The gift of the quilt on our wedding day.
My grandmother was an amazing woman. Born in Missouri in 1897, at the age of 16 she traveled to a tiny little place in the middle of the Illinois prairie 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, caring for livestock, and walking behind a plow, my grandmother was preparing meals 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 wringer washer and hung out 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 almost 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 boys rang the old bell, calling all of the community into worship, she was preparing for the two most important events of her life. My grandmother had not come from a Christian home. 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. While there, 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, nine grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and, to this date, 20 great-great-grandchildren! God’s plan for the life of this one hired girl was not so unusual, but also not so ordinary.
As I was growing up, whenever I visited my grandmother, one of my greatest delights was seeing the latest quilt in the old walnut 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 for rich homemade desserts and a quilting bee. The beauty of these quilts, these works of art that were at the same time so random and yet so intricate, intrigued me. Looking closely, you could see the variation in stitches, as each woman had her own lovely and unique touch.
One day, when I was 16, my grandmother asked if I would like to see all the quilts she had made through the years. With much anticipation, I watched as she pulled from her cedar chest one glorious quilt after another. I oohed and aahed as she tenderly unfolded them, one at a time, each more incredible than the last. Proudly, she told me their names: there was a striking red and white Lone Star, a delicately embroidered Sampler, a common but beautiful Nine Patch, and her magnum opus, the Ribbon, made up of thousands of tiny one inch blocks strung together to look like miles of calico ribbons. I was amazed at the hours it had taken to design and sew such masterpieces. I marveled at both her skill and creativity. I smiled when I saw bits and pieces of dresses my mother and I had worn in years past and leftover scraps from many of her own aprons.
When the last one had been brought out, she explained that there was one for each grandchild and each daughter-in-law and she asked which one I would like to have one day. Without hesitation, I chose the Garden Path, an appliqued pattern of brightly colored daisies, all sporting buttery yellow centers and looking amazingly like her own flower garden! Each block was pieced together with a tiny rosebud print, and a scalloped edge finished off the glorious quilt on all four sides. It was exquisite!
Excitedly, my grandmother turned it over. There, in one corner, on the back, was my own name already embroidered in her handwriting! Of all the dozen or more quilts she had lovingly stitched, she knew which one I would want and had chosen it just for me!
As homeschooling moms we get so caught up in the tedium of daily living that we often forget the incredible privilege we have of being called to love and mentor our children. Our hearts are prone to wander away from what really matters in the grand scheme of life. We neglect people and don’t make them a priority over things. We fail to practice the one anothers and daily need to hear the Gospel message of grace. We have past hurts and failures, present struggles and disappointments, and future fears and burdens that make up the scraps of who we are. And yet, God is sovereign and has a plan He crafted for us from before the foundations of the world, choosing us as His own and weaving together something beautiful and unique in each of our lives, in each of our homes.
Isaiah 49:16 tells us this about who God is: “I will not forget you. ’Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.’” Like my name embroidered on my grandma’s beautiful quilt, God has already written not just my name but me on the palm of His hand! He has called me to serve Him and bring glory to Him in the work He has given to me and will provide all I need for the task. Be assured, He is doing the same for you!