The past few weeks it has been so foggy here in 417land and for some reason when it is really foggy or rainy and I am in the car–I usually get my best thoughts from God. This is one of them.
Quilt your Life. As in the blanket. You see, I grew up with a family of women who quilted. Growing up I can’t really remember a time when my Mom and my Granny Jo weren’t working on a quilt. As I got older I realized more behind the tradition and the beauty of the art that is quilting. The first thing I learned was that THEY PIECED BY HAND. For those of you who are not up and up on quilting lingo that means they they took their cut pieces (often times of unique shapes like triangles, quadrangles, or hexagons) and they literally sewed those pieces together to form a straight line and made it all equal one giant rectangle in the end. For those of you who have zero sewing abilities…I do…and I can barely accomplish this WITH a sewing machine. They did this all by hand with needle and thread. That is how much skill this required! So let’s just say we are going to have a quilting lesson today, except instead of me teaching you how to quilt an actual quilt, I am going to show you how quilting is a lot like life. We can take some amazing lessons from quilting to apply to our own lives. You could also call this an ode to my Mama who has been sick the past week or so.
1/ Pick your pattern. In the old days, they did not have fancy magazines, quilt stores with patterns, and all the things. THEY DREAMED THEM UP. So let’s just say they see Jane at church on Sunday and she has a beautiful pattern in her dress and she thinks, “My that would make a beautiful quilt for my bedroom.” She just gets the fabric and dreams a little, and then her and all of her friends—make it happen! Back then it wasn’t a time of cookie cutter patterns like most people follow today. These were intricately detailed and designed. Did you know God intended the exact same for your life? He gives us choice and through that free will we are able to choose how we live our lives, how we use the gifts he gave us, and we are able to design a one of a kind life that is unlike anyone else’s. That pattern is unique to you. Honestly it may not even be able to be duplicated it is so special. That is EXACTLY what God intends for your life.
2/ Thread the needle. The eye of a needle is SUPER TINY. Growing up I cannot tell you how many times my mama asked me to come over and help her thread a needle. They are so tiny you either have to basically have a magnifying glass or wonderful vision. The eye of the needle has to be clearly in sight to be able to get that tiny thread in the eye. Then once you have it thread, you have to knot the thread well so that the thread will hold and not come undone. Otherwise you just did a lot of wasted work. We have to have a destination in mind. When you go to thread a needle, you have one thing in mind…the eye. In life, we need a target or a destination. If we don’t know where we are going we will NEVER be able to reach the destination. So this brings me to an important question that I have been asking myself a lot over the last year or so: what do you want? Truly. What do you think the thing is that God has called you to do? What is your purpose. (If you don’t know I highly recommend the book Restless by Jennie Allen to help you figure this out.) Once you know where you are going and what you want— it is so much easier to create a plan for how to get there. The destination has to be clear though. Otherwise we will get lost along the way. Or distracted. Or tired. Or forgetful. If the destination is so clear it feels real, you know you are on the right path.
3/ Piece the pieces. After you have that needle threaded and the knot is tight, you start to take all of these beautiful pieces that you have and you sew them together. The idea is that these pieces will become one, FOREVER. They will never become undone. They will never separate. The seams are strong, the stitch is straight, and there are no loose ends. They cannot do it alone. One piece does not make a quilt. You need LOADS of pieces to make a quilt. This is your community or the body. God’s work cannot be done alone. The body works together to create strength in numbers just like these pieces. Separate, they are of no use. Together they can warm a bed, a person, a home, a friend, or a family member for generations. The thread and the seam are the foundation. We are told in scripture to build our house upon the rock. You have to have a firm foundation, otherwise you are building your house upon the sand. We have to have a strong support system, friend network, and be present in the body so that all can work together for the better good of the Kingdom. Alone, we will serve no one. Together we will serve many and go forth and create a ripple affect for generations to come.
4/ Bind your loose ends. The last step in the process is to bind your quilt. This is the finishing process that actually takes this from something to something usable. If it isn’t bound, there are loose ends that will fray over time. The threads might come undone. The binding also holds in your batting which is what makes a quilt warm. This finishing process is also necessary in our lives. God calls us to a life of refining where the aim is to be able to withstand wear, tear, and suffering. If we are not bound in the love of God, his word, and his commandments—we will perish. The binding is the last step but sometimes also the hardest. Just like our process of walking in love and grace despite all circumstances.
5/ Mending. Over time there will be pieces of fabric worn thin. There might be a child’s tug of war game that goes further than the seams can take. There might be a moth that eats a hole in the quilt. There will be times through the generations where this quilt will need mending. As do our hearts. God’s never ending grace, forgiveness, peace, and patience is ready and waiting as a salve for our broken hearts. We will face troubling times. We will be ripped. We will be faded. We will withstand more than we think we are capable of. Then Jesus walks in, dies on the cross and washes clean every wrong. He heals every broken heart. He is the mender of all things. We need him. We cannot make it without him. He is the Savior.
Friends, we are just like a quilt. God is working in every piece, every seam, every tear, and every stain. He is weaving threads of His eternal story through you. Let us not miss this! Let us not miss that we are a piece of his story and he means to make even the worst parts for the good of His Glory and His Kingdom forever. Let us walk with perseverance the race marked out for us. He wants you to be quilted to last forever. Not just a few years. Forever. Let’s believe Him for this today.