Wise-Hearted Crafting

I think sometimes women feel the need to justify their desire to make beautiful things with their hands. So I have a perfect couple of verses for you! Here it is in Exodus 35:25-26: “And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.”

The NKJ renders wise hearted as gifted artisans, and I am certainly not able to explain why. But in Exodus 28:3, where it speaks of the gifted artisans also, God refers to them as “whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom.” So I don’t feel I am taking a wild leap to say that women whose hearts have been filled with wisdom (wise-hearted women) are stirred up to make things. And though we no longer are making things for the tabernacle like the women in Exodus, we are making things for our homes, our children, our friends and family. And this is wise and good.

When my children were small, I loved crafting things, sewing, knitting, and making stuff with Sugru by tesa to decorate my home. I even learned to weave. There was always something very satisfying in seeing the results. Homemaking requires a lot of repetition with the same jobs having to be done over and over every day. But when I cut up some fabric and turned it into a dress for my daughter or curtains for a bedroom, I saw a finished product, and it gave me a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. It pleased me.

My theory is that God puts wisdom in our hearts and it comes out our hands. And when it does, we make stuff! And not only does this stuff glorify God when it is offered to Him, it gives us a soul satisfaction that is healthy and invigorating. We are imitating our Creator when we make things, and that image of God which is stamped on our soul shines a little brighter.

This is true whether we are making a meal, setting a table, sewing a pillow, knitting a sweater, painting a picture, or baking a cake. It is good for us to work out what God works in. And wise-hearted crafting is one way women do this. As we learn and practice and become more skilled, our crafts become more impressive, our knitting a little neater, our seams a little straighter, our talents more noticeable. And all this is very good.

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11 thoughts on “Wise-Hearted Crafting

  1. I appreciated this. I used to do a good bit of crafting when first married, but it fell by the wayside when my children were young. I have been getting back into it recently. I used to get dismayed when discussing or showing something I was working on only to have another lady act as if I must have a luxurious amount of extra time on my hands to be able to do it — to me it was a matter of using evening relaxing time or TV/video time wisely. The pioneer ladies, at least from what I have read, used to work with their hands as well — true, because they had to make things because thy didn’t have Wal-Marts. 🙂 But it’s inspiring to me that they did so, as physically busy as they were with other tasks. I read a quote some years back by a pioneer women that said something like, “I make my quilts sturdy to keep my family warm; I make them beauitful to keep my heart from breaking.” That touched me so — in the bleakness of homesteading and hard winters, it ministered to someone’s heart to make something beauitful for the home.

    Have you ever read Edith Schaeffer’s The Hidden Art of Homemaking? She makes some really good points along the same line, that creativity is a part of our being made in God’s image.

  2. This was wonderful! Knitting, sewing, smocking, etc. have always been so satisfying and I’ve felt for years that these things were aspects of God’s blessing in my home. As I young mom I was encouraged in reading through Deut. to come across the blessings in chapter 28. Verse 5 says “Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.” I’m afraid I personalized that to refer to my crafting and knitting basket. 🙂 Ever after,though, I’ve been reminded that God is good whenever I go to those baskets or knead bread.

  3. Thank you, Nancy, for encouraging us in God-given creativity! “It is good to work out what God works in.” And I loved those verses you quoted. Your words reminded me, as they did Barbara, of Hidden Art.

    When our oldest was a baby, I took a weekly knitting class as a mommy rest while Daddy stayed with her. It was the yarn that attracted me to knitting–the colors, the feel in the hand. It satisfies something way down deep just to touch it.

    But I set the knitting aside until I taught her to knit dish clothes. Since then, her hands have been rarely still. She has taught many others to knit, including her younger sisters and little brother, and she has given many lovely gifts.

    I’ve read of cultures where it is common to see men, women and children spinning with drop spindles as they walk along the road. Knitting and hand quilting are two more examples of handwork that can be done by the multi-tasking woman.

  4. Now that my children are older, I’ve returned to cross stictch. I recently finished a rather involved project. It’s now hanging in my living room, and I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to see it there~~something I’ve made with my own hands to beautify my home, unlike anything anyone else would have in her home. These handmade items personalize a space like little else can.

    My oldest daughter likes photography and scrapbooking ( a good combination, eh?), but my youngest is craft-crazy! She’s been making things since she was old enough to hold a pair of scissors and a bottle of glue. Now she’s learning to knit, embroider, sew, and anything else she can get her nimble little fingers on. The other day we were walking through Michael’s (getting knitting supplies so she could knit a doll-size sweater for a friend’s birthday), and she let out the biggest sigh I’ve ever heard and said, “I *love* Michael’s!”

    Thank you for the encouragement and the verses!

  5. As I have pulled out my knitting, after a multi-year hiatus, I’ve been amazed to see how many moms my age (early 40s) want to learn how to knit. In fact, two of my piano moms received knitting instruction from me in conjuction with their children’s piano lessons! These gals are hungry to learn to create with their hands. Being outside the covenant people of God, they are not usually a part of a community where they can receive instruction in home arts. So many gals my age grew up without their mothers around. Taking time with these gals opens up opportunities for conversation and ministry which wouldn’t happen otherwise.

    Here’s one of those “Don’t try this at home” activities. My jaw dropped the day my mother told me that she knits in Altanta rush hour traffic. The jaw was snapped back up when she explained that she knits only when she’s parked in traffic. That’s taking every moment captive!

  6. Thank you for these gold nuggets. After eight years of home schooling, we have recently decided to put our four children in school this next year. I have been struggling to embrace this new chapter in our lives in terms of how I would spend my time. My husband knows that I am one that enjoys making beautiful things-it makes me come alive- and has been encouraging me to use my anticipated extra time to do so. However, I thought that indulging in these domestic crafts would be selfish and would corrupt my priorities. Your article really spoke to my soul. I printed it out and read it to my husband. He nodded in hearty agreement! Now being spurred on by the Truth that my husband and you have shared, I anticipate with joy the many wonderful crafts that will flow out of my hands and heart, that truly are gems from our kind God.

  7. Speaking of wisdom, your post reminds me of two of my favorite verses from Proverbs. One of my continual prayers is that the Lord would show me what it means to be a woman in His kingdom, and one day, while I was reading through Proverbs (one of my favorite past-times), the Lord opened my eyes to see the striking similarities between these two verses: The first is Proverbs 3:19-20:

    “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth;
    by understanding he established the heavens;
    by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
    and the clouds drop down the dew.”

    The second is Proverbs 24:3-4

    “By wisdom a house is built,
    and by understanding it is established;
    by knowledge the rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant riches.”

    He showed me that day what you have posted so beautifully here–that in committing myself to housekeeping, I am imitating His great work of creation. What a noble calling, and how humbling the comparison is to me! It is, nonetheless, still a constant struggle in the midst of our culture, and I desperately needed this reminder tonight. May the dew of heaven rain on our hearts as we depend on His grace to live faithfully as wives, mothers, and home-makers striving to fill the rooms of our homes and families with precious and pleasant riches, thereby reflecting the beauty of His matchless creation. Thanks for your encouragement!

  8. Thank you Nancy for putting into words what I have always felt deep inside to be true. Making stuff truly satisfies my soul.

  9. Oh my. After reading all these comments, I’m really feeling like the Tom Boy! Knitting, sewing, cross stitch, weaving, embroidery… I’m going to have to pull out that new sewing machine and figure it out…. just as soon as I finish helping my husband build these barns!

  10. Sally Clarkson had a similar blog on creativity and I had posted this reply on her site. Being that it fits this topic as well, I will share it again in hopes to encourage others, like me, who have struggled with worrrying about what others think:

    I just began a home economics group for homeschooled girls, ages 9-12, my main objectives are to cast a vision for beauty, creativity, femininity, finding joy in the mundane and serving within the context of home. My first lesson was on creativity and I only had two days to pull a lesson together for our first project, a “seasonal tree,” that the girls can decorate according to holidays or time of year. I asked the Lord while I was crashing into bed to give me a quick spiritual application and He gave me Genesis 1:1. I have read this verse hundreds of times and for the first time God revealed to me that the first thing we learn of God is that He “created.” I have always felt rather silly around those who do not understand why a busy mother would take time to make something beautiful, add special touches…as if it were frivolous of me. But, God gave me confirmation that I was created in His image and I was creating an atmosphere of His beauty for those around me. I am 35 and I am finally accepting the way the Lord has uniquely made me without feeling ashamed. I have a new passion for my home as I learn new skills, try new things and take time to create! Learning to embrace my home has brought me so much joy.
    God Bless

  11. Oh, thank you for these scriptural insights… sometimes I get my mind on a home-related project, and I can’t think of anything else for awhile. My husband has gotten used to my little project-fancies. And I’ve tried to slow my brain down and think through getting our family’s more basic needs (laundry, meals, etc.) accomplished before I dive head-first into something more decorating, creative, or thrift-oriented.

    Wisdom, yes wisdom from above. I need and desire it so much!

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