My husband and I were invited to participate in a leadership training class through our church this past fall. Since September we have been meeting every Monday night at the home of our Pastor and his wife. They serve us a wonderful meal and then we all gather together to discuss the previous week’s homework, reading etc. There are 12 of us in the group and we come from all ages and stages of life.
The first several months we studied Systematic Theology. Deep stuff. Many of the topics we discussed challenged me to discern what I believed based on what the Bible actually says or what I have learned or heard from others. My husband is incredibly bright and he can read this difficult material and then adequately discuss his questions. Me…not so much.
We have now moved out of those topics and are now looking at leadership and determining how the pieces of our life story have molded and shaped us.
Part of the process will be sharing our stories and how God has worked and moved in our lives with the members of our small group. I love stories. I want to hear others’ stories, they connect people.
Our Pastor encouraged us to come up with some sort of theme, we could even bring a visual aid if we wanted. I wasn’t sure what I was going to go with at first and then on the night that our Pastor was sharing his story, it came to me.
Ok for those that know me, just take a moment and laugh at that a little…it’s ok! ……..Done? Good!
I have not ever used a sewing machine and while I would love to have that talent, I just don’t. But there was something about it that struck a chord in me. So I went home that night and looked up the basic steps to quilting.
Planning, cutting and piecing, quilting (the process where you put the top squares and the backing together) and finally binding. I knew that my life had followed similar steps and so my “quilted” journey began.
For my purposes, this was God’s hand in my life. For a quilter this is the step where they decide what they want the quilt to look like, what colors and fabrics they will use. God formed me, He had a plan for my life. I have a calling and a purpose that He has predestined for me. Today in my life and in my dreaming journey, and with His help, I seek to walk in that calling.
Cutting and Piecing:
One of the most time-consuming parts of quilting is the cutting and piecing together of all the quilt squares. This is how the design of the quilt really comes together. And so it has been with my life. Each moment, learning experience, hurt and joy have been another piece of the quilt. Some of those pieces are not how I wished them to be. Others I wish I didn’t have to include in my final masterpiece. But even among the squares I would change there are things to learn. As I look back on the pieces of my story I can see how each moment has shaped me into who I am today. There have been times that I have had to struggle through, but they made me more resilient. Even my biggest failures have taught me about forgiveness and grace. Nothing is wasted.
It is in the quilting step that the top layer and the bottom layer are sewn together with the batting that goes in between. When considering my life story, I saw this as my refining period. Most recently it was through some very hard heart work, Christian counseling and time with a wonderful mentor from my church, that my faith and life was refined. I am by no means perfect, even though I still find myself striving to be at times….but in this time of my life, God has allowed refinement so that my true character, the one defined in His image, is starting to show.
The finishing step in making a quilt is the binding. This encases all the raw edges of the quilt and makes it look like a polished work. God continues to love me and refine me. He guides me on His path for my life and over and over again I can see that I am redeemed by His grace. I believe that the final quilt of my life with the beautiful-edged binding will not be complete this side of heaven. But some day, because of God’s grace and mercy it will be.
The process of writing out my life story thus far has been an interesting one. I was able to look back and see the many places where God put specific people in my life to guide me. I saw how different experiences molded me and shaped me into the woman I am today. I recognized that I still hold onto some of the ugly of my past. And while I am slowly seeing redemption from many of those things….all the pieces are not there yet. But I have faith that they will come. Because God is quilting me together piece by piece.
And hearing the others in our group share their stories has been so powerful.
We all have different stories to share. On some things I can relate and others maybe not. But I am reminded that the process is so valuable. I see grace in my own life because someone else shared their story of grace. I remember a time that a tough situation turned good because I heard you tell me your story first. There is shared laughter and shared tears as we become vulnerable with one another. But we all walk away changed in the process.
So if you haven’t taken some time to ever work through your story, I encourage you to. There may be someone you come in contact with that needs to hear about how God worked in your life so that their eyes can be opened to it in their own journey. It is a tough process no doubt, but one that I am so glad I walked through.
What’s keeping you from sharing your story? Would you be vulnerable with me in the comments and I will be praying over you today!
Shared by: Kristin Smith
We have a fun announcement to share with you…if you follow us on Facebook or Instagram you’re already in the loop! After much prayer and contemplation and waiting to have all the right people in place to run it, we’ve opened a God-sized Dreams private Facebook group! The need was there, we were waiting on the timing. So, join us in the group if you want a more private space to give voice to your dreams and prayers. We will see you there!