A cord of three strands is not quickly broken

Ever since Dee and Gracie have had hair long enough, we have been using a ponytail system to aid others in telling them apart. The formula is quite simple and folks have really appreciated knowing the quick tell tale sign to know who is who. Dee has one syllable in her name, so she gets one ponytail. Gracie has two syllables in her name, so she gets (you guessed it) two ponytails. Clever, right!

But lately, the girls are wanting to venture away from this look. Dee has been requesting “lucy hair” for some time now. That is the look the character Lucy Pevensie modeled in the movie Prince Caspian. She wants two small rows of braids on each side that come together in the back to form one braid. And you can’t trick Dee either. I’ve tried to just twist her hair around (making it feel like I am braiding) and then put a ponytail holder in her hair, but she was not to be fooled. She will go stand in front of a mirror after I’m done and make sure that the tail hanging down the back is indeed a braid.

Gracie isn’t quite as particular as Dee, but now she likes to have her hair up in two braided ponytails. Both of these new looks work well in terms of the Dee=one, Gracie=two trend we have kept up. But this is a difficult change in routine for me to accept. And it isn’t because I am not a fan of braids or because I am sad to say ‘farewell’ to the cute ponytails days. It is because I CAN NOT braid hair.

When they go to their Nonnie’s house or their Gammy’s house, they come home with great braided looks.

Even Rob has talent in this area of hair styling.


Rob braiding Dee's hair


But sadly, I do not have that skill of hair braiding.

I am working on it, though. It is just taking time to get my fingers to cooperate in the right way. As time has moved on, most of my end results these days do start off looking somewhat decent. But a quick tousle of the hair by one of the girls (to validate that I really did give them braids) or one car trip later after being smashed against the car seat, and their hair is a mess.

And it was this mess of an attempt at braids that got me thinking. I was remembering that familiar verse, “A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” from Ecclesiastes 4:12 and I thought how the three strands I am making here are VERY easily broken and not even pretty to look at. That verse was not holding true for me.

The reason is obvious though, it is because I am not a good weaver. Wouldn’t you agree that it would take, say, a master weaver to really make three strands work together, creating something that is strong and even beautiful? (hang in there with me, because other than saying Rob can braid hair and I can’t, I really am going somewhere with this…)

And I can see why this verse is so often quoted at weddings. The message is that the husband, the wife, AND the Lord are all necessary components to make a marriage strong and beautiful and lasting. But if we leave it at that, we are missing something of great significance.

It took my hairstyle mishaps to understand that knowing WHO is doing the braiding is key! If in marriage, or parenting, or any area of life, we (ourselves) try to be the weaver and just pull in God as one of the cords in our life, along with lots of other nice things, the end result is not going to be pretty. But when we let the Master Weaver, God, have His hands on putting all the cords together in our life, and weaving His masterpiece, the end result is of lasting strength and beauty.

I know I am taking that particular verse out of proper context, and this isn’t the interpretation of the words. But I am making an application for me to consider. There is a quote that I have always liked from from ‘A Call to spiritual reformation’ by D.A. Carson that helps me articulate it a bit more. It says, “Many who profess faith seem to think Christianity is something to add to their already busy lives, not something that controls, constrains, and shapes their vision and all their goals. ”

So the question I am asking is this. Am I trying to weave God into my life? Or am I letting God be the weaver of my life? The difference in words is subtle and might seem of unimportance, but to understand the difference in meaning is of great significance.

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2 Responses to A cord of three strands is not quickly broken

  1. julespaq says:

    Love this JoAnna! And I will have to teach you how to ‘fish tail’ some time their hair. I think it’s easier then braiding but it ‘looks’ more complicated. I’ll never look at braiding the same again, thank you for helping me find spiritual truths in the everyday things!

  2. Brie says:

    Wow – you are so right! That is a wonderful and poignant observation. I LOVE how God appears to you in such wonderful and meaningful ways in your daily life. You rock.

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