Last summer, I had the pleasure of working as the photographer at a day camp for elementary-aged children. The things God taught me during that summer still stick with me, today. I was reminded of one this weekend, when I stepped on one of the thread bracelets, on the floor of my bedroom, that I made with one of the kids last summer. I thought it was a centipede, at first, and it scared me, but then I remembered how God used that poorly-made little bracelet to teach me a huge lesson.
During week two at Highland Day Camp, I had the opportunity to stay a couple hours after camp ended with aftercare, where I got to hang out with the sweet little kids I'd been taking pictures of all day. With aftercare, there are basically two options for entertainment -- the swimming pool or hanging out in front of the church that hosts the camp, playing with balls or making bracelets with threads.
Some of these tiny little humans are darn good at making bracelets. And I was not. Beyond braiding, which is super easy and gets super boring, my bracelet making skills were severely lacking. So, a little seven or eight-year-old girl who observed my struggle offered to teach me the following week, and I took her up on it.
The way she showed me how to make bracelets was super cool, and a lot more challenging than what I had previously been doing, but there was also a lot more room for error. By the time I completed the bracelet, it was a total mess. It's too short for my wrist and it totally doesn't look how it's supposed to, like a tiny little tapestry with the three colors I chose in a pattern. Instead, it looks like this:
But, while making this screwy little bracelet, I thought of a pretty snazzy metaphor. This bracelet was a lot like our walks with Christ. Somebody else started the bracelet for me. My bracelet was started by a cute little elementary school girl. Our lives are begun by our parents, and someone much more experienced usually provides the impetus for our faith, but what happens with the rest is up to us.
In the early stages of my bracelet I was coming along pretty good, but then about a quarter of the way through I starting tying the little knots from the wrong side, and it left me with a big ugly spot in the bracelet.
At this point, I had a couple options. I could have gotten a needle or something (to compensate for my lack of fingernails) and untied several knots and started it back the right way, or I could have kept going and just hoped that the rest of the bracelet turned out okay. In my haste to see the finished product, I chose the latter. And it totally didn't turn out okay. It pretty much went downhill from there.
Here's the snazzy metaphor: the kink in my bracelet, the mistake I made as a result of my own haste and impatience, is like sin. To ignore the kink and not go back and do it the right way is to commit a sin without repentance, and to ignore the sacrifice Jesus made for us.
I was 15-years-old when I made the decision to undo the kink in the bracelet of my life and to allow Christ into my heart and into my life, but it took a summer immersing myself in His creation at a children's day camp centered around God to totally start over and reset and to take up the cross (Luke 9:23 ESV) for myself and to follow him.
I no longer have to weave the tapestry of my life on my own. To accept that we make mistakes and to humble ourselves to follow Christ because we ultimately acknowledge that we can't do this on our own isn't an easy decision, but if you ask any follower of Christ it's the best decision any of us ever made.
If you're reading this, and you've left some kinks in your bracelet, and you're hoping that you'll get the hang of it all by yourself and that you'll come out OK when you get to the end of your thread, I'm here to tell you that you can't. The only way to untie those knots is to ask Jesus to come into your heart.