I'm bothered by my cynicism lately on the blog. I'm not always this critical, really. I don't know what's gotten into me. Anyway, because its annoying me, it must be annoying my readers, so here's some GOOD news:
A few months back, a blurb appeared in our church's Navigator (bulletin) about a knitting group that was starting up. With my newly-found knitting skills, I thought this would be an opportunity to check out.
The group of ladies meets at a coffee shop about every-other week early Saturday mornings to knit together and talk about new projects. All the ladies are way more advanced in their knitting skills than me, who has not yet been knitting a year. They have fun talking about going to yarn shops in the area, new techniques they learned at conferences, and other stitch-related discussion that is mostly over my head. Most of all, they talk about ways they can use what they're good at- knitting and crafting- to serve God and others in a practical way.
I went to one of the first meetings, and we started out by all knitting prayer shawls for the Prayer Team at our church to give out to those with crises, as they feel led. I found that it was meaningful to be creating something physical while praying for the unknown recipient. A couple members of the group finished one or even two the prayer shawls, and decided to move on to other, shorter projects (As for me, I'm still working on my shawl, while mixing in other projects. The thing is supposed to be huge.).
The leaders of the group are being creative, and are seeing needs for prayer, care, and knitted products left and right. As prayer requests come our way, specific items like chemo caps are being knitted with specific recipients in mind. Hats, scarves and mittens will be knit for one of the homeless ministries, to give those on the street brand-new, handmade things, rather than the leftovers and throw-aways they typically are handed. I like the dignity that idea implies. My recent project has been knitting various headbands (and trying to think of other accessory ideas!) for Agape Families, a ministry that takes in foster children, specifically large sibling groups. We're told that, especially the older kids & teens, show up with just a suitcase- very few personal effects- and the ministry would like to give them something fun and age-appropriate that can be their own, even if they move on.
While the group hasn't been advertised too much, we've gotten about 9 knitters working on projects, and are hoping for more! Something we have NO shortage of: donated yarn! One of the leaders of the group has packaged the yarn into bags with appropriate patterns for hats or scarves, to hand out at the meetings. Now we just need to find more people willing to knit them up!
Beyond these applications, we'll certainly find other opportunities and organizations that can use new, knitted things. While the recipients are benefiting, so are the other knitters and I- the discipline of sitting and taking time to hand-create something that will be useful for someone else, while praying for them, is growing me and opening my eyes. God works in funny ways. Being a part of this group reminds me that God can use anyone, regardless of their gifts. We have a creative, resourceful God!