In our den/computer workshop/craft room (We all have them, don’t we?) sits the makings of my latest work-in-progress. A “rag quilt.” It’s not my first attempt at quilting. I made some “log cabin” quilts for my girls when they were younger. But this method of quilting peaked my creative interest when I first discovered it, a few months ago, on Pinterest.
I’m sure it is nothing “new,” but probably just an old method, revived. No, the quilt is not constructed from rags, although I’m sure it could be made from “leftovers,” and probably was, at its inception. The process involves simply cutting squares of different fabrics of choice, joining each individual square to a square of batting and a backing piece, then stitching them together in rows, followed by stitching the rows together. The unique and exciting thing (at least to me) is that the squares are stitched together with the seams showing on the right, or top side of the quilt. “Ewwww. . .” you might say. I know. It goes against everything I have ever learned about quilting, and that certainly would have been my reaction, had I not seen a photo of the finished project before I read the instructions. I loved it, and wondered, “How, in the world, do they get that beautiful edging around each square?”
The secret is, that after it is all stitched together, all the seams are clipped at quarter inch intervals. Yes, it’s time consuming, and my old buddy, “Arthur (itis),” doesn’t like me keeping company with shears for long periods of time. But I have been blessed with a nice pair of spring action shears, courtesy of a gracious neighbor. So snip, we will! It’s an important part of the process. Why? Once the snipping is done, the quilt is thrown into the washer and dryer. When it comes out, all those little snipped edges have fluffed out, raveled, and curled, making that beautiful edging around each square, visually tying the quilt together in one beautiful piece! I will post a picture of the quilt when I finish it, but for now the pic above gives you the idea.
Each of our lives is a patchwork of many beautiful “pieces.” We usually are more than glad to share our “beautiful piece” stories with others along the way. But we also have things about ourselves that we prefer to keep safely tucked away, out of sight. It’s “our business, and no one else’s.” And, I suppose, that’s true. But I wonder sometimes, how much more we could be used of God, if we let our “seams” show once in a while? What we sometimes think is best kept neatly tucked out of sight, may just be the one thing He wants to use to bring encouragement to another struggling brother or sister, who right now, is only seeing our “beautiful pieces.”
We all struggle. God uses our struggles and failures as catalysts for growth. He seams our life together with them. The only real failure is when we don’t learn and grow from our mistakes. God takes our rough edges and makes something beautiful of them if we will receive it. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) And they are not just for our benefit, but for helping others. “ . . . the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4) What a plan!
Wouldn’t it be great if, instead of tucking our imperfections neatly out of sight, we all allowed our seams to show once in a while? The experiences of our life, the joys and the struggles, have been seamed together by a loving God, making us who we are in Him today . . . rough edges and all!
May God encourage us in our efforts to let our “seams show,” as we humbly encourage others in their times of struggle.
May that always be the view from here!