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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Craft (as in handcraft) (02/08/07)

TITLE: The Night of the Marionettes
By Jayne Seargeant


It took every bit of strength for me to battle the increasing temptation to give up and allow my weary eyes to succumb to a deep slumber. By one-thirty in the morning I had managed to assemble seventeen cardboard tube marionettes; with eight left to go. That was not what I wanted to be doing. I wished I could have been nestled in my comfy cozy bed experiencing dreams and visions of unearthly places and the obscurities of events that seem to occur in quick succession in the subconscious of my mind.

It was a miracle of God’s grace that I had even managed to perceive the fine fishing line I chose to use on the fluffy cotton ball sheep marionettes as time aged on without reservation. I had only finished one such puppet in the previous thirty minutes. Ridiculous! Why would I subject myself to this absurd torture resulting in the abhorrence of poor innocent marionettes?

For months the sight of a puppet strung onto a dowel would send icy shivers up my back and provoke symptoms akin to a particularly nasty strain of influenza. It was an emotional trauma that would lurk in the recesses of my thoughts through the next few ministry years. Even now, if a marionette catches me off-guard, there’s no telling what ungraceful hysterics I might be prone to exhibiting. At children’s events I always phone ahead and query the organizers to find out if there will be marionettes in attendance. Just psyching myself up for the inevitable unpleasant encounter; I do it for the kids.

Most clever people who run their church’s Vacation Bible School use a curriculum, and have several pairs of hands to assist with the menial and time-consuming tasks. I was green and didn’t really know those basic facts, and my very “churched” husband seemed to forget to mention that bit. As one who came to the Lord as an adult, and then married a pastor…I sincerely just didn’t know that it was not the pastor’s wife’s job to run VBS alone, without a curriculum, and put together twenty-five puppets on fishing string by hand the evening after the children finished painting their little sheepish bodies and sticking cotton all around…the day before VBS ends. Why didn’t I know that?!

Please don’t pity me though; in the end all worked out fine. It only took me until six o’clock in the morning to finish the sheep craft for the children…and that was plenty of time for God to work on my heart attitude before those little ones arrived to begin their last day of VBS...at nine o’clock. Basically, that night the Lord reminded me of four important things that I won’t easily forget (despite my ADD tendencies):

1. It is a blessing and a privilege to do God’s work and see the fruit. In this case I witnessed several children receiving Jesus into their lives.
2. God will give me the strength and grace to complete the task that He has set before me, regardless of the immensity of what that task is.
3. God is merciful. I only had to string twenty-five marionettes. I thought of my poor friend that I suggested this craft to (before I ever tried it). She was the wife of the new Children’s Pastor in a church of two thousand people. I have not spoken with her for some time now; perhaps she’s still knotting the thread on all those marionettes!
4. Lastly, there are good Christian counselors out there…and I should use them.

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This article has been read 557 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jacquelyn Horne02/15/07
A lesson to be learned. Enjoyed reading this.
Myrna Noyes02/16/07
What a traumatic experience! :) Your title drew me in to read your well-written story. I liked the mix of humor and seriousness and appreciated the lessons you learned!
Edy T Johnson 02/19/07
I loved your title---it almost sounded like this would be a mystery story! I enjoyed reading what the marionette-exercise was instrumental in teaching you. Well done!
Angela M. Baker-Bridge02/21/07
As a former pastor's wife, you reminded me of late night lessons I too learned the hard way.