The Quilt


Many years ago a young woman started a quilt for the baby she was expecting. It started with one small square, two inches on each side. Diligently she added one square at a time, each hand stitched to the next. However, when the baby girl arrived, life got overwhelming and she put the quilt aside for a while. Soon the weeks turned into months, and then years. There were more babies and times were hard.

Occasionally, she picked up the quilt and added a row or two, using scraps from the dresses she made for herself and her daughters. The years went by, the woman was no longer young, and the baby girl was an adult with her own children and difficult circumstances… still the quilt remained unfinished. Now the squares she added came from scraps from dresses her daughter made for her daughter.

The quilt had become a delightful story telling of changing fabric patterns through the years. There were soft pastels, bright primary colors, small flowers and geometric patterns.

As you may have guessed, I was the baby and the quilt was intended for me. When my mother passed away, the quilt top was finished, but the backing, border, and quilting were not yet done. My sister asked someone she knew to finish it, but this “expert quilter” informed us that it was too uneven for her to do anything with.

Overwhelmed with the task of going through my parents’ things and taking care of my own family, I told my sister and brother to just throw the quilt away. Over the next few years I thought of the quilt once in a while, and wished I had kept it, but eventually, I forgot about it.

Then, one day my brother came to visit, carrying a large black garbage bag. He opened the bag and pulled out the quilt. It now had a beautiful blue backing and border, and was hand quilted around every square. His wife had helped with the backing and border, but his mother-in-law, an elderly woman paralyzed from the mid-chest down, had done every stitch of the quilting.

The quilt is very precious to me and now hangs on a rack in my den. As I look at it, I am reminded of my mother’s love, but I am also struck by the way it speaks of God’s love for me and His work in my life.

I remember that God saved me, but his work in my life did not stop there. Just as my mother continued to work on the quilt, He will work on me until the day that I am “complete.”

I remember that He uses all the imperfect bits and pieces of my life to create a thing of beauty. Nothing is too messed up for Him to use. Every stitch is important and when He finishes, it will be beautiful.

I remember that He uses me, and other broken imperfect people, to help accomplish His plan.

I remember that while I made a hasty decision to throw the quilt away, God will never throw me away. He is the God of second changes.

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Philippians 1:6