My guest post today is by Bethany O’Banion, a gifted poetic writer who is able to make a metaphor come to life. She attends the church I attended in Knoxville, but I don’t know that I ever had the privilege of meeting her then. We were connected, instead, after I moved to Texas through Facebook. I am inspired by her writing and beautiful mind and heart, and I am very excited to introduce her to you. This post about interconnectedness, what we have to offer when we are that way, and the God who truly sees us is beautiful. After reading, please take the time to check out her own blog here for more. I’m also in the middle of a drawing for a free Bible if you’d like to participate–see the end of the post for details.
The Red Thread
by Bethany O’Banion
I feel different. I am different. So different from you. So different from them. Whoever “them” is. I am a pattern and color unlike any I know. And sometimes it alienates me, makes me outsider. Takes me farther and farther from the rest. I see differently than the lot. I see in metaphors and creations. I laugh. And I laugh louder than all the others. I flip and flop. I get awkward. I get weird. I get serious and melancholy and bounce back to joy in an instant. I ask questions. I poke. I prod. I smile and let it be. I cry. I mourn. I grieve. I smile. I bubble up laughter, and find joy in the simple. I am different. Sometimes I think I am a mess. Sometimes I think I am a misfit.
But aren’t we all? Isn’t that what we all were?
We were misfits. Misunderstood by all around. Misunderstood by ourselves. But He saw us. El Roi. The God Who Sees. He sees us even when we are unable to see ourselves. He looks into us and sees not just who we are, but who we will be. I see a misfit, but He sees more. He will always see more.
And so there we are, running wild, seeking our identities. Unaware of who we are. Unaware that we already are. Unaware that He could use us. Unaware that He will.
We are here. Unable to fit into any semblance of organization. Colors and patterns, each so different from the next. That one floral, this one stripes. And then He pricks us, and then He punctures. Pushing the needle through us, one stitch at a time. And we hurt, and we wonder and we cannot see. Until another square of cloth comes from out of the blue. And then, as if it always was they are a part of us. They are family and friend. They are helper and edifier. And we are together. Stitched together, through the blood of Christ. Stitched together through the will of God.
We come together, each cut from different cloth. Colors and patterns that you and I are unable to make beautiful. Colors and patterns that you and I would never put together. Yet, with His hand there is harmony. He brings us together with red thread. Each stitch. Each puncture. Uniting us into something, giving a common brand, giving us identity. Stitch by stitch. Square by square, we come together. Until we are all one. One large quilt brought together by nothing else but His blood threaded through us. We are His tapestry, His quilt, His blanket. Made to spread out, made to envelope. Made to bring others into rest. Because you see, we are so much. When we are brought together, we are no longer misfit squares. We are so much more. We are warmth on a cold day. We are comfort on the hard days. We are spread wide and open, falling to green grasses or broken soil. We are sought out on cloudy days when there are more questions than answers. We are crawled into on the darkest nights. We protect and pad when life is too rough. We are kept around, because they never know when a soft blanket will be needed. We are here. We are His tapestry. To be needed. To be used. We give and give and give to this world of ours. Because together, we can do so much. We are called to so much. And in times like these, we can give so much. And we give. And we give. And we give. Not until we run on empty. Because He is always there, His thread always stringing through us, renewing us, giving life, giving joy, giving gratitude to the hungry bellies of our souls. Keeping us tended and mended so we can then reach into them, tending and mending. Giving, always giving.
And so, maybe sometimes I only see a square. Maybe sometimes I cannot see the big picture. Often times I cannot see the big picture. I can’t even see to the left or right of me. I only see my square. I see how different I am from you. I see how your square is better, prettier, more useful than mine. But He is El Roi. The God Who Sees. He sees us even when we are unable to see ourselves. He looks into us and sees not just who we are, but who we will be. I see a misfit, but He sees more.
He will always see more.
Bethany O’ Banion is a lover of Jesus. Her passion is to know Him, be known by Him and experience fully the Abundant Life He gives. More than being a free spirited redhead who grew up in Oak Ridge, lives in Knoxville, loves coffee and blogging, fights Chrone’s or any other identifier, Bethany’s message is that her true identity is “Beloved.” And yours is too. No matter what your circumstances are, Bethany wants you to know that the Abundant Life is all around you and the one who created you calls you Beloved.
I have the privilege to give away one copy of the NIV LifeHacks Bible, which is full of helpful articles to help you understand more while you’re reading.
Here’s how you can enter to win: If you haven’t yet subscribed to my blog by email, you can win one entry by clicking the button “follow” in the above right corner and typing in your email address. If you’ve already subscribed, or if you just want more entries, you can earn entries by sharing this book review post via social media. Remember, though, you have to be subscribed for your shares to count as entries. Each share to a different social media venue earns you one entry (up to three). Be sure to let me know in a comment if you’ve shared in a place where I won’t be notified and be sure to let me know your name so I can announce the name of the winner. I will announce the winner next Wednesday, so look for it! Thank you!