Grandma’s Quilts

 

“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.

Season of Realignment

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT)

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will be established.   – Proverbs 19:21 (RSV)

 

I called my ’97 Explorer my clunker because it literally clunked when I turned the wheel or drove over a rough section of road.

I made an appointment to get it aligned, but the guy told me something was wrong with a tie rod end or something like that, so I cancelled the alignment. After DH fixed the tie rod end (or something like that), I still didn’t get it aligned right away. Just too much on my schedule. But it wasn’t too bad. I got used to driving it. You see, there’s a trick to steering a misaligned vehicle.

When a vehicle is aligned, you can hold the steering wheel straight and the vehicle will go straight. But when it isn’t aligned, you have to hold the steering wheel in a slight turn to keep the vehicle going straight. If you hold it straight, you’ll end up where you don’t want to go, like in the ditch or on the other side of the road. Alignment keeps the steering straight.

Now, these Pennsylvania potholes are hard on vehicles, especially alignment. Hit one too hard, and bingo! Your vehicle’s out of alignment. The only way to correct it is to take it to a mechanic, who has the expertise and the tools to realign it properly again.

This whole year has been a season of realignment for me. Health challenges have been like potholes, knocking me out of alignment, slowing me down and even stopping me. I haven’t hiked, not even on the paths around home. My daily walk, either outside or inside following my “Walk at Home” DVD, has slipped onto the “Things of the Past” list. I can’t remember when I last went to water aerobics.

And those are only physical activities. 2018 was a year of transition, and, if you’ve been following this blog, you know all about that.

But years of transition – a.k.a. seasons of realignment – are part of life.

Back in 2011, I endured another season of realignment. Due to health issues, I had to resign from teaching, give up my radio program, and trim other activities from my schedule. Life wasn’t what I expected – or wanted – it to be. I was in a waiting room, where I learned to balance my life with work, rest, and leisure activities.

I was amazed at how busy I was at things that were good, but no longer God’s purpose for me – and abashed at how little time I took for fun. I understood this only when those busy things were taken away.

In time my energy returned, and with it clearer vision.

So it is with this season of realignment. You see, the master Mechanic is realigning my life with His purposes. To force me to stop, look at where I’m headed, and get my steering straight again.

I thought I would teach forever. I thought I’d do my radio program forever. I thought other things would last a lot longer than they did. I wasn’t ready to let them go. But God had other plans.

Are you in a season of realignment? Trust the master Mechanic. He knows what He’s doing.

Lord, keep me roadworthy and aligned with Your purposes. Amen.

Read and meditate on Genesis 12:1–9

(c) 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.