Grandma’s Quilt

Grandma’s Quilt

gma quilt

My Great Grandmother was a simple woman. She loved God before all else and it was evident in every part of her life. She was strong and gentle, firm and compassionate, beautiful and modest, wise and humble. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother before she passed away. There were so many things learned from her by the women in my family. If there was a woman of this century who fit the Bible’s example of a “virtuous woman” it was she.  

When she passed away, she didn’t look around at the vast amounts of riches or glory she’d gained, there was no thriving empire to look out over and see what great things she’d built in her long life. Instead, she laid peaceful in a bed, surrounded by all her children, all her grandchildren, most of her great grandchildren and even some of her great-great grandchildren. She listened to their voices, singing songs that she’d taught them, stories that she’d told them or been a part of.  Some had her hair, some her eyes, some her strong chin, her soft complexion. She was able to look around her before she took her last breaths, see the faces, hear the voices, the love, the laughter, the sorrow and understanding and know that this was what she built, what she gave, the empire she left to last lifetimes survived her in the generations that sat around her and would continue to carry on with out her.

 She didn’t just pass down knowledge of recipes, sewing, gardening, mothering and keeping house, the way she lived her life, loved her family and loved the Lord were the greatest treasures she passed down.

 She made a quilt for every baby born in our family and I imagine, babies born in other families too. One memory that stands out when I couldn’t have been older than four. She sat with a pile of material beside her, old dresses, aprons, table cloths and scraps. Humming a sweet hymn, she took out a piece at a time, cutting away the threads that held together whatever pattern it was before. An apron, faded and worn out quickly turned into a pile of rags, frayed along the edges, no longer held together by string. I glanced up when she came to a dress I recognized, a dress I’d worn more times than it could handle. Too small, too worn, it was no use to give or sell, she quickly set to undoing the stitches, cutting away at the pattern that made it mine. “Grandma!” I must have shouted, girl’s tears easily filled my eyes. I can’t remember my words, but the intent could never be forgotten. How could you ruin my dress? She was so calm, so gentle, so easy with words. She paused only for a moment to smile at me and smooth away invisible wrinkles in the dress.

This dress is too small and is worn in places that can’t be patched or fixed. It’s useless anymore as a dress, but watch and see.” She shook it out and went back to cutting, her nimble hands working quickly as she continued. “It’s exactly the color and pattern I need to make something new.”

I don’t remember if I accepted what she said or simply understood that I couldn’t wear it anymore but she continued cutting away, stripping away the shape and fittings in one pile, leaving a heap of what I saw as ruined dresses, aprons and clothing in another. Eventually she cut them all into squares, strips and shapes though I’m sure I didn’t sit there long enough to see it. One day she’d finished, holding up a beautiful quilt and I could see my favorite dress, the pretty color and pattern in fitted shapes with an apron, a tablecloth, an old shirt. These were things we’d worn out, used up, couldn’t give away or sell. Rather than throwing them away, she turned them into something beautiful, useful, something that would last longer than a size 3 dress or a button up shirt with holes.

Sometimes I sit, one of my grandma’s quilts wrapped around my legs and remember that day. I knew I couldn’t wear that dress anymore, I knew it was ruined and no longer useful and fought with her when she shredded it but she knew that she could tear away all the bad and make it into something better. As I smooth away the wrinkles, I see an old apron or tablecloth, a dress she often wore and remember her nimble hands, working magic over something “throw-away,” turning it into something treasured.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,

to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

God works that same “magic” in our lives if we trust Him to do so. It might feel sometimes like our lives are being ripped and torn, shredded into pieces and we can’t see passed what it used to be, what we wanted it to be to see what it is, something ruined, no longer useful, not pleasing or serving to the Lord. If we give it up to Him, let him use His nimble hands, He will turn it into something new, something beautiful, something better and long lasting. Like the quilt that covers my lap, whatever He makes will be cherished and we’ll see Him turn the fabric of our past into something unimaginable, something so much better, something according to His purpose.

quilt

Love is Patient

Love is Patient, Love is Kind

They say every pregnancy is different and Lord knows, being pregnant with number two after seven years, this one was definitely different.

With the first I felt beautiful and full of energy, waddle or not, I loved every moment I was pregnant. I was full of love, hope and anxious to be a mommy. This time… let’s just remember the SEVEN years in between.  Seven years to learn exactly what I was getting myself into.  Seven years to know what to expect without having to read about it.  

By seven, my son was waaaaay passed the -needing my constant attention- phase. I could actually go to the bathroom with out getting interrupted… AT ALL!! My free time consisted of hours in the day, not just minutes. By seven, he was self-sufficient and I was raising him, not just sustaining his life. 

By seven months pregnant, I was heavy, achy and had trouble fitting my huge belly behind the steering wheel and be close enough to reach the pedals.  I had to turn sideways to do the dishes or to stand at the stove and stir a pot. The grocery store became the worst imaginable ordeal, bending, lifting, twisting, reaching only to repeat it all loading up at the check out and at one particular store, you bag you’re own groceries only to repeat the process three more times loading everything into the car, out of the car and then into all their proper places at home.

Needless to say, after a trip to the grocery store, I was tired and my feet hurt, just looking at them made me cry.

heart phone

When my husband called, I couldn’t help but complain about how I waddled through the store, having to twist and turn and ask for help reaching the top shelf. I was feeling sorry for myself, awkward, fat, swollen and embarrassed. I knew that I shouldn’t waste the precious time I had with him when he was working so far away but I couldn’t seem to help it. I knew he might quickly find reason to hang up or just be quiet and let me go on or even worse, tell me what a bad day he had and then I’d really feel terrible.  He surprised me, instead.

My big, strong, former Marine now Roughneck husband who was probably a little sweaty, a little covered in mud and exhausted from a long day’s work on an oil rig somewhere out in the hot middle of Texas, said simply, “aww, cute.”  It was so unexpected it caught me off guard and I was grinning like a weirdo, mid sentence.  Here I was, describing the most awkward and uncomfortable time of my life and my husband just imagined how cute I was, my big ‘ol belly in front of me, waddling around the store. That’s Love, patient and kind. 

love-is-patient

Knowing God’s Word

Knowing God’s Word

Holy Bible

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

The Bible is inspired by God to teach us and correct us about righteousness so the we can live the life God has planned for us. If we aren’t familiar with the teachings of God’s word, how can we be sure that we are following them? And more importantly, how can we teach them to our children?

 2_timothy_3_16

If you’re new to the knowledge of God and His word, the bible is a great resource for questions and excitement you might have about your purpose. It’s full of fascinating stories and laws specifically laid out for us to live by. God tells us many times throughout the bible how important it is to KNOW His words, to know the laws He’s laid down so that we may live our lives according to His will.

 Be inspired by God! Learn, teach and fall in love with the stories in the letters that He’s left for us. Find yourself imagining what your life would be like in another time or place; find yourself relating to situations that were written for you to learn from and live by. Be reminded of the love and faith throughout the Word and renewed in the Spirit that dwells within it’s pages.

Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

Hungry for God

Never Worry

We all have worries sometimes but I was reminded when reading in Matthew that Jesus said in Chapter 6:25 “..do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on… Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not more value than they?”

Do not worry but put your faith in God and in His love for you and your family, trusting that He knows more of what you need than you do.

“Be still and know that I am God…”  Psalm 46:10 

One of my favorite verses, in fact the picture above is of my living room wall.  Every time I find a minute to sit down in there, the feeling of peace slides over me.  I’m not sure if it’s just the verse or the gentle way the birds are laid out around it (thanks to my husband who wouldn’t let his pregnant wife climb up on anything).  Either way, the sentiment is calming, reassuring and warm.  I thought I might share the verse in context with it’s chapter in Psalms, though it raises a little more excitement and energy then the segment by itself.

Psalm 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear, even though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though it’s waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with its swelling.  4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the most High.  5  God is in the midst of her, she shall not dawn.  6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved.  He uttered His voice, the earth melted.  7 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. 8 Come behold the works of the Lord, who has made desolations in the earth.  9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two.  He burns the chariot in the fire.  10 Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Where Two or Three are Gathered

Where two or three are Gathered

paper-church

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

Whether you’re facing hardships, good fortune or it’s just like any other day, there’s no better time to get together with friends. In the hustle and bustle of our lives, we get stuck in routines and forget to find time for our social life. Get together with the girls for lunch or an evening over dinner and desert, even if you have to cart all the kids, taking turns to keep them all in line.

guard your tongue

Of course, there’s always the chance that a night with the girls will bring out all the latest gossip and complaints, but attempt to keep your thoughts and words in a God honoring way and you’ll renew your strength and peace for the coming week, wondering why you hadn’t done it sooner and more often.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

holding hands

Talk, comfort and strengthen each other. If for no other reason, remember that your friends may need you more than you admit that you need them. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” What better way to do that than to fellowship regularly with other women and mothers who understand you in a way only a friend can?

The Wind Blows Where It Wishes

The Wind Blows Where It Wishes

Wind Blows

Faith and understanding are easy to talk about but not always so easy to accept. There are just some things we won’t understand, some people, some events and most certainly some behavior. For all of these things, we have to find a way to let go and move on, trusting that God is there to show us the way.

The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

God directs his steps 2

Jesus quickly addressed our need to hold on to that tangible reasoning we often cling to in order to understand things.Do not marvel that I said to youThe wind blows where it wishes…” There will be things you simply cannot control. “… you hear the sound of it but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes…” You know it’s there but that’s about it. It can be frustrating to get only part of the picture, but Jesus goes on to say, “… so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

A man’s heart plans his way but the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9”

Let-Go-Let-God

The Spirit moves through us in whatever way God has planned, we might not always understand where it comes from or where it’s taking us but our faith and understanding in God’s love for us let’s us “let go and let God,” knowing that whatever it is He asks of us, we are held by the Holy Spirit and never safer than in His arms.

Praise & Worship

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord!” Psalm 150:6

Sometimes, between our busy lives and enormous piles of responsibility, we don’t have a lot left over… AND very few things ease that burden but there’s something in a song that can make us all forget, even if for just a moment or two.  Forget whatever worry was nestled deep in the crease of our brow, the itch in the palm of our hands.  Music can take us to a place we remember or a place we’ve never been, it’s no wonder God has shown us how powerful music is!  “….Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! – Psalm 150:6″  

Take a moment sometime to listen to whatever is around you, rustling leaves, chirping birds, scratching animals and whatever the breeze stirs.  Music, is something we couldn’t go with out even if we tried to.  It’s all around us and no wonder God asks that we use it to Praise Him!  One of the simplest but most powerful forces on Earth is music and it’s something easy enough to hold in the palm of your hand or strong enough sometimes your arms can’t contain it.

Through out the Bible, we’re told time and again to lift our voices, our God given voices to praise His name.  It’s not new and it certainly is easier than any other way to serve Him.  So remember when you have a song in your head, when it’s one that praises the heavens, worships His holy name, sing it.  Sing it for yourself, sing it for your children and sing it for your God.

HE REIGNS by Newsboys is one of my FAVORITE songs that I can’t even help but belt out the chorus!  I love the whole song but by the last verse I am overwhelmed by the song, the rhythm, the music, the drums and the voices all together singing these words…
“And all the powers of darkness
Tremble at what they’ve just heard
‘Cause all the powers of darkness
Can’t drown out a single word
When all God’s children sing out
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns
All God’s people singing
Glory, glory, hallelujah
He reigns, He reigns”

“My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed.” – Psalm 71:23