Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Coincidences or part of the plan?

God continues to direct this ministry in amazing ways. Donations and offers to knit prayer shawls continue to come in, for which I am truly grateful. Now that my daughter is not around to help (she's stationed overseas in the Armed Services), it's been hard to keep an inventory of "shawl balls" on hand to give to volunteer knitters. And, because I'm currently unemployed, it's also been too costly to send yarn out to volunteers. So, I've been continuing to do what I can, when I can, with the hope of starting a prayer shawl knitting group in the fall.

That said, things have still been happening. In June, some new friends hosted a shawl ball winding party at a Red Hat Society meeting. There were about a dozen wonderful women in attendance and we had a great time. But in addition to the fun, something amazing happened as well. After sharing my story about how this ministry got started, particularly my own story about being an assault survivor and forgiving my attackers, a woman at the event asked if men could participate in the ministry. It was an interesting question, and one I'd never even considered. I assumed that she was about to admit that her husband or boyfriend was a closet knitter.

But to my utter amazement, she told us that she is a prison counselor and that she has taught a group of sexual assault offenders to knit and crochet and that they are now making items for charity. She said that given the focus of this ministry, she thought that her group members would be especially interested in knitting prayer shawls! What do you think the odds are that she and I would end up at a small party with something this significant in common? I'd say this was definitely a Divine Appointment.

Today I attended a major conference at my church. I decided to take my knitting and was sitting in a relatively isolated area near the back of the church waiting for the next session to start. A polite young man sitting two rows behind me asked me what I was making. From the moment I told him, I realized that this was another Divine Appointment, and he did too. He asked if he could purchase a prayer shawl for a woman he knew. Although he didn't say it in so many words, I knew in my heart that it wasn't for his mother or his girlfriend, but rather for a woman that he had hurt deeply at some point in the past, and for which he was deeply repentent. He did share with me that he'd been recently released from prison, had accepted Christ, and was searching to find the purpose that God must have for his life. Before I told him about the prison ministry idea, he told me that he wanted to learn how to knit so that he could help. Again, I ask, what are the odds of something like this happening? Coincidences? I think not.