Category Archives: Quilting

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Down to the Small Details

I am having such a good time making quilts! Yesterday I finished piecing the top for a new one. I’ve ordered backing fabric and am thinking about how to quilt it while I wait for the delivery. The most enjoyable thing about quilting is that God actually speaks to me about it. He gives me patterns, even tells me how to construct them. Sometimes the idea for a quilt comes in a dream and other times it just comes to me. Then He guides me through the construction process, down to the last detail of colors, piecing, quilting, and binding. His guidance is not dramatic, not sensational or emotional — no trumpet fanfares or flashes of lightening. It is everyday casual, but it is God. That is a revelation in itself.

This morning I was reading in Exodus about the building of the Tabernacle in the wilderness. The instructions God gave to Moses were very specific and detailed, right down to the colors and patterns and materials to be used. I have always assumed that the tabernacle, and later the Temple in Jerusalem, were sacred places and that was why God spoke in such extraordinary detail about their construction.

Then I read about the priests that ministered in the tabernacle. They had extraordinary costumes to wear. God gave complicated and detailed instruction about those garments, right down to the underwear. I always figured those priests were special, holy people picked by God to minister to and for Him and that’s why He gave such detailed guidance for their clothing.

But consisder this: the New Testament tells us that every believer in Jesus Christ is a priest. Peter calls us “a royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:9).  He says we are “living stones” being “built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood” and are to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:5). Our sacrifices as believers are not the slain animals of the Old Testament but a continual “sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15). If God intimately guided the building of the tabernacle tent in the desert and if he gave detailed instructions concerning the brick and mortar temple in Jerusalem, shall He not also intimately guide us today in the building of His new temple, the Church of Jesus Christ? Is not the spiritual service of worship we are called to today at least as important as the sacrifices offered by those early priests?

I have not expected enough of God and he has come crashing into my low expectations by involving Himself in my making of quilts. There is precedent for this kind of guidance in the building of the Old Testament places of worship, but I would never have thought of myself as one of those special, holy priests except that God says I am oneBecause I am a priest of the Most High God, whatever I put my hands to matters. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ then you are a priest too and whatever you put your hands to matters.

God wants to be involved intimately and down to the fine details in everything I do. Whether I am making a quilt, cooking a meal, or working in an office, everything I do should be inspired by the Holy Spirit and bring glory to God. I can expect Him to guide me every step of the way, not just in the crises of my life or in those “mountain top” experiences of worship. He is an everyday, all the time God. He is teaching me to look for Him in the small details. I pray He will help all of us to look for and practice His Presence, to listen for His voice that is intimate and practical right down to our fingertips.

 

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Product and Process

Though God certainly has a plan that ultimately leads to the complete fulfillment of his purposes, the working out of that plan in the daily lives of His people reveals that He is just as interested in the process as He is in the end product. After all, it is in the process of life that our characters are forged and our relationship with Jesus is established.

I tend to be a goal-oriented person. When I make a quilt, for instance, I am so eager to get the thing finished that I have been known to skimp and hurry through the process. I learned early however that failure to pay attention to the details of the process creates an end product that I cannot be proud of! So I have been learning the patience of not getting in a hurry to finish but taking time to do it right — and God has given me a friend to teach me.

Rae is just the opposite of me in her natural focus. She enjoys the process. She is careful and precise with her cutting. Her seams are a persnickety 1/4 inch. Her intersections and points are exact. When she has to sew across a diagonal she doesn’t just wing it, she takes time to draw the seam line with pencil and ruler. And guess what! Her final product is always exquisite!

Recently, Rae and Bobbie (another friend), and I made a quilt together. Rae picked out the pattern IMG_1634(Pause and reflect on that!). Rae did most of the piecing while Bobbie and I learned a lot from watching her. In fact, watching her and seeing her end product has changed the way I make quilts. I have seen that Rae pieces a quilt the way GodIMG_1564 forges my character: He is not in a hurry and He is meticulous about the   small details!

In Matthew 14:22-34, Jesus commands his disciples to get in the boat and row to the other side. He has just fed a crowd of over 5,000 from 5 little loaves and 2 fish. The disciples were tired from serving that miraculous meal to all those people, so Jesus sends them ahead to the other side of the lake while he stays to disburse the crowd. As evening comes, a strong wind springs up on the lake and the disciples had to strain to row Jesus walking alone on wateragainst the wind. They strain and strain until about 4 in the morning —will they never get there? — when they look up and see Jesus walking toward them on the water! They can’t believe their eyes! It must be a ghost! But Jesus speaks to them and their fear is calmed. It really is Jesus and He really is walking on  the water! Bold Peter wants to walk on the water too, and — what a miracle!— Jesus enables him to do it! Peter’s sudden doubt causes him to sink, but HE WALKED ON WATER even if only a few steps. And Jesus was right there to lift him out of the water when he fell.

Did Jesus want them to get to the other side? Oh yes! Jesus had a plan that we see worked out as we read on in the book. But the process of getting to the other side was not wasted on the disciples either. On the journey, they experienced difficulty that tested their strength and endurance, and they saw that Jesus had supernatural power to overcome what their human strength could not. Not only that but Jesus demonstrated through Peter that the disciples had access to that same supernatural power in their own lives! In addition, Jesus was there to rescue them when they didn’t do things just right. When the disciples got to the other side of the lake they were changed. Their faith and vision had increased dramatically.

God is not intimidated by the many things in my soul that need to change. He knows that His power is greater than all my sin. He is not impatient with my desire to compromise and my fondness for denial. He cuts and trims with precision and thoroughness and He connects the pieces of the quilt of our lives with exactitude. He is faithful to omit or overlook nothing, and He never wastes anything! His plan for my life involves daily (and long-term) processes that test my strength and my faith, but it is in the process that my trust in Him becomes strong. “Be patient and trust Me in this process,” He tells me. “The end product I have planned is eternal.”walk on water