Many years ago I made a quilt for Christopher. I traced and cut out each piece by hand. I carefully wove the needle and thread through the fabric to create a blanket to cover his bed. My dear friend Rebeca bought all the material for it and helped me pick out the fabric. Another friend, Michele, taught all us young girls how to quilt by hand. I missed most of the lessons because I needed to stay home with Christopher, I learned everything second hand. That quilt took me 3 years to complete. I didn’t know what I was doing. I’d make mistake after mistake, get frustrated, and finally put it away. Eventually, I’d drag it out and get on with it. I didn’t know how hard it would be for me to make that quilt. Had I known I wouldn’t have done it. Back then I didn’t do the things I thought would be hard, I did what I knew I could be good at.
That quilt hides away in a box now. It is threadbare and worn by love.
Several years ago I bought fabric to make another quilt, but it wasn’t for anyone in particular. Soon after that, we built a house and moved. Then we added 3 kids to our family. I’ve moved twice since that time. The fabric stayed hidden in a box.
A couple of years ago I decided I’d make pillows for the girls so I used that fabric to make Dusty’s pillow. I’ve since then pieced together a couple of more blocks. It’s been in my head that I’d make a quilt for her out of that fabric, but it’s been in the back of my mind until recently. My friend, Erica, hosted a DIY project day at her home. I started planning the quilt and even cut out pieces for 2 more blocks. (One of them is nearly pieced now.
As I did, something began to change in my heart. It began with a conversation on Facebook. I took a picture of table of contents from Michele’s quilting lessons and posted them on her wall. What happened next warmed my heart. Several of us began commenting on that thread planning a get together for May. We set a date, time, and place. Here’s the thing, as we were commenting my heart began to long to see these women and share some of our lives together at the same time and place. I don’t know the details of all of our lives, but I know we all fight hard battles. We’ve been able to come along side one another at times because of how we can stay connected via facebook. I want to hug everyone, especially the ones I’ve not seen in so long.
My heart is daily being softened. I’ve been feeling it over these last few weeks. I’m not all that happy about it, but I think it’s a good thing. I don’t tend to be a cry-er, but these days my eyes are wet with tears often.
Today was a rough day with one of the kids. It started of being rough with 3 kids, but 2 changed themselves around and were so very pleasant and helpful. The one, though, he had a chip on his shoulder all day. I didn’t want to deal with it. I wanted him to go away, he even asked if he could go somewhere else for the day, but I said no. As I said that I wondered if I had just lit his fuse and should brace for impact. Fortunately, I found a way to maneuver through that; we made it through the day without any huge blow ups.
We even made memories and connected. At least I’d like to think so. Dusty and Ireland stuck pretty close to me today and were helpful without being asked. When I reminded them of one of my expectations there weren’t any arguments or attitudes, for the most part. Dusty has been watching me piece her quilt. I’ve been very intentional about it. I want her to know that I love and value her enough that I am willing to make her a quilt. I worry about her feeling valued. I know there isn’t anything I can do to make her feel anything, her feelings are totally up to her.
I’ve also prepared myself to face the fact that she may never appreciate the quilt. As I was thinking about that, I realized that Jesus still died for us knowing that many of us wouldn’t appreciate it. I don’t mean just the unbelievers, but the believers, too. I’m talking about me, too. He died for me so that I could have relationship with the Father, yet sometimes I choose to sin. I choose to fill my emptiness with something other than Him. And you know what? Recognizing that has actually softened my heart more toward Dusty.
So, today I sat on my office floor sewing. She comes in to watch and says, “I’m so excited” and my heart sang. We spent much of our day like this. Me sewing, her coloring or doing something else. I’d look up and she’d be looking at how it’s all coming together and I wonder what she thinks.
I would pray for her, “Lord, as she wanders through life with this quilt, let her know she is loved with an everlasting love and underneath are Your everlasting arms. When she covers up, let her feel Your love for her. She is a gem.” My eyes would fill with tears as I imagine the life she may live and the loneliness I know she feels.
Then I would look at my quilt and think, “Oh my word, look at those corners. They are not perfectly aligned. What? How is this piece longer than that piece, are you serious?!? I can’t do this. I don’t even know how big to measure the batting and the backing. I don’t know what I’m doing.” My eyes would fill with tears and I’d take a breath.
This is life. It doesn’t all line up. I am doing this for love, not for an award. It doesn’t need to be perfect. It’s ok that I don’ t know what I’m doing because I have friends who will walk me through it when I need them to. I’m not alone.
I look at this girl and remember how much I love her. How much we’ve been through together and maybe one day we’ll be best friends. She’s going to be amazing. I wrote about her a few years ago. Things were breaking in a terrible and scary way. We have made our way out of that dark place. I think the moment I realized we were indeed in a dark place was the moment light began to shine. You can read about that in a post titled, Mothering.