Monday, September 14, 2015

The Quilt... Part 2

Do you want to hear how it all started...

Here's the talk I planned to give.  Which, more or less, I did deliver to a room of 300 Indian women - except, I left my notes behind, and let the Holy Spirit speak instead of myself....

Namaste!  My name is Renita Bentz.  I am so very blessed to get to be with you today.  This is my second trip to India.  I came with my son Sam.  I have been married for 20 years to a wonderful man, his name is Matt.  I have 8 children total – 4 boys and 4 girls – ranging in age from 18 to 6 years old. I pray that I will get to bring them all to India some day, do you think we can fit in an Auto?  ;-)

I am going to be speaking to you today about the Fabric of a Woman’s Life.  As you arrived, each of you were given a piece of fabric.  These fabrics are pieces from this quilt that I made, especially for the women here today.  Each piece is a token that you can keep to remind yourself of today.  You see, God is really a master quilter and we become his beautiful quilted creation of different colors with a pattern and a design that makes us a comforter to others. 

I think making a quilt is a lot like a woman’s life. We start with a fresh whole piece that is beautiful and colorful, we get cut  apart in life and put back together again, bit by bit all carefully in the pattern of a master designer - God.  Amazingly, this whole is greater than the sum of its parts.  The finished quilt, like a women’s life, tells a beautiful story.

A quilt has several parts.  First, are the individual blocks.  These are cut from a piece of whole cloth, but broken into smaller pieces.  These pieces are then carefully sewn together and connected to make the design of the master.  Every single piece forms an important part of the design, remove even a single one, and the design is left incomplete.  This is just like us – God has chosen each one of us for his design – not a single unwanted color or pattern is included in his plan.   Psalm 33:11 tells us “the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations”.  

 We are surrounded by others with different colors, or talents and gifts.  Sometimes, we don’t understand how our one life can fit into the pattern – but it does.  The quilter must keep following the pattern, sometimes repeating the same steps over and over again, until the pattern is complete.  Motherhood can sometimes feel like a long string of repeating, unimportant tasks that you do over and over, with no recognition.  I want you to know God is creating a beautiful design for your family, and you are an important part in it. Ephesians 3:11 – “He has made all things beautiful in his time, he has set eternity in the hearts of men.”

Next comes the batting.  This is the middle layer of a quilt that gives it the warmth and makes it a comfort to others. God gives us this wrap of protection of his Spirit as a way of protecting us from the dangers of our temptations and battles.  A quilt without a batting is not able to give comfort to those it covers.  We need God’s spirit inside of us. Our trials and temptations can be used by God to become the batting in another’s quilt, as we are given comfort, we can comfort others. “God who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corithians 1:4  Before I came to India the last time, I found out that I had cancer.  God’s spirit brought me comfort through the difficult days of treatment.  I was able to use that very comfort to pass comfort on to other patients at the cancer clinic. 

 The last layer is the backing.  If you look only at the backing, you only see part of the picture.  It is not impressive on its own, seemingly random with strings and stitches.  This is a lot like our life here on earth, it doesn’t always make sense, we don’t see God’s pattern.   One day, we will see our quilt of life from heaven’s perspective, and every single stitch and color will make perfect sense.  We will see how the lights - the colors of the blessings in our life, and darks – the hardships and difficult days, contrasted to all came together and make a beautiful design.  But, the backing is a vital part of the quilt, it creates a foundation that holds the quilt together.  In my life, I see how the blessings of my family and friends helped create a foundation of support as I went through my cancer treatment.  We need to provide the backing to our sisters in Christ by giving them support and encouragement. 

Then, the quilter uses tiny stitches to hold all three layers together.  These insignificant stitches by themselves become attractive and practical as they are lined up together stich after stitch.  As God’s stitches in the quilt of life – we are able to accomplish more for his glory by linking together with our fellow Christians and creating much more that we could individually accomplish.  As I was fighting cancer, God lined up many dear friends that supported my family – with meals, helping to take care of my children and encouraging and praying for me.    

The binding takes all the rough edges of the quilt and keeps them from fraying.  Prayer is the binding that we need to keep our quilt all together.  Matthew 18:18-20 tells us  "Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.  Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them."  My dear Christian friends and family surrounded me in prayers for my healing.  God listened and responded to the healing we asked for and I have been cancer free for the last two years. 

At last, the quilter puts a label on her creation.  Quilts are often a way that we women connect our pasts and our futures, a marker of remembrance.  Psalm 78 reads –“That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born who should arise and declare them to their children”.  I have made quilts for each of my children as a way of covering them with my prayers.  Isaiah 49:16 says “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..”  God has put his own name on us, and we are to remember what God has done in our lives and to teach this to our children.

Every quilt tells its own story.  This particular quilt was created with love by my 12 year old daughter, myself and a very dear friend especially for you.  Individually, we could not have completed this alone.  We needed each other’s unique gifts and talents to be able to bring this gift to you.    

The colors we choose from Exodus 35:35  to remind you of the tabernacle.  “…in blue, in purple, in scarlet and fine linen”.   The blue represents the law, the 10 commandments carved in stone.  The Israelites wore blue tassels to remind them of the law. The purple is a symbol of royalty – the priests wore it, and spread a purple cloth across the altar for sacrifice. The red represents Christ’s blood and sacrifice for us. The cross, once a symbol of execution has become our symbol of the power of Jesus over sin.  I love how the colors of blue and red – the law and Jesus’ blood, combine to make the color of royalty, purple.  The color white represents our righteousness through Jesus.  

So this quilt tells the story of Jesus, the righteous one (white), who kept the law (blue), to become the perfect sacrifice (red) through his suffering on the cross.  He shed his blood (red) to redeem his people from their sins and make them righteous (white).  He makes us a holy priesthood for him (purple) to bring him glory forever and ever. 



No comments:

Post a Comment