Sunday, May 15, 2005

a quilt and the providence of God

I mentioned my grandma a few weeks ago and told the story of eating fried chicken at her house. Today there is more to tell.

She was an amazing woman, my grandma. Born in Missouri in 1897, at the age of 16 she traveled to a tiny little place in the middle of Illinois called "Uniontown" to become a hired girl for the Tasker family. Each morning she would get up with Mrs. Tasker and together they would fry bacon and eggs, peel and boil potatoes, stir up and roll out biscuits, and bake a half dozen or so pies. While the Tasker men were busy milking cows, shoveling out the barn, and watering the livestock, my grandmother was preparing breakfast, dinner, and supper for not only the men who lived in the household but for the farmhands who would be there for the day.

Once the men were fed, the kitchen was cleaned up for the morning, and the wash was run through the ringer washer and hung to dry, Mrs. Tasker would sit my grandmother down and teach her how to sew and mend the clothing. Overalls were worn until there was nothing left but seams and pockets so there was a never-ending parade of clothes to sort through and repair. All-cotton shirts and dresses were sprinkled and ironed and the womenfolk had to wear a fresh apron each day, a habit my grandmother kept even past her "in the kitchen" days.

On Sundays, my grandmother went along with the Tasker family to the Uniontown Baptist Church. As one of the Tasker boys rang the old bell, calling all of the community into worship, my grandmother was preparing for the two most important events of her life.

My grandmother had not come from a Christian home. She had not known of the wonderful story of creation, where an intimate, Creator had, from the dust of the ground, made man and woman in His own image. She had not heard the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of mankind into sin. She had not been told of the most miraculous event of all human history, of God becoming man in the flesh through His son, Jesus, so that man might be redeemed and restored to a right relationship with his Creator. These were marvelous truths to my grandmother and by God's grace, she trusted Jesus Christ as her Savior and Lord.

God's sovereign plan for her life was revealed as she faithfully attended church every week and also went to prayer meetings and Bible studies. During this time, she met a dashing young man, five years her senior, and after a sweet time of courtship, they were married. Over the years they were blessed with three sons, 9 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and, to this date, 6 great-great grandchildren! God's plan for the life of one hired girl was not so unusual but also not ordinary.

As I was growing up, every time I visited my grandmother, one of my greatest delights was seeing the latest quilt in the quilting frame in her front parlor. She belonged to a group called the "Busy Stitchers" and each month they would travel to one member's home and have a quilting bee. I was intrigued by the beauty of these quilts, these works of art that were at the same time so random and yet so intricate. Looking closely, you could see the variation in stitches, as each woman had her own touch, her own signature upon those quilts.

One day, when I was 18, my grandmother asked me if I would like to see all the quilts she had made through the years. With much anticipation I watched as she pulled out one glorious quilt after another from her cedar chest. I gasped with delight as each one was tenderly unfolded, each more incredible than the previous. There was a Lone Star, Embroidered Daisy, Nine Patch, Ribbon, oh, too many to name!

When the last one had been presented, she asked me which one I would like to have one day. Without hesitation, I chose the appliqu├ęd flower pattern. Each block was pieced together with a tiny rosebud print and a scalloped edge finished off the blanket on all four sides. It was exquisite! Excitedly turning it over, my grandmother proudly showed me my own name already embroidered on the back in her handwriting! Of all the 20 or so quilts, she knew which one I would want!

On my wedding day, she presented me with this wonderful family treasure and one day I will give it to one of my grandchildren. Because my grandmother knew me intimately, she knew what would delight me.

And so it is with God. We serve a powerful Creator who has a plan for each of His own, a plan He has had since before He ever made the world. Like my name embroidered on this beautiful quilt, God's mark is already on each of His chosen children. To think, my own name written on the palm of His hands, even before creation! In Ephesians 1: 3-4 we have this wonderful assurance:

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before him in love."


But God is also like those Busy Stitcher's who took old, worn, torn bits of fabric from a scrap bag and turned them into awesome works of art. Though sin has ravaged creation and though each of us, even those who are believers, are sinners, God takes the broken pieces of our lives and makes us a new creation, a glorious work that, by His grace, will be used for His glory. His redemption of us is not only for our future life in heaven but is also for today. He has redeemed every aspect of our lives so that we may live for His glory alone.

What an awesome God we serve!

2 Comments:

At 9:45 PM, Anonymous Dawn said...

what a beautiful memory and message to share!

thankyou! :)

 
At 11:46 AM, Blogger prairie girl said...

Dawn,

It is a wonderful memory and one I have shared often to talk about God's sovereign plan for each of us who are believers.

Thanks for stopping by.

 

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