Tearing and Weaving. How we grow.

Tearing and Weaving. How we grow.

There is a spider outside the window. She is probably three inches across with a beautiful yellow and black design. Of course, we named her Charlotte. Every morning we stumble (I stumble, the younger girls bounce) into the kitchen to start the day. Sippy cup of milk for Peach, OJ for Lottie, coffee for me. And we make our way over to the window to check on our spider. This morning I watched her go around and around tearing up her old web and weaving a new one. She does this often. We’ve watched her make several iterations now because we’ve been watching her for weeks. It is mesmerizing.

This morning as I watched her tear down her old work and start again, I felt solidarity. It feels a lot like sanctification. The daily taking away of what doesn’t work or edify or bring beauty. The examination of my heart and uncovering ugly places that need to be reworked. The consideration of this particular season and my particular disciples, dismantling formulas and weaving growth and grace for this new day.

Our spider does this often and never knowing she has an audience. She spins and weaves and creates masterpiece after masterpiece, so that she can capture food and protect herself certainly, but also because she made to create. She doesn’t lament the demolition, and she doesn’t begrudge the construction. But with each gossamer thread she spells out glory.

I watched her spin and thought back over my last couple weeks, the plans that had to be ditched, the messes that had to be cleaned (so. much. throw. up.), the sour attitudes (mine the sourest), all the un-glorious of it. A lot of ugly came to the surface, and I had to hand to God some things that needed to be torn down. And now I have to be patient in the rebuilding.

It isn’t ever fun to feel like God’s forgotten you, but I’m guessing we’ve all felt that from time to time or maybe for a very long season. I think it’s okay to honestly tell Him how we feel. He might not change any of our circumstances, but that honest confession might be the gateway to weaving something new. And through it all–the surrendered undoing and the merciful creation–He’ll show us His glory in woven splendor.


When things don’t look like they used to…

When things don’t look like they used to…

egg sac spiderSince I was a little girl, Charlotte’s Web has been a favorite of mine. After our own little Charlotte was born last fall, I started reading the book to her. During the day, we would sit in the rocker with the pale sunlight casting a spell over the nursery and in the evenings I would turn off all the lights except the small lamp beside the rocker leaving the two of us caught in a golden globe. We would read about the farm, about the geese and the goslings, about Wilbur the little runt pig and about a beautiful spider named Charlotte. There are people who think Charlotte’s Web is a rather sad book. Matt asked me one time, “Doesn’t Charlotte die at the end?” Yes, Charlotte does die, but the book isn’t about her death. It’s about her life, about how she loved her friend Wilbur and how she loved her babies, how she used every cell of her little grey spider body to author silky messages and craft a peach-colored puff that held 514 tiny spider lives. It is the story of a woman who knows what her purpose is and knows her body is a tool to bring that purpose to fruition.

Ask a woman if there’s something about herself that she would like to change, and she will almost always say yes. A couple days ago, I dragged my kids to the drug store in their pajamas at 7 am. We were there within two minutes of them opening the doors. Why? Because I desperately needed to color my hair. My incredible mom who passed on to me many wonderful traits also gave me the genetics of early gray hair. Every time I look in the mirror, I’m convinced I’ve discovered another one, and on days when my three-year-old feels like pushing all my buttons I’m pretty sure an entire village pops up.

It seems there’s always a pound to lose, a wrinkle to erase, a dimple to smooth or something in need of a lift. We have these bodies and we have this one life. We don’t take this body with us, so why we wouldn’t we use it up while we’re here? Why wouldn’t we use every fiber of our being to give and love and create? Why wouldn’t we celebrate when our body shows the wrinkles from years of laughing? Why wouldn’t we appreciate the transformation that happens when we carry a precious life for nine months?  We make healthy choices, we exercise, we moisturize and I’m definitely going to cover these grays. But I’m tired of beating myself up because things don’t look like they used to.

Like my favorite t-shirt that just gets softer and more loved with every washing, I want to use this body. I want to wake it up early to see sunrises that color the sky in cotton candy clouds. I want to keep it up late lost between plot twists of a really great book. I want these feet to travel to Africa and bring our brown-eyed child home. I want these hands to paint walls that create a haven, to bake bread that feeds a heartbroken friend and make cookies that are really just toasted dough. I want these eyes to watch two girls grow strong and brave. I want these ears to hear a million dreams, “Guess whats” and “I love yous.” And I want this mouth to speak life to those around me, to whisper “keep going” and to kiss my husband every day until death do us part.

What if I didn’t view my body as a keepsake to be guarded and maintained but as a tool to do what I was put here for? What if I appreciated the role my body plays in helping me carry out my purpose? This morning I was working out in the flower bed, pulling weeds that had crept in around my wildflowers. In the spot where a flower had once bloomed, a small spider had created her egg sac. I thought back to Charlotte’s Web where Charlotte describes her egg sac as her “magnum opus,” her great work. As parents, we will invest many, many hours and much blood, sweat and tears into our children. There will be gray hairs from the times they miss curfew. There will be forehead wrinkles from the times they were weren’t invited to the birthday party or didn’t make the team. There might be a little post-pregnancy pooch that just won’t disappear no matter how many ab crunches are done. And there will always be a heart that breaks when we see our children go through pain and heartache. These 7000 days will wear us out and leave a lasting mark on our bodies. But we accept that. Hopefully, we even celebrate that. Because we know it is worth it. They are worth it.