Spiritual Formation

The Scarf and the Button

"Reality is created by the mind. We can change our reality by changing our mind." – Plato by Captain Stephanie Pavlakis
Green scarf with button

If you’re able to plan far enough ahead, November is the season of gift making. One November I crocheted a scarf. I was dating my now husband and wanted to give him a handmade Christmas gift. The year before, I had made him a fleece blanket with patterns from his favorite sports teams. That year I wanted to try something different. I had never crocheted or knitted before. Everyone assured me though that it was easy and of all the things I could crochet, a scarf would be the easiest.

I put all my love and energy into this scarf. I crocheted in front of the television. I crocheted into the late hours of the night. I even carried my yarn and crochet hook with me just in case there was ever a spare moment during the day when I could get a bit more done. And after all the care and prayer I put into this scarf, made in his very favorite color of hunter green, it was time to present it. The only thing was that something had gone a little awry along the way.

To this day, I’m still not sure what I did wrong, but somewhere in this long November of crocheting, I must have done something wrong because the scarf was wider than it was long. I had to add on a big button to keep it closed around the neck because it wasn’t long enough to wrap around on its own. Thankfully, Steve is a kind and gracious partner and pretended it was the best gift he ever received. He still has that scarf today.

Sometimes, despite our very best efforts, things don’t work out the way we intend. People get sick, plans fall through, life happens. In these moments, it is only natural to become disheartened. Why bother planning, loving, or trying, if it’s never going to work out anyway? It is at this moment that we can choose to give up or we can choose to add a button and make the best of it. This is not to say that we cannot grieve when plans do not come to fruition or that we cannot be frustrated by our efforts seeming to be for naught. But if God can take a sinner like me and transform me into something good and holy, then surely we can take a less-than-ideal outcome and still see the good in it. We might even be surprised by the good things God can do through our failed human plans. November can be a season of gift making. Maybe the best gift we can give ourselves this November is the gift of grace and creativity.

A problem is a chance for you to do your best.

Duke Ellington

Experiencing GOD:

  • What are your favorite autumn traditions? How can God speak to you through these?
  • In transitioning to cooler weather clothing, consider the attributes of God shared in Colossians 3:12—13. Which of these come easier to you? Which are more challenging? Ask God to help you wear all these attributes regularly this season.

Supporting Scripture:

“Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony” (Colossians 3:12–14).

ALL Articles