Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
~ Psalm 139:14
I love quilts. I especially like old quilts: a patchwork of salvaged fabric, pieces of a family history, sewn together as a covering from the cold.
I know my sentimental gene birthed my love for quilts. As a baby, my great-grandmother made me my first quilt from remnants of children’s flannel pajamas. Painstakingly made by arthritic hands, sewn scraps of my kinfolk’s childhood are forever pieced together in a treasured masterpiece.
On winter visits at my paternal grandparents’ home, while the old radiator noisily rattled and clanked to heat the room, I snuggled beneath heavy layers of homemade quilts. Cocooned in the weighted warmth, I felt safe and loved. Once I had the honor of seeking warmth under a quilt my great aunt, who had failing eyesight, had just finished; I woke up in the middle of the night in pain, pricked by dozens of overlooked straight pins. I found a safe position and did not move until morning.
When I was a young adult, my maternal grandmother presented me with my very own grown-up quilt. I knew a lot of work – and love – went into the treasured gift.
Years ago, I added quilting to my list things-to-learn-to-do. I started collecting fabric in anticipation of one day making an heirloom; however, the thought of actually cutting perfectly good fabric into small pieces and then trying to sew it all back together was daunting.
Then one day it happened. I measured, cut and sewed; I took out countless rows of stitching, then sewed again. I am pleasantly surprised at my newly evolving patience, determination and persistence. Even though I have only attempted small projects, I have learned many lessons. In the midst of one of my sewing spells, I realized those lessons were applicable to my life in general.
Quilting requires preparation. There is selecting, pre-washing, then ironing the fabric; gathering the rulers, templates, cutting mat and rotary cutter; and clearing space to lay it all out and cut. It is important I prepare spiritually for each day; I have the right tools, I just need to use them.
Quilting requires attention to detail and precision. I must measure twice and cut once…and be careful to cut accurately. I discovered the hard way: one bad cut, even if only a quarter of an inch, can throw the whole pattern off and require a do-over. I need to make sure I am attentive and careful, in both word and deed. If not, I may not be pleased with the results; and I am not guaranteed a do-over.
Quilting does not produce instant results. I tend to rush through the day, eager to complete my to-do list. I need to slow down and enjoy the journey.
Quilting is cumbersome and tedious. Navigating the bulky sandwiched fabric layers through a narrow opening and keeping it aligned under the moving needle is challenging. Sometimes I will endure difficult situations; I may not like the process, but it is necessary to bring about the completed and desired results.
I realize each experience and encounter, each day and season, are the different fabrics of my life, which are lovingly pieced together carefully by the Master Quilter. While the quilt-of-my-life-story is not yet complete, and I may not know how the remnants will fit together, I do know the Lord is designing a treasured masterpiece.