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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Beginnings (05/31/04)

TITLE: Start Here!
By Donna Haug


I have never mastered the art of opening those bulk sacks of flour – you know, the ones with the trick triple-stitching on the top. All you have to do is find the beginning of the correct string, give it a little tug, and all the stitching miraculously “un-zips” and your flour is accessible. It never fails! Right! I poke and pull and tug to no avail. Giving up on the one side, I flip the bag around and try the other side. Pick, pick, tug … nothing!

“Honey, can you give me a hand here?” I pass the bag to my husband with exasperation written all over my face.

“What’s wrong? Can’t get it?”

Of course I can’t get it! Would I make myself vulnerable to his knowing smile if I didn’t absolutely have to?

With a quick exploratory look at the stitching, my dear husband picks out the beginning of one string, gives it a little tug and the whole top of the bag unravels before my very eyes! How does he do that??

His trick lies in knowing how the stitching was made in the first place. You see, Mark has been to flour mills many times when we lived in southern Brazil. The orphanage we were directing had its own farm. He watched the men fill our sacks with flour which was ground from the wheat taken from our very own fields. He saw the machine that so quickly sewed up the tops of the bags with that magic string. It would be helpful to me if they would just attach a little tag to the beginning of that string saying “Pull here!” To him it makes perfect sense.

Too often, I can be that way with my personal walk with the Lord. I look at my life and think, “I can figure this out! This person said she followed this method. She found that her relationship with God intensified and saw great things happen. All I have to do is follow what she did!” And so, I pull and tug trying to find that elusive string.

Meanwhile, I believe my Jesus is watching me and shaking His head with this knowing smile on His face. He was there when I was knit together “in my mother’s womb”. He knows perfectly well how I am put together. My Lord is just waiting for me to give up on trying to follow everyone else, knowing exactly what it will take to draw me into a close walk with Him. All I need to do is ask for His help. As I hand the bag of my life over to Him, He tugs at exactly the right spot and exposes my heart – wide open to Him and available for His use. Other times, instead of pulling the string Himself, by the gentle prodding of the Holy Spirit, He points out exactly the spot where that mysterious string is hiding. Lo and behold, I find a tiny little tag hanging on the beginning of that string saying, “Start here!”

Have I taken time to allow Jesus to show me the beginning point for this day? Or will I spend my day picking at the strings, hoping for the best? Jesus, help me choose each day to say, “Lord, could you give me a hand here?”

Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Germain 06/07/04
This is an excellent illustration, Donna. I cannot relate to flour, but certainly to pet food, kitty litter, and potting soil! You DO have to know where the beginning is to make it work correctly. Good flow. ('ya rite purty gud lady! :0)
Dian Moore06/07/04
Great title - it caught my eye, but I didn't start here (though at first that's what I thought it meant - to start reading here :))

Your pick of a flour bag to use in this analogy is nothing short of genius. Well done and rightly done.

L.M. Lee06/08/04
shaking His head with this knowing smile on His face... oh this expression is too familiar!
Deborah Porter 06/09/04
Oh Donna, well done! What a great point (and aren't husbands a blessing!)

When you got to the paragraph about trying to figure out which string to pull by following another person's experiences, I was nodding my head at where you were going. What a good message and, as always, told with your lovely warm and very down-to-earth style. With love, Deb
Linda Miller06/10/04
Hi Donna - I, too, have had my share of exasperating moments with the dogfood. I finally just got the utility knife out and sliced it open. Says something for my patience, doesn't it? Really enjoyed every word of your entry.
Mary Elder-Criss06/11/04
Per usual, wonderful piece. I am sure Jesus has sat there watching me pull and tug at the "Spiritual strings" more than a few times trying to figure things out. Good exploration of how we each have a personal relationship with Him.
Gary Sims06/12/04
Donna - Great analogies come from a focused awareness of life. God can be found in the smallest details in our lives and if we choose to pay attention, we will see Him in everything we do. Way to pay attention. Thank you for watching God work in your life and sharing Him with us. - Gary
Phyllis Inniss06/12/04
Great message and a wonderful use of flour bags to give your article a different slant on your spiritual life. Really creative!
Melanie Kerr 06/12/04
You caught an held my interest and challenged me to think about the times I pull at things in my life with the hope that I can unravel something.