It’s a beautiful fall day in Minnesota. Cloudy and overcast autumn days sometimes make the colors pop even more. My oldest daughter, being home schooled this year, is working on her math.
I am trying to tune my guitar.
The key word in that sentence is trying because it’s not going very well. I have broken more than one string. I have put the wrong string in the wrong place. I have tried to tune one string to a different note than it was intended to be.
It has not been pretty.
Meanwhile, my 6th grader is watching my struggle. She chuckles and giggles. Not to be inconsiderate, but in solidarity. It’s good for her to see me struggle.
I tell that to myself, over and over again, but it doesn’t make the frustration any easier.
I was excited to pick up my guitar again, and I thought it would be a lot of fun. I have never been all that great with it, but I would love to use it to help the Kids Choir or bring it on camping trips. So I took it out of its case and reminded myself of the three or four easy chords I know.
As I played it, my soft fingers felt the strings. The pain was--well, I wouldn’t say it was excruciating, but it was definitely uncomfortable.
After a few days the callouses started forming, and the chords began to come a little more naturally. Not quickly, mind you, but slightly more easily.
It was then I started hearing the pitch and realizing that my guitar was extremely out of tune. That brings us to today.
Sitting at my table, trying to get the strings into my guitar, and making them sound right. It’s tough. I want to give up. Sometimes I think, this isn’t worth it.
Let’s be honest. I think it more than sometimes.
But then I look at my guitar, lying on its case waiting for me, and I realize that I want more than anything to master it. I know I will never play it like a professional, but I want to sing with my kids and not have to rely on YouTube. I want them to hear live music at home, not just recorded music.
So I will continue to move forward. I will keep practicing chords (the four I know) until the callouses on my fingers are formed. I will keep trying to restring my guitar until I get it right. I will keep tuning the strings to the correct pitches.
Struggling with my guitar, cringing every time a string breaks, just reminds me of my relationship with God. I can feel like a guitar in God’s hand being wound more tightly each day. Not sure I can take the pressure any longer. There are times that I feel like I’m going to break at any moment.
So much stress weighs heavily on me, but I can still have confidence in the Lord. He knows exactly the feelings I have, and He can do something about it.
How do I know this?
Hebrews 4:15-16: For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have One who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -- yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
In our weakness, if we approach the throne of grace, we will receive mercy and grace in our time of need.
I may allow the guitar string to pop because I don’t know how tightly it’s being wound, but that is not the case with God. He will fine-tune me and stretch me beyond what I feel like I can bear, but He knows my breaking point. He won’t let me snap.
So today I will pick up my guitar again, put in the correct strings and tune it. Then, I will practice my chords and hear the notes that my instrument was intended to play.
Gianna Kordatzky has been a part of the First Free family since 1997. She graduated from Northwestern College (now University of Northwestern–St. Paul) in 1999 with a B.A. in youth ministry which prepared her and her husband, Chris, to raise four amazing kids. She is one of the founders of Family Fun Twin Cities and the Moms in Prayer leader for Bel Air Elementary in New Brighton. Gianna is passionate about serving families whether she is volunteering with New Life Family Services in St. Paul or overseas at the ELIC conference.