A blank piece of cardstock stretched out before me, waiting for a design to be applied in vivid colors or subtle hews. Of all the pieces of cardstock in Lebanon it was the one I wanted to sew on the most. This was no ordinary cardstock. It represented women’s lives whose hope had been crushed out of them one gun shot at a time, one less pay-check at a time, one less home and security, one less husband, one less father. I knew even before I arrived in Lebanon, that there was something special I would sew regarding these women.
The funny paradox of this entire story is that I do not sew. I do not like to sew. I am not good at sewing. But often we are asked to move forward in our weakness so that God can manifest His strength. And so, that first thread was picked up and I began sewing the design that was in my heart.
I soon knew who the first refugee women would be of this sewn collage of threads. They quickly embraced the idea of sewing cards for a living and it transformed their lives from a 3-year, one room prison, to a home with vast windows, safety, and a little flower garden. A joyful bright threaded sewer joined our team from Iraq, this lady is incredibly talented, and is currently working on many new designs just for Threads of Hope.
From there, God stepped in and while I floundered around with the next threads and colors and imperfect stitches, He provided a team. This team is stitched together in unity of setting a strong foundation. Embroidered flower Shereen is my right hand. She has been with me from practically day one. We go on all kinds of crazy adventures together from visiting our sewing families, buying supplies in tiny shops tucked in old buildings, handling all the logistics, and a million threads in-between. Shereen’s friend, Cybelle is also part of our team and I look forward to pulling out her colors as we journey together. Three university students are getting live practical experience in accounting, setting up a business, consulting, and designing web pages and graphic art story stickers of our sewers. Our newest sewer is a lovely hue colored thread, who is Lebanese and has the potential for carrying this cardstock picture long-term.
Our team is not limited to Lebanon only. While I was busy sewing on this cardstock in the Middle East, God was pulling together threads of strength and beauty in America. A silver thread captured the heart of a friend I first met when we moved to Indonesia who now lives in the States. She will manage all the cards as they arrive to the USA. This will be no small task. Another friend, with the vibrant colored thread of accounting, is stitching all the paperwork and bookwork for a non-profit organization. This also is another daunting sewing project.
I am almost undone as I look at this brightly colored team of threads and strength, who make up for my lack of talent, time, and understanding.
I am deeply moved as I look and interact with our four sewers and their passion behind making cards. Every stitch represents hope and a sense of control and the reality that maybe life will be ok. There are thousands more women who would start sewing tomorrow if I just spoke the word. Hopefully, as soon as we gain more stability, we will grow the sewing team. Honestly, it cannot happen soon enough as their cries haunt me in the middle of wakeless nights.
I am astounded at the momentum that this design on this cardstock is taking on. Sometimes it scares me, that it has become this real. So vivid. So intricate. So tangible. That women are dependent on the paychecks from these cards.
It weighs on me. The responsibility.
It satisfies me, like deep cool waters on a hot day.
If you want to add your own unique thread and stitch to this cardstock, we will embrace your contribution.
We need the golden thread of prayer.
We depend on the green thread of donations.
We are looking for the yellow thread of hope of people willing to sell 20-100 cards in their workplace, churches, organizations, and amongst their friends and colleagues.
In time we will need the multicolored threads of people willing to join the team in assembling unique hand-crafted cards that are filled with stories of hope and deep courage.
If you want to sew upon my cardstock, send me a message and I will gladly pass the needle and thread over and allow you to partake in the joy of this journey and creation. To His Honor and to His glory may we all continue to develop and help those in need until He comes again. Welcome to Threads of Hope.