Finish What You Start

A harried wife and mother reaps the spiritual rewards of completing a long-abandoned afghan.

by - Posted on Dec 5, 2011

A half-finished afghan helps a busy woman find time for prayer and devotion.

I sat on my bedroom floor surrounded by skeins of yarn, piles of red, white and blue granny squares. Pieces of an afghan my husband Jim and I had started crocheting years ago, forgotten until I unearthed them from my closet in a bout of cleaning.

I picked up a square and ran the soft threads between my fingers. Why hadn’t I finished the afghan? Why did it seem I never finished anything? That’s what working sixty hours a week at a computer company, teaching Sunday school, sitting on the church vestry and raising kids will do to you, I guess.

I just wished I felt more fulfilled, more connected to a deeper purpose, instead of scattered like those afghan squares.

“What’s that?” Jim asked, walking into the bedroom.

“Remember that afghan we started?” I replied.

“Wow, that was ages ago,” Jim said. “You’re finally going to finish it?”

I stared at him. Finish it! Who had time? And yet—could I really just shove all these squares, some already discolored with age, back in the closet? Maybe I could squeeze it in somehow.

Work really wore me out the next day. That night I plopped down in front of the TV, ready to zone out. Then I remembered the afghan. Half annoyed, I grabbed some yarn and a crochet hook. I draped a strand of yarn over my left hand and clutched my crochet hook in the other. First, a slipknot. Then over, under. I led the yarn through one loop and then the next.

I fell into a rhythm, my fingers moving by themselves. My mind wandered.  I imagined the finished product—a checkerboard of red, white and blue, thick and soft, keeping Jim and me warm on cold nights. That got me thinking about our kids. Our oldest was grown, living in Houston; Jim and I were planning a trip there soon. Our son was excited about going to summer camp.

God has truly blessed us, I thought. When was the last time I’d felt this abiding sense of gratitude?

I took to crocheting squares every chance I got. In the evenings. While Jim drove us to visit our daughter in Houston and to drop our son off at camp. In Sunday school, when the kids were working on a project. For once I wasn’t spending those moments thinking about calls and e-mails I had to return, or next week’s Sunday school lesson plan. It felt so peaceful watching that afghan take shape.

I hit a few snags—like when I realized I needed to make twice as many squares as I’d planned. And when I figured out I’d have to trim each square in white to make them easier to assemble. It took more time, but I didn’t mind. Every moment carved out to crochet was time to reflect, to pray, to grow closer to God. That was the connection I’d been missing.

Finally, I was able to admire my creation. I wrapped the blanket around myself, enjoying its warmth. It had seemed so impossible that day I found it in the closet two months earlier. One granny square at a time, though, it had come together.

Like life, I thought. I couldn’t transform my busy schedule all at once. But by making room for God—making room for moments to appreciate His blessings day by day—I could start to get closer. One granny square, one prayer, at a time.


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This story is excerpted from Threads of Encouragement: True Stories to Warm Your Heart (pub date: January 12, 2012).

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