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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)

TITLE: Tripping Over Heart Strings
By Lillian Rhoades
03/07/13


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Tripping Over Heart Strings

When I was a little girl, it seemed as if I would never learn to tie my shoes strings, or “laces” as my mother used to call them. Once I learned how to push the strings through each hole, I still had to train my tiny fingers to master the art of tying them tightly enough into a neat little bow so they wouldn’t loosen and cause me to trip. Although I no longer have a problem keeping my shoes strings tied, I still have lessons to learn about heart strings, lessons that I depend of God to teach me.

I have discovered that relationships with my family and friends depend on how tightly our heart strings are tied to each other. Sometimes a forgotten birthday, a misspoken word, or an unsolicited criticism loosens those ties, and I trip over incidentals.

Other times major issues threaten my connection, and I just want to untie the strings and let go. When I’m prone to give in to my feelings, I stop short of doing so when I remember what happened to two of my best friends. Occasionally, I’m haunted by the question as to how these two sisters, now deceased, are getting along in heaven.

Somewhere between their birth and the teen-age years their relationship began to deteriorate. I never knew why they failed to get along, but I suspect parental favoritism. Although they lived in the same house until they reached adulthood, their relationship was as if walking with a high heeled shoe on the left foot and a low heeled shoe on the right. With no emotional connection to each other, everything else was off balance. For a while, they both attended the same church I attended, and all three of us attended the same neighborhood school together. I cared for them both, and tried to remain neutral whenever any discussions that pitted one against the other came up.

For the next forty years, they never spoke to each other. When their mother grew too old to live alone, she went to live with her favorite daughter. I’d hoped that the death of their mother would bring about reconciliation. But “broken-string” relationships are as difficult to restore as the famed Humpty Dumpty.

When their mother passed away, the other sister was never notified. Unfortunately, both sisters passed away without ever reconciling their differences.

Christians are not immune to “broken string” relationships. Although we sing, “blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love,” we know those ties are often loose and certainly not blessed. Very often our relationships resemble sandals with no strings attached that are easily slipped off.

How can we prevent relationships from becoming untied? Perhaps one of the answers is found in something I learned during my early years of lace -tie learning.

One must bend to really get a good grip on the strings and to make sure the strings are tight.

If only my sister-friends could have learned how to bend in submission to each other.

Of all the object lessons that learning to tie my shoe strings afforded me, this is the one most cherished. Whenever my heart strings loosen, and I want to pull away from a relationship, instead of loosening ties, I must bend, sometimes by eating “humble pie” to tighten them.

Other definitions of “bend” is to "bind with a string,” “to knot," “to connect,” and “bond.” As we submit to each other, we are also tightening the heart strings that connect us, tying the knot so that nothing can loosen them, and maintaining of bond of love that can only grow stronger.

There are many reasons for loose heart strings and broken relationships. But, if we’re willing, God is right there and always ready to show us how to tighten them or restore them.


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This article has been read 203 times
Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/13
Wow! This really touched my heart. It opened my eyes. I have been estranged from my father for way too many years. I feel like I have done a lot of bending, but through your words I could feel God nudging me to try to bend a bit farther. It will stretch those muscles and hurt for a bit, but I mist try. Thank you for this great message. It has touched me deeply.
lynn gipson 03/08/13
This touches me on so many levels. I know how a mother having a favorite can affect you. I always loved her, but I wondered why she was so close to one of my older brothers, and sent me to live with my aunt. Fortunately, i do not resent him now and we have a fair relationship.

Thank you for sharing this. It makes me want to try and build a closer relationship with him.

Excellent writing, by the way.
Virgil Youngblood 03/08/13
Wasted years that don't have to be. Thanks for the reminder and the solution. Well done.
Noel Mitaxa 03/08/13
Skillful descriptions in your word pictures, and in your profile of your two sister friends. I like the warmth of your challenge, which is totally devoid of preaching.
Cheryl Harrison 03/08/13
Right on topic. Your "broken string relationships" reference is so true. Great lesson within. Keep writing.
Bonnie Bowden03/09/13
This devotional really spoke to my heart. Time on earth is so short; it is time to reassess my relationships and tighten up the bond on a few of them.
Loni Bowden-Horn03/09/13
Thank you for writing this powerful message. It tugged on my heart on many different levels. The story brilliantly weaved the word tie in throughout the piece.

It is never too late to restore relationships if the people are living on earth.

I appreciate you reminding us how important it is to build relationships right from the beginning.
Danielle King 03/09/13
How sad for those sisters. I had a friend who didn't speak with her mother for many years, all over a silly trivial thing. The mother died without being reconciled with her daughter. Your entry is a good reminder of what not to do.
Allison Egley 03/09/13
Nice job, and nice analogies.

I had to laugh at the part about bending to tie shoes... I can't bend right now, due to restrictions after surgery, so I have elastic shoestrings that make my tennis shoes act like slip ones. :) But I suppose stretching is required too, huh?

Great job.
Alicia Renkema03/09/13
Your last line contains the key:If we are WILLING, God is right there and always ready..." Thank you so much for this piece that is such a necessary reminder to the body of Christ (and too your truly) to always be willing to examine self, not allowing pride ever to get in the way of the love that God wants to grow in us. All of the marvelous word pictures with the different types of shoes were so fitting. This work was a gem of a devotional while using the word of our topic throughout. This is a great piece of writing on so many different levels and one I tend to revisit the next time that I am feeling: "If only they would do this / that..."
Judith Gayle Smith03/10/13
So well written and so very true. Years ago I wrote an article entitled "Adversarial Brotherhood" for this very reason. If this does not receive a prize, I will be very disappointed.
Bea Edwards 03/11/13
Fantastic title expressed all through this wonderful devotional! Thank you for this timely reminder that our relationships are a gift from God and deserve to be nurtured.