Several years ago, my daughter asked me to restore a quilt that her husband’s grandmother had crafted decades earlier. She wanted her daughter to have a quilt that her great-grandmother made and her grandmother restored. Since I have two granddaughters, I searched my favorite antique store and found another quilt in good shape and set to work on both of them.
I hope to present both girls with their quilts this Christmas. The most fun part of this project was collecting fabric scraps that represent our family. There are pieces from my wedding dress, pieces from army uniforms their uncles wore when they deployed to the Middle East, pieces from dresses I made for the girls, including fabric I bought during a mission trip to Asia.
The fabrics are of different colors, patterns, and textures. There are Bible characters to ponder. The Disney princesses, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan, Wendy, and Tinkerbell spark the imagination. As I’ve sewn, I’ve imagined the girls’ blankets following them through their lives–to college and to new homes after their weddings.
One patch mentions adventure and invites them to relish in new challenges. During a season of heartache and confusion, another patch can remind them that caterpillars have no understanding of the process of becoming a butterfly. Said process must seem deadly to the caterpillar. But it results in a beautiful new kind of creature. We are not in our final form yet either.
Various other fabrics represent family members through favorite themes: fireworks, frogs, lilacs, daisies. or cats. Others are leftover scraps from various projects or fabrics we just found interesting.
Something I learned about quilts early in this process is that you need light, medium, and dark colors. A quilt needs contrasts to be visually appealing. This need for contrasts parallels our lives. Each person has joy and sadness sprinkled through the everydayness of our years. If life were all one thing or another, it would be dull and unappealing.
But a quilt is more than a metaphor for life. It is also a metaphor for the Church. The Church is a gift to the world. We are the patches, the signposts to indicate which way to go. In the patchwork that is the Church, no one piece looks like another. Our commonality is in the cotton, God in this metaphor who connects us to each other.
Each patch’s job is to make the ones next to it be more beautiful. God places each of us next to the ones who can help us the most and the ones we can help the most. Together, we show the world what love and harmony can be.
Any worn piece of fabric may attach itself to the cotton, and to us, and gain new life.
The Church wraps others in the love of Christ. We minister to the cold, hungry, and hurting. And just like the girls’ quilts, different patches encourage in different ways. Some patches tell stories to teach us perseverance, grace, and mercy. Some remind us to be thankful for past blessings and hopeful for future provision. Some give us memories that assure us of God’s faithfulness.
Each of us where God has set us can show our love for Him and others. Doing so, we offer the hope of the Gospel. It really is the only hope there is.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”