For weeks following my surgery, I found myself going through a season of weariness, unmotivated and unable to write. Instead, I became consumed with reading a series of novels. I love to read mystery novels, but this time I left my comfort zone and picked up a book about quilting and quilters. And I don’t even like to sew! In fact, I gave my sewing machine away to my daughter-in-law, who uses it to create clothing and gifts for our grandchildren, for herself, and for others. Unlike my mother, who could visualize and then realize all sorts of sewing projects, I just cannot make sense of the patterns or the instructions. Fabric stores make me want to run out screaming.
So I do not know why I was drawn to this particular book at the library, when all I wanted was another mystery novel to read. But this particular book spoke to me, and I knew I had to read the entire series, and read it in order. And that’s what I have done, even though I have had to go to different libraries in different towns to find all of them. To date, I have finished fourteen of the novels. These books are all about women and their relationships as they struggle through tough situations. And today, finally, after all these weeks of apathy and aversion to writing the lessons that God places on my heart, I feel the need to write.
As I finished the fourteenth book, my heart was just bursting with gratitude to God for letting me see and believe a great truth and for giving me a word: quilting. That’s right. Quilting. But I had to ask God to explain what that word really means. God, what do you want me to see?
I have discovered that a quilter can use diverse materials including fabric from a store, hand-me-downs, old clothing, rags, scraps from other sewing projects, fine silk. Just about anything can be used to make a quilt. And quilts have many different uses. Quilts can tell stories, keep people warm, or constitute a dowry. They can be used as secret signals or be entered into competitions. Quilts are used for bed coverings, clothing, and art pieces.
Sometimes quilters work alone, and sometimes they work in groups. God, what are you saying to me through these books? The recurring theme through many of the novels is the idea of withstanding hard times. Even though troubling times come to every person’s life, a beautiful quilt can be wrought for that particular season. In the books, sometimes generations had to pass before the quilt was found and its story told, but the outcome was still beautiful.
This realization spoke to me today, for I have been struggling with the ugliness of life. I wrestle with the reality of the vicious, senseless pain that people inflict upon one another. Lives are broken, and all around me families are struggling with the same questions. God gave me this series of books about quilts to show me that something truly beautiful can come from the scraps of our lives if we choose to give those scraps to Him. Then He can cover us with His quilt, clothe us in His righteousness, and create a beautiful new story from the broken pieces of our lives.
God uses the good times and the bad times of our lives. He pieces together the different shades and hues just so, and the variety of His quilt patterns is endless. Each person’s quilt story is uniquely her own with her own patterns and colors. One day, when I am gone, my quilt will be a testimony of God’s working in my life—but only if I let Him quilt it. I can either refuse and run away and rip out the work He has done in my life, or I can trust in His handiwork and believe that the result will be beautiful to behold.
What about you? Are you struggling with all the pieces of your life? Is it hard for you to believe that God can use the bad as well as the good to make your life a beautiful quilt?
When I was in Boston, I attended a quilt exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts. The quilts were magnificent! The color choices, materials, and patterns seemed limitless. I was amazed by the time and effort spent on each quilt. Even the smallest detail was not overlooked as the quilter completed his or her masterpiece. That is just like our God. Every single second of your life, God has been working on your quilt and He will not stop working on it until He has decided that it is finished and complete.
Ephesians 2:10 begins, “For we are His workmanship.” Isn’t that a wonderful picture? God is working on us, and we can see why He is doing that, for the verse continues, “created in Christ Jesus for good works […] (NAS).” Believe with me today that our heavenly Quiltmaker knows what He is doing and He will not finish your quilt until every single stitch is just as He wants it to be. And then, it will be a beautiful thing to behold.
Blessings – Lisa