My mom made it. She’s never made anything like it before or since. It wasn’t a much-demanded gift for most college students, but I talked her into making it for me and have never regretted the decision to do so.
The fabric choices showcase the evolution of my style – all primary colors, some vintage-inspired prints, a classic floral toile for the backing, and a tacky yellow and John Deere green print that pays homage to my obsession of the moment. What I saw in farm implements is beyond me, but I’m blessed with a family that supports whatever collection I’ve taken up for however long I love it.
I have a distinct memory of the female members of my family working side-by-side to pin it together with these crooked safety pins that are specially made for the task. It was stretched across my aunt’s bed, and we all took a handful of safety pins and went to town. My niece, a toddler at the time, played club bouncer for the room, denying anyone entry if they weren’t female and willing to help.
A quilt in a simple patchwork block pattern.
It’s bigger than a twin size and smaller than a queen-size and fits around me, from neck to toes, perfectly. The weight of it – a thin layer of batting stitched between the topper and backing – is perfect for me. Not too hot. Not too cold. It’s been washed fifty thousand times so the cotton is crinkly and soft.
I have an anxious tendency to rub a plug of the quilt between my index finger and thumb and have mutilated a corner of the quilt in doing so. I’ve wrapped up in it for nearly every night I’ve had it, traveling with it when able and wishing I’d thought to pack it when I’ve left it at home. And, because I sleep in the same position each night, there are spots on my quilt where the fabric is breaking down, causing holes and rips.
Over an extended trip to visit my parents, recently, Mom and I brainstormed ways to fix the damage after stink-eyeing my dad for suggesting we just throw it away and buy a new one. Mom suggested new backing and new binding; ripping out the work she’d done twenty-five years ago and redoing it with new, unworn, fabric. Reconstructing the old to shine like it was new.
But, I was hesitant. That plan didn’t feel right. My quilt, while far from perfect now, just needed some patching. The holes and rips didn’t negate what a great quilt it was. It still kept me warm and comfortable. My corner, the worst of the damaged spots, still calmed my anxiety and helped me sleep each night. The quilt still functioned; it just needed mending.
There are countless stories in the Bible where God took something damaged and, instead of throwing it away with the thought to get a new one, He mended what was broken or torn.
There’s the story of Moses at the burning bush, his stutter and insecurities, the rips and tears of an otherwise strong leader. God mended those rips and tears by binding up Moses’ courage and confidence in the realization that God prepares and blesses all those who are called with the ability to fulfill their calling. God chose to mend a broken man instead of tossing him aside for a more eloquent speaker.
Another story is Rahab whose life’s career involved men, money, and manipulation until God restitched her lineage and reputation to be far more noble and anointed than what her life’s rips and tears called for. God saw past her career and offered her cause. Where she saw disdain, God saw determination, setting Rahab on the path to righteousness for His glory.
And still, there’s the story of Saul who spent the first half of his life stalking and murdering Christians until God stepped in. Instead of bringing death, bringing righteous revenge to someone who had no respect for His creation,, God mended Saul’s heart so that it aligned with what was good and right and sent Saul-turned-Paul back out into the mission field to spread the good news of Jesus.
Our lives, like my quilt and like these examples from Scripture, are almost never pristine and are rarely void of the scars of life decisions that weren’t what God had for us. And, because we often move in the same direction even after having “learned our lesson,” there are often weak and unstable places where the fabric of our lives is deteriorating and in desperate need of His mending skills.
We have purchased some fabric to make patches for my quilt. Mom is going to stitch scraps of fabric wherever a rip or hole threatens the durability of my beloved quilt. She’s already done some work on it and will continue when I make it back home to Texas. We’ve decided against new binding, preferring to patch instead of redoing. Thus, my quilt will continue to be the perfect weight and the perfect size and provide the perfect comfort for me for many years to come. Its life purpose has been extended.
Despite the holes and the rips, the imperfections and flaws, God sees the purpose and function. There is no talk of throwing something valuable away because of a rip or a tear. God just gets out His divine needle and thread.
Aren’t we blessed to worship a God who sees our value and worth, purpose and calling, even amid our rips and tears and holes? While we see broken promises and weak self-discipline, God sees the future and how strong our walk is making us. While we think our sin has stained us forever, deeming our lives worthless to the King, He sees a way to use it to bring others to Him.
There is humility and unspeakable joy when we bring our lives to Him and ask Him to extend our purpose and make beautiful what once was broken.