When God weaves a picture, He is intentional to use the right thread at the right moment. Often, we can’t appreciate the handiwork He is crafting in our own lives or circumstances until we get a retrospective glance back and then the woven pattern becomes clear.
I have questioned how I, as a nurse, can possibly be running an NGO in the Middle East. Do you know how on packages of toys a disclaimer will often be give, such as “no batteries included”? I kind of feel like I should have a disclaimer also, “no business skills included”. Undoubtedly, my faithful team felt this. We began asking God, for more than several months, to provide someone with a skill set and experience that could lead our Woven Dignity staff.
God heard those prayers, but He needed to get me to Ras Al Khaimah so He could weave in the right thread at the right moment. In March ‘22, I happened to be there for some training. One morning while in Ras Al Khaimah, I awoke and felt STRONGLY impressed that I should ask an individual to help guide our organization, that very day. OK…. but how would I know who to ask? A specific person came to mind, who had been doing much of the lecturing and had started his life career as a businessman. I prayed and asked God that if I should invite that person to help with Woven Dignity that he would come up to me at lunch and engage in a conversation. This man had never randomly approached me, so I thought this was a valid test.
Interestingly, at lunch, as I was heading outside with my plate of food for some sunshine and fresh air, this teacher walks up to me and asks, “Where are you going?” I replied, “Outside for some refreshment”, all the time questioning myself if this was the moment and the man. I decided it wasn’t and proceeded to join my friend Cathy for a relaxing conversation and reset from an intense morning of learning. Meanwhile, I kept second guessing myself….
The stage is set. The Master Weaver is ready. The color of thread is chosen. The picture is clear in His mind.
Cathy and I are enjoying our lunch and conversation when a man with a British accent walks up to us, and apologizes for interrupting our chat, and addresses Cathy. Specifically, he asks if he can talk to her for just a few moments. Cathy gives him her full attention. I happily continue eating my tasty lunch with a Filipino flare. They discuss the need to set up a business plan for a lifestyle center that Cathy intends to open. Cathy apologizes to this man, called Pastor Shiloh, for taking his time. He proceeds to say something to the effect that this is a complete joy for him, and not a burden at all, because he advised “not for profits” for 10 years in the UK.
I stop eating. I’m in disbelief. It is lunch time. The man, called Pastor Shiloh, interrupted my lunch. WHOO HOOO…. Seriously??!? He advised nonprofits?!?!?!?!?
I could only contain myself for about 3 minutes. Then it was my turn to apologize for interrupting. I briefly explained Woven Dignity and asked Pastor Shiloh if he would consider advising us. This led to an exchange of phone numbers, and the Woven Dignity web site. Meanwhile Cathy tapped me and gave me the eye, and so much said, “Don’t you take this man from here”. I assured her that I had no intentions of taking this British man anywhere, I just needed his help via Zoom a few times a month. Cathy and I are still laughing about this exchange between us.
After lunch Pastor Shiloh, looked at our website and loved our purpose and could clearly see how he could help. It was delightful to introduce him to the Woven Dignity board. Within months, Pastor Shiloh became the chair of our board. The right thread at the right moment, adding not only vitality in color but also strength. We are so grateful.
Curiously, Pastor Shiloh has since told me that it was completely out of his character to walk up and interrupt our lunch conversation. Truly, God needed to position the thread in the right place.
A few of our team members have stepped away, either because they were moving or felt like they needed to shift focus. I have missed the color of their thread woven through this tapestry but recognize that they were instrumental in the time that we had them. I have appreciated the steadfast colors of Sako (with us from almost day #1 and the systems he has set in place and the financial mysteries he has solved), Tina (who jumped on board and offered to set us up as a non-profit, smiling and challenging us with much grace and financial facts along the way), Adelle (who has worked as a sewer but now does all the payroll to the refugee ladies, translates, shops and keeps everyone sewing), and Wendy (who handles all the Stateside distributions and secretarial work). Wendy also journeyed 6 hours to visit with me while I was in the States for just a few hours. What a team.
Then there are all the dear people who trust us with generous donations, with card purchases, with gifts for the ladies, with prayers, with thread, and with advice as we craft proposals and more. We even have women who are willing to take our cards to women ministry weekends to sell them to a captivated audience. There are women ministry leaders who are supporting this ministry. And a video that was made, all as a labor of love. Additionally, there are shops that sell our cards. We are so grateful for each thread, woven in at the right time and moment. Truthfully, each thread came just when it was needed in the pattern. We can not be doing this this without each one, at the right time, in this design that is not yet finished.
As I advocate for these dear refugee women and share their stories, I am ALWAYS remembering the team that is behind this precious endeavor. Many hours of free labor these individuals have given. What is their motivation? It is the chance to help bring dignity back to women from whom it was so abruptly taken.
If you are reading this, more than likely you are part of the team. Whether your color is just a small part of the design or a significant part, we wouldn’t want to do it without you. Thank you for allowing God to weave you in. If you feel nudged to do something out of character, it might be that God is needing your thread of color and strength for someone’s tapestry.
I can’t wait to see all the amazing woven tapestry pictures of our lives when we can walk through heaven’s streets and see all the designs hanging in perfect place and hear God declare, “Well done”, over each one.
I hope somehow your story is encouraged today, by our story. God is in control, one thread at a time.
“Consider how the wildflowers grow: They don’t labor or spin thread. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was adorned like one of these.” Luke 12:27 HCSB