Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tattered Patches

When I was a much younger woman, my Mamaw (that's southern for Grandmother, in case you are not from around here)   anyway... Mamaw decided to make quilts for her grandchildren.

She asked each of us what type of quilt we would like.    I thought about it for a while.   She had made  'dutch doll' quilts and "wedding ring" quilts and all kinds of beautiful quilts in her lifetime.    I had a 'dutch doll' quilt when I was a small child and I loved it.   I could have asked for any design.

But, I decided I wanted a simple patchwork quilt.   No specific design.   No fancy stitchwork.    Just a plain jane patchwork quilt.

She was a bit surprised, but said "okay".    

I gathered up fabric that was left over from dresses and outfits that my mother had sewn for my sisters and myself.   I had even more fabric from my grandmother's left overs.     I cut them all into 4 inch squares and delivered them to her.    All of the squares were from double knit fabric.   If you don't know what double knit is, you obviously are much younger than me.   I am NOT going to reveal the top secret information that is my current age.  You figure it out.     If you do remember double knit, then you already know that this stuff is indestructible.  

Mamaw and my mother and my aunts worked on these quilts for every one.    They worked on my quilt.  The squares were stitched together.   My patchwork quilt was created for me with love.

I absolutely loved my new quilt!   Not only because it was beautiful to me, but because it came from my Mamaw's own hands along with those of my Mom and Aunts.   Also, each patch reminded me of a dress that one of us had worn and I could even remember some of  the occasions on which they were worn.   

It was a gift.  One I specifically asked for.

Over the years, my patchwork quilt got a work out.   It was used all the time.   Cover up on the couch, spread on the bed, picnic blanket, football games, you name it.   It was my 'go to' quilt for all occasions.      My Mamaw is in Heaven with Jesus now, but she is remembered with much love; especially every time I wrapped up in my quilt.

Washed and dried over and over and over, my wonderful quilt eventually began to wear.   The patches didn't rot or grow thin like most fabric would.   Remember... it's double knit?    But the stitches began to loosen and the fabric backing on the quilt grew thin and worn.

Eventually my lovely quilt was in tatters.  It had come apart at the seams and patches were hanging by old and worn threads.

Sadly, I folded it for the last time and put it in my linen closet to be used no more.

That was several years ago.

Last year (2011), my Mom and I were talking about the coming Christmas.   It was only January, but I was going to be gone out of the country for a while and we were discussing whether or not I would be home for Christmas.    She asked me what I would like for Christmas that year.  

For some reason, my quilt came to mind.    I showed her the tattered rags of the quilt and asked her if she thought it could be repaired?    She said she would try and I told her that all I wanted for Christmas was for my quilt to be repaired and restored.    So she took it home with her.

Over the next few months, I totally forgot about that conversation and Christmas wish.

But while I was gone, my Mother and her wonderful sisters went to work.    They put my quilt back together and found yet another piece of double knit fabric that was large enough to become the new backing for it.

At Christmas that year, after all the presents were unwrapped and all the oooohhhsss and aaaahhhhhs over gifts were done... After all the torn gift wrap and bows were bagged up and the house became a little more quiet, Mom said.. "hold on a minute.   I have one more thing here."  And she brought out a gift bag and gave it to me.  

I was puzzled.   Why was there a special gift for me?  My Christmas request earlier that year was completely forgotten.  (That's one perk of getting older, I guess.  If you want to call it a perk.)

In that Christmas gift bag, all wrapped in colorful tissue paper, lay my quilt.    My wonderful and amazing patch work quilt made from my Mamaw's loving hands and my Mom's and Aunts' also!

I was blown away!    Tears came to my eyes as I examined my restored and remade quilt!   It was so beautiful and so absolutely incredible to me that it was made like new and useable again.    I wrapped up in it immediately and stayed wrapped up in it for the remainder of the day!

Once again, my patchwork quilt is used almost daily.    Snuggled up on the couch, thrown on the bed, as a pallet in the floor for the grandkids. 

It is so amazing to me that something that was once so useful and treasured could be restored and made useful and beautiful again.

Having my quilt back in tip top condition  made me think of how sometimes, as Christians, we feel like we have been used up.  Life has thrown us some curves.   Death.. divorce... financial problems... whatever.   All our resources and energy and 'want to' seem to have vanished into thin air and we feel like we are put on a shelf.  Unuseable.

But just like my quilt was restored and made new, God has a way for us to be restored and made new in Him.    He wraps Himself around us and comforts us and  stitches back the broken places and mends our torn and tattered hearts and spirits.   He patches us up and makes us new and beautiful and useable once again.  

Thank you Mom for restoring my beautiful patchwork quilt.   I will treasure it forever.

Thank You LORD for saving me and restoring my heart and my life. 


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