This weekend the ladies of The Summit EFC will experience a creative, artful craft called a “story rope” where they will use strips of fabric to design a visually compelling timeline of their lives.

Dark strips for hard times, traumas, losses, struggles.

Bright, cheerful fabric for times of joy and celebration.

White, silver and gold ribbon to signify marriage and other significant Jesus moments.

Being able to piece together our stories in a way that we are able to share them with others is a powerful process.

The visual reminders help us communicate our journey and open up our soul to a small group of others. A significant moment of transparency and vulnerability provides an opportunity to know and be known.

And more than that, as we look back at our lives, we are able to see more clearly the Lord at work over the years, even when we didn’t realize it at the time. Even through the hardest of times, we encounter His faithfulness, over, and over, and over again.

I am always so amazed at how the Lord cares about the details of our lives and orchestrates so many events and circumstances to illustrate His goodness.  This year our theme in the church is GRATITUDE. The men and women are studying in tandem, separately, as Ross preaches on the many different facets of the emotion of being grateful. After two years of significant losses in the form of deaths and staff changes, and the grieving that accompanies such dramatic blows to a body of believers, God is reminding us where our focus should be. On Him and His faithfulness. When even in our darkest times of despair and discouragement, just like Asaph declared in Psalm 77 as he drowned in anger, doubt, fear and distrust, we recall all that God has done and remember His goodness, His power, His redemption, His holiness and His might. We set our mind on Him and declare our gratitude for all He has done.

How fitting that we are able to come together this weekend and look at our lives, share our individual stories, be reminded of His unlimited and unconditional love for us, and grow in gratefulness.

In the midst of preparing this week for the retreat, God seemed to punctuate His point as I spent time with long time author friend Cynthia Ruchti as we discussed her new book, Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul. A poignant look at the many ways God takes the wounds of our lives and creates stunning artwork to glorify His Name.

A divine art form.

WOW.

As I connect the dots, I’m gaining a measure of awe and wonder at what God is doing in our midst.

And I am grateful.

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