Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Big Lesson from Four Small Quilts

I'm not a quilter.  Really...I am not.  I have seen some incredible quilts made by amazing quilters.  I can sew...but sewing is only part of quilting.  I have made sixteen photo quilts for sixteen of our grandbabies when they turned one year old.  Though they hold high sentimental value and are treasured by our sweet grandblessings, they are not works of art. (Note: The Growing Table's sweet Mei Mei has one coming for her birthday later this year!)

My mom had asked for some help to take four quilt tops she had been given and put them together with batting and backing...and bind them...and tie them...then deliver them to a nearby children's home.  The story is that my dad's recently passed away cousin, along with her husband, used to make quilts and donate them to this particular home.  Mom and Dad thought it would be nice if we finished up these quilts and donated them in her memory.  I told her yes (because I pretty much still do what she tells/asks of me) and I brought everything home...where it sat for a good long while.

The quilt tops were interesting to say the least.  They were the products of someone's unfinished work.  They were not colors or patterns I was drawn to at all.  Some of the work was not as well done as I thought I should have been.  In short, I didn't much care for these quilt tops and only my promise to Mom and Dad inspired me to finish them.  As I talked with my friend "Daina" one day and told her about these quilts that I needed OFF my to-do list, she offered encouragement and prayer and a promise (threat) that she would require a status update in a few days.  I started in.

As I began the process of pressing, batting, tying, and binding them it occurred to me that I was a snob.  It wasn't that I didn't have the time to do the work...I simply hadn't made it a priority because I didn't think they were up to my standards...PRIDE was standing in my way of offering four children snuggly, warm quilts to call their own.  As I sewed, I humbled myself and found my softened heart broken by the truth.  I felt God compelling me to complete this work to the best of my ability, in spite of what I started with.  I felt the Truth wash over me that these quilts were much like need of work.  I confessed my pride and thanked God for the fact that He makes all things beautiful in His time (even me), I thanked Him that He takes the rags of our lives and makes all things new.

The Last of The Four Quilts
(and the most needy) in Progress
I finished the first three in a short time...oh, but the appears to have been hand stitched by an older woman with poor eyesight out of old fabrics that don't really go together.  As I pondered what to do, I told my Mom about it.  I feared that if I put it together as I had the other three, it would fall apart in the wash...literally.  I knew it would require hand quilting in order to be used, washed, and loved.  Mom released me from it, saying she was sure I had more important things to spend my time one.  But I couldn't let it go...I was compelled to finish it.

Now I see these quilts in a completely different light.  I see beauty, comfort, and warmth.  I see the hard work of other seamstress' hands used for a purpose they could not foresee and that I was called upon to complete.  I see fabrics that may remind a child of a dress their mother, grandmother, or sister used to wear or that feels like their father's shirt.  I pray that God will take them and use them to speak love to four children in a way that only He can.  I pray that He will wrap His arms around them as they wrap in these quilts and that they will feel His total and unconditional love in pieces of fabric stitched together to make unique quilts...much like God pieces together the events of our lives to make something beautiful in His time.

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