“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” –Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
I received my first patchwork quilt as a Christmas gift from my husband’s grandmother over forty years ago.
Grandma loved to make quilts. She’d spend the year gathering discarded clothing, cutting the square patches, then piecing together a mix-match of colors, patterns, and fabrics. Over the years everyone in the family had received at least one of her patchwork quilts. And none of the quilts was the same. Each was one of a kind.
Grandma’s quilts weren’t masterpieces to be displayed at fairs, bought for a high price, only to hang on someone’s quilt rack, unused, because they were too beautiful for daily wear and tear, the countless washing and drying that would leave them faded and worn.
No, Grandma’s quilts were made to be used. We used ours—as both bedspread and blanket in both our home and our camper. They served as warm wrappers at early spring baseball games and as seat cushions on hard, sometimes rough bleachers. And when they were beginning to show wear and tear, they still had plenty of use left in them as picnic or beach blankets.
Grandma’s quilts weren’t delicate, falling apart after only a few years of use. After forty years, I still have a few around, and they’re still in good condition. My grandchildren use them for sleepovers.
But Grandma’s quilts serve more than a physical need. They’re a symbol of life itself.
First, they remind me that recycling is an important part of life. And not just recycling of paper and glass and cans. But of plans and hopes and dreams. Very few things in life turn out the way we plan. But we can go on because we can take those discards and reshape and rearrange them for a new purpose.
Second, the patchwork reminds me that an all-light canvas has no contrast, no depth. The dark times in our lives teach us compassion, humility, and persistence, and strengthen faith and trust. Without pain and trouble, we would be shallow persons indeed.
Third, the quilts remind me that it’s okay to be “common.” I’d rather be an everyday vessel in the hand of God than a treasure of beauty set on a shelf, admired but unused.
Finally, just as each quilt is unique, each life is unique, planned and pieced together with threads of love woven and designed by the Master, God Himself.
Dear God, thank you for being the Master Quiltsman of my life. Thank you for the way You piece together dark and light, rough and smooth, solid and patterned, plain and showy, for a unique creation to be used for Your glory. Amen.
Read and meditate on Lamentations 3:21–26.
(c) 2008 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.