She tugged slightly on the thread and gathered the woven fabric under her fingers. With a critical eye, she leaned back to give her creation a better look. A smile formed at the corner of her mouth. It was good.
I watched this play out as she sat at a large wooden loom, in a light-filled room, in a slum in the heart of Kenya this week. I wish I could describe the feeling of hope that settled into my soul –how the pull and push of the loom and the rhythmic cadence sounded like a steady heart beat.
Every thread represented something — a pain from the past, a dream for the future, the even and intentional tangle of threads woven together to make something new and beautiful.
This is the story of our lives; the redemption thread traced through God’s plan for each of us.
We followed the path to the weaver’s home and sat in awe at the unbelievable transformation since becoming a Mercy House Global artisan four years ago.
Her daughter, now a college student and her granddaughter, born at Rehema House six years ago, are thriving.
As I sat on her neat sofa in the beautiful room, all I could think about was the light radiating from this home, this woman, her family-it was blinding. And I cried because it filled me with hope and reminded me how God weaves stories of hope and hopelessness together to show us where we have been and where He can take us.
Just a few hours earlier, we had visited another grandmother to a different Rehema resident and had to feel our way in the dark as we stood shoulder to shoulder in an 8×8 airless room. I don’t know what was more oppressive –the darkness or hopelessness.
We quietly listened to the heartbreak and we ached with every word.
The tears that silently fell on behalf of this precious grandmother in the darkness of the room couldn’t be seen, but they were there. Grief filled the room.
I thought of Job and the devotion I’d read that morning by Chris Tiegreen, “Even in the midst of his darkest season, Job knew that the apparent absence of God was not a sign of his disfavor–or even worse, that He was somehow unjust. Job knew his own heart, he trusted God’s, and he believed everything would work out in the end. He couldn’t explain why bad things were happening or how a good God would allow them.
But in the dark, he trusted what he learned in the light.”
What the heavy room needed most was the light only hope could bring because “hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness,” Desmond Tutu said.
Sitting in the darkness left us with only one option: we must trust what we learned in the light.
We prayed over the sweet grandma and asked God for her miracle. Four years ago, visits like this shook me to my core, and left me feeling hopeless at the desperation.
But today, after years of development and progress, we have beautiful light-filled stories and programs for desperate women. And these two grandmothers with the same- but different stories- would soon be co-workers.
Two women. Two stories. Hope and hopelessness. One God weaving them together because “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” John 1:5
I am in Kenya this week preparing for a special event tomorrow (Sept. 24) at 10 AM CST . Trust me, you don’t want to miss it! It will fill you with hope for this often dark world.
RSVP here and be an eyewitness to the massive story God is weaving.