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  • Chris Crosby

Patchwork Life

Her arthritic hands struggled to hold the needle, yet determined to press on, she worked diligently over the quilt. My grandmother fought arthritis like no one I know.

She was determined not to let it beat her. Part of her regimen included quilting to keep her fingers nimble. She made what I called “old-fashioned” quilts – those that were made from left over scraps of fabric. Those remnants were from family members' clothing. There were no quilt shops in her day and certainly not the expensive quilt fabrics you see now. After pieces were sewn together, she would painstakingly hand quilt the entire blanket.

The first quilt I received from her reveals the wear received through years of use. Yet, it provides beautiful reminders. When I look at that quilt, it reminds me of dresses she made for me as a little girl. I also remember Grandma leaning over the quilt, working in a few more stitches between cleaning, laundry and fixing meals for a large farm family. It was during those times she would tell me stories and teach me to embroider. Her quilts tell stories too.

The quilt is a patchwork of different fabrics sewn together to make a beautiful tapestry. Our lives are like that too. What may seem like many random events, experiences and choices turn into a life full of memories. They make us unique. Your story is different from mine or anyone else’s due to the collection of experiences, events and choices that make up your history. All of those come together to form a delightful tapestry called your life. You may not view it all as beautiful; however, none of us have only lovely memories. Some memories are plain, some even ugly, yet together they still form you, and you are beautiful.

God has promised that He is taking our past and forming something good from it. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) Whether you were raised in a loving family or a dysfunctional one, God is still using your experiences to bring about good in your life. Rich or poor, boring or exciting, all of it is used to shape you into the person God needs to help others. Trust His plan, continue to seek His direction, and cling to the promises of His Word.

You may currently only see one ugly fabric, or uneven stitches being worked, but God sees the big picture and knows exactly what He is doing to create a tapestry that will honor Him. Take every high and low in your life and learn from it. Allow it to grow you and develop your character. My prayer is that when my life on earth is over and my tapestry hangs on the “quilt wall” of heaven, it will point to my Heavenly Father and give Him glory. Is that your prayer as well?

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