I am participating in a study at a church I previously attended with some really great mommy people. For me, this is time where I can be in fellowship and study - without HAVING to take the reins. As one who frequently ministers to others - I NEED times like this where I do not have to lead (though, by nature, I sometimes can't help myself! So sorry to the really amazing leader who in fact IS there to lead - and does a very excellent job.)
So the book we are studying is "To Be Told" by Dan Allender which comes with a handy dandy workbook for soul searching purposes. I am only one chapter into it - and have some reservations - which I may get to later, but am so excited about the workbook which has TONS of questions to prompt an examination of one's life. My intention is to blog my responses to these questions - and in the end, the book suggests, I will look back at the pages and chapters that make up the story of my life and look for themes, recurring characters, etc. So, we'll see ... I love self-exploration ... and writing as a means to self-discovery, so this ought to be right up my alley.
I am going to share an excerpt that appears at the opening of the workbook that sort of sets the stage for the journey at hand.
Did you ever think, child ... how much piecin' a quilt's like livin' a life?... You see, you start out with jest so much caliker; you don't go to the store and pick it out and buy it, but the neighbors will give you a piece here and a piece there, and you'll have a piece left every time you cut out a dress, and you take jest what happens to come. And that's like predestination. But when it comes to the cuttin' out, why, you're free to choose your own pattern. You can give the same kind o' pieces to two persons, and one'll make a "nine-patch" and one'll make a "wild goose chase," and there'll be two quilts made out o' the same kind o' pieces, and jest as different as they can be. And that is jest the way with livin'. The Lord sends us the pieces, but we can cut 'em out and put 'em together pretty much to suit ourselves, and ther's a heap more in the cuttin' out and the sewin' than there is in the caliker.
-Eliza Calvert Hall, Aunt Jane of Kentucky
I like this whole quilting imagery for discussing life - that our life is a quilt made up of all sorts of pieces - and that when we put them together, the end result is unique to the quilter. If I were to pick a bone with Ms. Hall, I'd argue that all the scraps in my life are NOT sent to me by God - some scraps of my life have been written on by the World - and by the Prince of Lies - and by those around me - but nonetheless, the scraps (from the beautiful and refined to the ugly and rough) are mine - and I've been given the free will to do with them as I wish. I can leave them in a heap in the corner where they do nobody much good - or I can piece them into a quilt, something that is warm and comforting.
And - as far as the quilt goes - I could slap things together in some random pattern - and just be done with it and call it my quilt (and sometimes I've done this - slapped together scraps and called it my life) - or I can call on the Master Quilter who can teach me to assemble a thing of substance and beauty. In the hands of the Master, even the ugliest and roughest of my scraps prove to have a flipside, one of great beauty and purpose - without which the finished product would not have much character.
I look forward to the journey at hand - examining the scraps I've been given with the Master Quilter at my side.