“It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:7-8, NIV)
When the end of the year comes, we may feel that time ran too fast and regret what we didn’t achieve this year. Perhaps, many things come to mind: “I should have done it, but I didn’t do it;” or “I shouldn’t have done it, but I did it again.” However, it’s okay. You will have a new year, a new day, and a second chance soon because you are beloved. You may say, “Well, I am not loved by anyone.” It’s okay. God loves you. God chose you. You are a precious child of God. You are a beloved one by God. His love never fails. In his love, you will succeed: You will prosper: You will shine: You will be victorious. The Apostle Paul says, “For I am Convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39).
During advent season, the Craft Group gathered to learn to knit prayer shawls instead of holding Bible study. Actually, I learned to knit and crochet in high school, but I never made anything by myself. I was not interested in knitting or crochet because I have experienced failing at it several times. I just felt amazed that anyone made it. I thought, ‘They must have a different gene.’ However, at this time, I decided that I would learn to knit and make a prayer shawl as my form of meditation during the advent season.
The motivation for the Craft Group’s gathering to make prayer shawls was because I saw prayer shawls on the hanger mounted on the wall in the Fellowship Hall in Central-Grantsburg Church. Whenever I saw them, I prayed about developing the prayer shawl ministry. I had experienced the miraculous healing power of prayer shawls several times when I was a chaplain in Chicago. Through the ministry of prayer shawls, I saw that many patients got courage, strength, hope, and healing. Also, many knitters grow in faith, wisdom, love, hope, grace, and joy. The prayer shawl is not a simple gift, but it is a mindful, thoughtful, and spirit-filled gift for those who are really in need of prayers and caring or those who need to be blessed. The prayer shawl might be a tangible presence of God, love, and grace. The prayer shawl is a powerful means of grace.
In the first session of the Craft Group Gathering, I learned how to cast, which is the first step in knitting. I felt like it was easy. I started making a prayer shawl. It seemed like it was going well. I felt good, but when I ran out of yarn, I noticed that I had done something wrong because it was wider and shorter than I expected. I felt like I failed and thought, ‘see, I couldn’t do it. I must have a different gene.’ I was about to give it up, and I texted Paulie, an instructor for our Craft Group, saying that my prayer shawl was wider and shorter. She texted me back, saying, “Wow, I am amazed you are done with your yarn so quickly. It could be used for a lap blanket. I’m sure someone would love it.” She so encouraged me, and so I was able to finish it. I know it was not perfect, nor the standard shape. But, she said, “It is a perfect lap blanket.” And she helped me to finish it. Finally, I completed it with her help. However, her encouragement led me to try making another one. Finally, I made three prayer shawls during Advent, and now I am making a fourth one. I realized that I was not patient in learning something new, and I didn’t have a good knitting teacher before. However, I continue to grow in patience and have had a good teacher in this Advent season.
We all make mistakes sometimes. However, a mistake is not failing. There is a saying that “failure is the mother of success.” This saying is derived from a quote by Thomas Edison (1847-1931, an American inventor). As you may know, Edison failed numerous times and succeeded numerous times as well. If he didn’t experience failure, he might not have become a famous inventor. It is okay to fail because failure is not you. You are still the pre-cious child. You are still beloved by God. Furthermore, His love never fails. In his passion, you will succeed: You will prosper: You will shine: You will be victorious.