” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” Jeremiah 29:11
Recently, this passage of scripture has been speaking, nay, screaming at the top of its lungs to me, trying to get the message to sink in. I wrestle with God’s plans for me, and my tendency to try to steal the reigns from the Lord. As I prepare spiritually and emotionally for my husband to deploy later this year, I’m struck hard with the realization of how much I’m going to need God for strength, support and encouragement to make it through the loneliness, separation, and frustrations that all come from being apart from your spouse.
I don’t feel ready, but I know that I am, not because of anything I’ve done or accomplished, but because God knows what’s going on, even if I don’t. And in a deployment-type situation, I have virtually zero control over any and all aspects of it- when, where, how long- and I have to trust that God will use our time of separation as an opportunity to grow us both in faith, and trust in His word.
Last night, a few of the military spouses gathered at the church for a scripture-based bracelet making. I have to say, I have not been so touched by the fellowship of my “military mamas” as I was last night. There is something powerful in speaking-yes, actuallly verbalizing- scripture and our spiritual desires, and needs in prayer. And as we all sat around the tables nibbling desserts, singing, stringing the beads, and sharing our struggles and praying for one another, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit surround us. I knew then with certainty that God put me here with these other women for a reason. We are meant to give each other strength, and courage, and hope. We are meant to offer our time, and our resources and our prayers to lift up and help our sisters in Christ. It was a beautiful experience.
The bracelet was designed by Carla Weist, with her inspiration coming from the Lord, and His scripture pulled from Jeremiah 29:11. Each bead had a symbol, a meaning in both color and shape and position in the bracelet. And Carla and her dear friend Cindy even made up a melody to accompany our passage of scripture!
Carla calls her jewelery Broadcast Share-Wear, in that by wearing it, you are displaying a unique and beautiful piece, that initiates conversation, and when someone asks about it, the wearer has the opportunity to broadcast the scripture behind it, sharing God’s word. Share-wear, because in sharing with others the scripture upon which your jewelery is based, you witness to God, and your faith in Him through what you wear. Our bracelet was designed specifically with military spouses in mind and here is the breakdown of what it represents to each of us:
Hope and a Future… Jeremiah 29:11
For I know: Denim Lapis Faceted Rectangle (Blue is associated with God’s authority, knowledge, the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, the law and the Heavenly realm.) The Plans I have for you: Wood; Sterling Silver, Hematite (Brown denotes humility, God’s connection to the commonplace and ordinary, humankind as we are on earth, and stability. Sterling silver represents our time and trials on earth. Gray symbolizes repentance.) Declares the LORD: Amethyst faceted square (Purple embodies strength, majesty, power, God as our defender, and son-ship.) Plans: Wood, Sterling silver; Hematite to prosper you: chrysocolla (Turquoise and Malachite) Oval (Turquoise is associated with healing, sanctification, the river of God, and the life-giving flow of the Holy Spirit. The green represents growth, new life, fruitfulness, maturity, protection, the kingdom of God, rest and restoration.) and not to harm you: Black Onyx Faceted rectangle and Sterling Silver (Black symbolizes fear. Sterling silver also denotes redemption, freedom and wisdom. Plans to give you: Wood; Sterling silver, Hematite hope: Lemon Quatrz faceted square (Yellow embodies light, hope, joy, and character) and: wood, Sterling silver, hematite a future: Paua Shell oval (Combination of blue, green, purple, yellow, and orange to represent all that will be part of our future in HIM.)
I cling to this passage now more than before; knowing that God knows what lies ahead for me and for my husband. I cling to the knowledge that my God is greater than what we go through, and that to cling to Him means to spend time daily reading His word, and seeking Him in prayer. I cling to the fact that God has gotten us through longer spans of time spent apart, and He will use this opportunity to strengthen us in our faith. I know that God plans “to prosper us, and not to harm us.” With this verse in Jeremiah, and the 91st Psalm, and Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, God has given me the inspiration, courage, strength, determination, and faith to make it through the obstacles ahead.
Praise God, the God of all comfort and peace that passes understanding.