In which there is a needle, thread, and a tug

by Craig on August 23, 2011


I remember as a fairly new Christian…
maybe 5 years in…
sitting alone in the pews of a Baptist church…
I sang quietly some hymns and talked to God.
I was in the spiritual clouds…
so I got a little nervy and gave God a suggestion…

“Boy, if there were ever a time for a message from you – now would seem really good.”

I glanced at the altar – then upward.
I felt close and said…
“Don’t ever let go of me.  Don’t ever let go.”

I knew that line sounded familiar when I heard Rose say it in Titanic!


I got the message I was looking to hear…
a still small voice, not audible, but definite.

I was expecting a great word, something like, “I love you and I will never let go.” – or – “You are my son and I will always keep you near.” Instead, these words were impressed almost as clearly as if they had been verbally spoken by God himself.

“I will let you walk straight through the gates of hell if that’s what you want.”


Where were the words of love and security?
What a strange response to a heart that longed for a divine hug!

Confused, I said to God, “Really?! That’s it?!”

Then the image was in my head – no words – just an image.
It was a thread being sewn onto the shoulder of my shirt…


and then a gentle tug on the thread…
and the message became clear,

When I wandered God would allow me to go where I freely chose.
He would tug on that thread but would not violate my will by roping me and pulling me back.

When I take Laska the Love kitty for walks we don’t use a leash.
Sometimes he follows me…
sometimes I follow him…
but he understands the word “home”…
he knows he’s not allowed in the huge forest….

or under cars…

I guide him with a firm “no”…
and maybe redirecting softly with my hand…
no leash, no yanking. (he has well known issues with a leash and collar)

It’s just like a gentle tug…on a thread…sewn to the shoulder…of a shirt.


God grants us freedom to keep ourselves in line while he tugs on the threads that tie us to him. He will never let go but he will let us choose our own path. If we stray, he’ll tug – and if we are sensitive to his touch we’ll respond. Every time we ignore the sensation we grow more insensitive to the touch. If we ignore enough tugs we soon won’t feel them at all.

Israel ignored centuries of tugs – and so Exile to Babylon…

tomorrow, my last post on Exile…

please come back.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Cora August 23, 2011 at 10:17 am

I used to think that thread was a leash, or even a cord that would hang me, or worse yet, chains that bound me to a prison cell. But I found it WAS a thread — endless in length that would let me go really, really far. It took a while, but I learned that the tugs on that thread were for my good. Laska learned faster than I did —- good for him!!! I’m a little more stubborn and thought I knew better. Learning to trust the thread that tugs at us, keeps us on the ancient paths, in the well-worn ruts of the right ways —– perfect!!!!!


Craig August 23, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I know that “the law” and legalism have been used to strangle so many people – I’ve never experienced it actually – I wasn’t raised in church – and when I found God there still was no church – just me and him and the Bible – and grace. I’m sorry that you and so many have had to learn the way you did. I heart the thread btw! God bless and keep you Cora.


Michelle August 25, 2011 at 4:38 am

Cora, your last sentence “Learning to trust the thread that tugs at us, keeps us on the ancient paths, in the well-worn ruts of the right ways —– perfect!!!!!” Especially the “Learning to trust the thread that tugs at us,” it is so hard to trust sometimes. Especially when Love is new and we don’t know the voice of the Lover all that well as we haven’t heard it before and getting to know and trust someone takes time and effort and relationship. And then we can get complacent with our Lover and hear His voice in the background of other new and exciting things and not follow the tug as it is obscured by the new and exciting. But, the Joy and the Peace that can be found when we turn our ear to our Lover and the Grace given! And the re-finding of those well-worn ruts of the right ways!

May we never forget (again) the voice of our Lover.

And Craig, thank you. Your writing inspired Cora’s comment which has just taken me to this new understanding.


Craig August 25, 2011 at 2:14 pm

I heart the people who read me! I am so lucky to have such absolutely brilliant people reading me!


A. August 23, 2011 at 10:31 am

Cora..your last sentence; that says it well! Those are the ways I want…His ways.

Craig, it is so hard, at first, to learn to live within the freedom that He gives us, isn’t it? Sometimes it feels like true love should ‘care more’ by giving us a strong, sturdy leash, but true love lets us choose. And true responsive love does choose Him…without being forced. I heart this post. It makes me sad, too, remembering times and relationships that I thought were ‘love’ that somehow weren’t, or weren’t any kind of true healthy love. I am not talking about God relationships/times. It is the people love that gets so messy at times.


Craig August 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Amen A. It’s the people I love that gets messy. And if we love God – the thread is stronger than any rope or chain. God bless you A.


Nacole August 23, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Craig, this was a very good, very well-timed, gentle reminder. i dont want to get to the point that i cant hear Him at all.

LOVED the 1000 gifts posting yesterday about water. there is something about the one little hydrogen atom–that clings so fiercely to its two oxygen atoms for life–that got to me. i think this is like me clinging to the Father. doesnt He create all things to show us how much we need Him, how much higher He is than us, how infinitely and completely we are in need of giving ourselves wholly over to Him?

was wondering–did you know that on some of your posts it is cut off and the bar will not scroll down any further? on the 1000 gifts post from yesterday, it is like this, and a “voice horses” post …it says, “…and a triple epiphany…” and there is nothing after–no “come back tomorrow” or links, or comment section. didnt know if this was a blogger site error, or if its my computer.

oh, and btw, i hearted (i stole that word from you–you say it so much, that it rubbed off on me!haha! but i will TRY to refrain from using it) this comment you left on my blog: “oh how you can write – just circles and circles and circles around me – I’m not sure if I told you this before – but your writing is kind of Ann-ish.”

now, i only want to bring glory to my God and savior, but just wanted to let you know that i am humbled by and am fully grateful for such a much-needed boost of confidence. i didnt really realize that my writing was like Ann’s, although since i began writing again while reading her book, i think her style has influenced me a great deal. i take it as a compliment because she is a captivating writer–thank you. you, and a few others, including my friend, Cora, up there, have been instrumental–and by that i mean God greatly used you–to affect my life for change and for His glory! i do not quite see the end in sight yet, but i am beginning to see that bend where you know the light is coming….and, at least, if i have to go through this desert for a longer period of time, then He has let me know that He has me and He is near to me. oh, hallelujah to His name. (sorry my comments are so long…i will try to tone it down next time;))




Craig August 23, 2011 at 2:13 pm

first of all Nacole – because I’m all self centered and all – so ME FIRST – if you continue to have problems with my site coming up – please, please, please let me know – I’ve had it happen on occasion – and it all seems fine from my end – so the only way I know is if my friends tell me – and you’re my friend ツ

now, the water thing – the metaphors in that whole water thing are endless – I could spend a months worth of posts on it – but I won’t ツ

and I’m glad you’re seeing some light – or at least the bend and the possibility of light – and I’m glad to be around while you’re in your desert – and I do heart the way you write – and never, ever, ever stop using heart as a verb – I heart heart used as a verb – and I want everybody else to heart it too!!! and comment just as long as you want – no rules here ツ I hearted your comment. Blessings to you my friend!


Nacole August 23, 2011 at 2:57 pm

haha! “ME FIRST”–you literally had me laughing out loud.

the post i was talking about that said “and a triple epiphany…” and then cut off, was “Love turns accusers into kittens”–a very clever title. dont know if you can fix it, but i am following the love war, and so will come back to it to read soon. thanks, Craig!


Craig August 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Nicole, I fixed the post in question – please let me know if there’s a problem in the future – sometimes Internet Explorer has issues with me – I don’t know what I ever did to Bill Gates – but he seems to have it out for my poor little blogs.


Nacole August 23, 2011 at 3:10 pm

oh, silly, silly me. i forgot to tell you that i left a response for you on “Belonging”–im beginning to wonder if i should respond to all comments, since i have 4 little ones–lol! ..i suppose eventually i will figure out this weird blogging thing . my friend, Mary Leigh gave me some good advice. she says –paraphrasing–that all comments are not created equal–meaning that if someone just leaves you a little snippet of an encouraging remark, then it is easier to not respond to those, and it would be a tiny bit awkward if you did….which i agree. im finding that as more commenters drop by, i dont have time for it! no WONDER Ann does not have a commenting section 😉


Craig August 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

and about comments – I respond to each and every comment I get – I think it’s important. I don’t really consider a post of mine complete until I’ve had a chance to talk with friends about it – friends being people like you who comment. Today for instance, I’ve spent hours replying to comments. I’ll keep doing that until it becomes impossible – then maybe I’ll cut back a little – but as long as I can do it – I’ll do it. Plus – I have a tendency to ramble in my replies ツGod bless you Nacole. And see if you can set up your site to send an e-mail when you do comment on a comment – like you should be getting e-mails when I reply to yours.


Nacole August 23, 2011 at 4:39 pm

haha! yeah, i want you to reply to me, too! heh heh. seriously, i suppose what i meant was that it is impossible for me to reply to everyone as more read, even though there are very few reading–(lol)–with illness and children–i have to prioritize. anyway, i love that you reply to everyone–thats awesome. i dont always get emails, though–actually, rarely. hee hee. i think Bill Gates must have it out for you after all. hopefully, i will see you tomorrow on the topic of forgiveness–i am not too excited, but looking forward to testing out advice from you and one other person.


Cora August 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Strange how we all see these comment sections. I always go to the other person’s blog to respond to the comment left for me. I did that because I never even think to go back to someone’s blog to see if they commented on my comment! Except here. Because I know that’s what Craig does. Nacole, I am having a really difficult time leaving YOU a comment at all. It just won’t go through. Seems to be a blogger or Google thing. Want you to know that I read your blog today and will get my comment through somehow!
(Thanks for the space here, Craig!)


Martha Orlando August 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Craig, I loved the imagery of the thread! No, God doesn’t want to yank us around on a leash, but He wants us to listen so very carefully and feel ever so mindfully for His tugs at our hearts.


Craig August 23, 2011 at 3:34 pm

thank you Martha, and the image of the thread – unless I’m wrong – and I guess I could be – the image didn’t come from me at all. And I heart his tugs on my thread – and on my heart.


shannon August 23, 2011 at 3:42 pm

great visual! :)


Craig August 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Shannon, thank you – but the visual is all God’s – I just asked him to tell me something – then he told me something that kind of shocked me – then when I grumbled he gave me the impression – the vision of the needle and thread. So unless I’m mistaken – it’s his visual – not mine. But thank you – and God bless and keep you!


Debbie August 24, 2011 at 1:00 am

Wow Craig. that sure wouldn’t be what I expected God to say either when asking for a message. ! He has sent me some ones that took my breath away though. Once He asked me if I loved Him. Once He told me this was some one else’s “time” . . .someone who was oppressing me. ! The thread though, tugging, that will last you a life time, won’t it? And now you bless us with it too, and show us how it works through your Laska walks. Thank you so much! God bless you as you stay close to Him!


Craig August 24, 2011 at 8:35 pm

those Laska walks – there are tons of lessons and those – and yes the thread will last a lifetime – thank you Debbie – thank you from months and months and months back – thank you more than I can say for having been there from the start. I bless you


Tina August 24, 2011 at 6:20 am

Hey Craig, I tried commenting on your 1,000 blessings post last night and it wouldn’t let me so I came back this morning. It still wouldn’t let me but I think I was supposed to stop so I could read this! This post touched my heart. Thanks so much for sharing :)
On the 1,000 blessings ~ I love the rain and thunder and lightning. I sense God in it and am always in awe. I think this is my favorite
#503… for millions of raindrops descending from dim and misty skies – alone but together – through leaves on trees twisting and turning, to rooftops, spilling over gutters, down to ground, and splashing on their final destination.


Craig August 24, 2011 at 8:38 pm

I’m sorry it would let you comment Tina – and I am so glad you stuck it out and commented here.since I’ve commented on your site – I know you have my e-mail – if you could please e-mail me and let me know what the problem looked like – and if it happens again – please e-mail me. I know how frustrating that must’ve been – and I can’t thank you enough for being so nice. And about #503 – I think that’s Ann’s influence on my writing – I get a little bit Ann-ish in my better moments ツ thank you Tina – thank you very much – and God bless and keep you.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: