the best of intentions, I actually did-may not be as effective as learning the names of grocery checkers and Target cashiers and speaking to them by name when I'm out doing errands with a friend.
If my neighbor Donna wants her fifteen-year-old daughter to keep her paws off her cell phone when she gets her driver's license next year, telling her isn't as effective as Donna burying her own phone in the glove compartment.
The sellers of Vitamix blenders know that paying staff to demonstrate their product in the aisles of Costco-where potential buyers can see and hear and touch and smell and taste-is much more effective than trying to talk customers into buying a Vitamix.
Whatever opportunities we're given to impact others are enhanced when we show. What does showing look like in your sphere of influence this week?
Margot Starbuck's most recent book, about the face of God that smiles on us, is called Not Who I Imagined: Surprised by a Loving God. Connect at

Monday, June 2, 2014

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

By Elisabeth Klein
I met with a new friend recently who is still processing a broken relationship. She has done the hard work, she has turned over every rock. And yet she can't seem to fully let go (her words, not mine). She said something like this, "I just don't know why two Christians who once loved each other well can't end things better than this. Is this really the best we can do?"
I have struggled with this so very much. It seems to me that two people who claim to know, love, trust, follow and obey Jesus should be able to relationally have their acts together, that they should be able to be - at the very least - civil with each other.
Even so, I have a few people in my life who I do not speak to. A small few, but still. These few do not like who I am. And with these few, I have had to come to terms with the reality that distance is the only thing that will make our relationships - or lack
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thereof - work. They are no longer in my life.
In each of these cases, I have had to choose to move on with a ridiculous number of loose ends dangling between us. Feeling completely misunderstood, completely judged, and sometimes lied about.
Over the past couple years as I've grappled with being divorced and what that means. The primary relationship I was in for the past two decades could no longer be sustained and that made me feel like a relational, emotional and spiritual failure. But I have come to realize something-not everyone gets along. And that's okay.
This may seem like a cop-out. Or like something a divorced person would say to make herself feel better.
But really and truly, it's just a fact.
We live in a fallen world. Jesus has not set all things right yet. There is sin and addiction and abuse and people make mistakes all day every day and hurt each other. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done but to part ways.
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So in some quiet moments when past hurts come to mind, I must cling to the grace of it all. Jesus died for things like this. Some things - no...many things - he has resurrected in my life and I am reaping the benefits. But still others, I will have to wait. And I must learn to wait.
Elisabeth is a single mom to Sara (17) and Jack (15-1/2). She loves spending time with her kids, her friends, reading and writing. She is the author of Moving on as a Single Christian Mom, Living Through Divorce as a Christian Woman: Questions & Suggestions, Surviving in a Difficult Christian Marriage: Questions & Suggestions, Unraveling: Hanging onto Faith through the End of a Christian Marriage, At the Corner of Broken & Love; One Girl, Third World; He Is Just That Into You;In Search of Calm: Renewal for a Mother's Heart; and Calm in My Chaos: Encouragement for a Mom's Weary Soul. Visit her website at If you are in a difficult marriage or find yourself going through a divorce, she has created two private groups on Facebook that she would like to invite you to. Simply email her at for more information.