I could barely sew a straight seam! But I was determined to craft a queen-sized quilt, and create something beautiful. Sewing the pieces together sounded easy in theory… then reality came knocking. A lot like life, huh? After about 149 long hours of ripping seams, I realized this was going to be more difficult than I had imagined.
That quilt was a lot like my life. Maybe a lot like your life, too? Stop and start. One step ahead and two steps back. Sewing a seam, and then ripping it out to begin again. Getting back to sewing. Hoping, praying that all the seam ripping would turn into something beautiful, something lasting. Something my children could pass on to their children. Just like the process of making a life, creating a legacy.
A precious heirloom in my family are my great-grandmother’s hand-pieced quilts. Being someone who made it through the Great Depression, she saved everything. Scraps of cotton material were cut up into small squares and put into her abundant scrap basket. Sitting and listening to the Cleveland Indians on the radio (she knew every player and all the stats!), she pieced the squares by hand. Those faded, handmade quilts are precious possessions to my family. Yes, they’re antique, but the value lays in the workmanship. Her work-worn hands holding needle and thread, piecing the colorful fabrics. Her quilts are not only works of art, but works of love.
In the piecing of own my life, I started out as a daughter, a sister, a friend. I viewed myself as a sweetheart, kind and caring! (Pride comes before a fall, am I right?) But selfishness reared its ugly head, and I wounded with words. Hurt with failed promises and spilled secrets. I had to admit my failing, ask for forgiveness. Being humbled and held accountable sure didn’t feel all that good! Yet it was character building. I painfully ripped out seams of my selfishness and sewed, one stitch at a time, more generosity, goodness and kindness into the fabric of my life.
Soon, I was 21 years old and a starry eyed bride. I was going to do it all just right! I was going to be the embodiment of that Proverbs 31 woman in all her glory and greatness! But visions of my perfection detonated into a mushroom cloud. Ripped that seam out. Got back up, wiped off my muddy knees, and tried again. At these things called Unconditional Love, Respect and Grace. Sat back down at the sewing machine of life. Stitching joy, friendship, selflessness and giving.
Then the baby comes and I was going to be that amazing Pinterest-perfect Christian mom! Splat! Flat on my face before you could say “Peekaboo.” Here I go ripping seams again. Then I put on my big girl boots and tried again at this mom thing. Sewing I-love-you-right-where-you-are seams. A few more I’ll-turn-from-the-screen and-look-you-in-the-eye seams. Countless I’ll-be-the-calm-in-the-crazy seams.
Seam by seam, sewing and ripping and resewing, one stitch at a time, we are all piecing a life. A legacy that will last beyond this lifetime. Only God can give us the strength to keep sewing love, grace, forgiveness, availability, vulnerability, into this quilt of our lives. And to help us be brave enough to rip out our sinful habits and keep pressing on. Never giving up.
Life is like making a quilt. Perfection is not attainable on this side of heaven. There are seams not quite straight, a little fraying here and there from the wear and tear of life. But it’s a masterpiece nonetheless. Worth the time and the effort, tears and joy and it all. Keep sewing, friend. With His help, it will be a thing of lasting beauty.
Have you experienced times when you wanted to give up? Sewn something beautiful into your life?
Please share in the comments below.