Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
My Grandma recently gave me a scrap quilt–it’s a beautiful patchwork creation, filled with a variety of colors and patterns; little rectangles she cut from other fabrics used in previous quilting projects. There’s a flowery square from a garden quilt, a basketball square from a sports quilt, and just about anything else you can think of.
Some of these patches really connect with me–the pretty purple piece reminds me of my favorite flowers; the hyacinths that pop up around my campus and in my garden around Easter when everything is fresh and new and promising.
Some of the other squares don’t make sense to me, like the basketball fabric; besides adoring Steph Curry and his beautiful family (#relationshipgoals #familygoals), I don’t really follow basketball, and I don’t really understand why it’s a part of my quilt.
My grandma began to explain the process and purpose of the quilt as we unfolded it. “This is a scrap quilt; it means I took bits and pieces of fabric from many other projects, and I hand-sewed them together to create something completely new–this quilt, for you.” I thanked my grandma, gave her a big hug, and proceeded to study the quilt.
I thought about some of the other quilts I had seen her make before; quilts where colors were coordinated and themes were chosen. I ran my hand over the patches, and I imagined what it would be like if every rectangle looked like the pretty purple fabric I enjoyed so much…if there were no basketballs or cowboys or dinosaurs.
Just weeks later, this quilt became a striking analogy for my faith journey. It was 2AM, and I sat on my bed, staring at my quilt with tired eyes, until all the colors blurred together, a lot like my thoughts. I felt like there were so many different parts of my life that I didn’t understand how God could use–areas that didn’t make sense.
I’m typically a person who has peace of mind, not easily rocked, and content to go with the flow, walking by faith. However, tonight, things seemed different. When I prayed for God to direct my path, I felt pulled toward various routes that seemed incongruent, and I was afraid of failing–of missing my vocation or the people I should invest in.
My mind spun like a hamster wheel, and I wanted a game plan. In moments like this, I usually read back on former diary entries to remind myself of ways God has been faithful in the past; times that once felt scary, but now illuminate evidence of His presence, because I can see the way He faithfully connected a variety of confusing experiences to transform my faith. After I paged through a few journals, I paused, waiting for God to speak.
Waiting for God to speak is hard; though I’m a pretty patient person, I’m quite restless, and sitting still with a quiet mind is nearly impossible when your thought process typically mirrors a glitter factory being hit by a tornado.
However, I believe that God, being as good as He is, communicates with all of His children in slightly different ways. For me, it has always been through stories and analogies. As someone who is quite often distracted, I tend to notice little things around me that often go overlooked, and from them, an analogy is quite often born–one that helps me better understand Who God is, and what He is doing in my life.
As I reflected on my diary entries, I ran my hand over the quilt, gingerly touching the white threads holding the crazy, colorful collage together. Suddenly, something clicked. Though there were pieces of my life I didn’t particularly like or understand, things that did not seem to fit (much like the basketball/dinosaur/cowboy rectangles), every moment of my life is being faithfully hand-stitched by God, into a beautiful story of grace and transformation.
We can’t always understand how patches of our lives will be used to create a story that makes sense, but that’s the beautiful adventure we experience in Christ. Sometimes we don’t understand get God is up to–why He is calling us to move in directions that don’t make sense, but later on, as we see the quilt unfold, we can look back and notice the way His faithfulness was present all along, stitching together instances that once seemed impossible to transform our chaos into art.
Do not fear a patch of fabric that you currently do not understand. Sometimes God calls us to move before we find a home, to love when our hearts are broken, or to give when our pockets feel empty. We won’t always understand what God is up to, and this requires a great deal of faith, prompting us to trust in Him rather than relying on our own logic.
We can plot the perfect diagram to the most cohesive, color-coordinated quilt, but it will never have the love, the story, and the character of a quilt stitched by God’s faithfulness.
Have peace knowing that He use His hands to connect every scrap of our lives in a way that far surpasses our own expectations and understanding. Have faith in the stitches, and in the knowledge that others will see evidence of His thread laced through your life, and look to the Creator.