Remembering Our Heritage

I have been unpacking some boxes of sewing material and equipment that belonged to my Mom.  She was a person who learned to sew as a young girl and did so all her life.  She loved to make quilts for keeping those fortunate enough to be given one warm.  She had quite a collection of quilt pieces already cut out as well as some pieces ready to be put together.  She also had some that I am sure she had purchased on a garage sale or estate sale because I don’t remember them from my childhood.  The material is old for some of the pieces and I am unsure if I will finish the quilts or leave them.  I am sure some of the pieces ready to be put together would be from the 1940’s or even sooner because the material is fragile and doesn’t look or even feel like material today.  Most of her stash of cloth is not all that old, maybe twenty years or so.  I also unpacked her box of sewing accessories and realized that some of the pins and needles were probably things that belonged to my Grandmother and maybe even my Great-grandmother.  There were patterns for quilts and there were pieces where my Mom was learning how to do a new technique in sewing, probably when she took a class or something.  There is even a small quilt that is ready to have the binding put on and each block has been hand signed by all the women in her Bible class sort of a memory quilt.  She also had a lot of quilt books and magazines to look through and I could see where some of the pages had been marked for future use.  There was even a sack with candle wick thread.  I suppose she was using it for hand quilting or something.  She also crocheted, tatted, and embroidered so maybe the wick thread was to be used in some combination project of some sort.  It was a joy to look through this most personal assortment of my Mom’s life, kind of bitter-sweet.  I miss her and thought how fun it would have been to have had her there to explain what her plan was for the cloth!  But she is no longer living and so I will carry on with finishing projects that she only dreamed of finishing.  I wonder if any of my children will want to carry on the tradition of making quilts.  Today there are many young people who love to work with textiles and so maybe, one day, they will be unpacking a box of my sewing stash and be reminded of their heritage as they look through it all.  Passing on information from one generation to the next is an important part of life.  In order to know where we are going as a people we need to know where we have been, where our ancestors are from and what they may have faced and overcome.  God thought it was important too.

 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the heart of his servants, that I may perform these signs of Mine among them, and that you may tell in the hearing of your son, and of your grandson, how I made a mockery of the Egyptians and how I performed My signs among them, that you may know that I am the LORD.”  Exodus 10:1-2, New American Standard Bible or NASB).

For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when He sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you.  “And you shall observe this event as an ordinance for you and your children forever.  “When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite.  “And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’  you shall say, ‘It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes.’” And the people bowed low and worshiped.  Exodus 12:23-27, (NASB).

Listen, O my people, to my instruction; Incline your ears to the words of my mouth.  I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old, Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.  We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.  For He established a testimony in Jacob And appointed a law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers That they should teach them to their children, That the generation to come might know, even the children yet to be born, That they may arise and tell them to their children, That they should put their confidence in God And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments, And not be like their fathers, A stubborn and rebellious generation, A generation that did not prepare its heart And whose spirit was not faithful to God.  Psalm 78: 1-7, (NASB).

The word of the LORD that came to Joel, the son of Pethuel: Hear this, O elders, And listen, all inhabitants of the land.  Has anything like this happened in your days Or in your fathers’ days?  Tell your sons about it, And let your sons tell their sons, And their sons the next generation.  What the gnawing locust has left, the swarming locust has eaten; And what the swarming locust has left, the creeping locust has eaten; And what the creeping locust has left, the stripping locust has eaten.  Joel 1:1-4, (NASB).

Are you beginning to see a pattern in these passages of scripture?  I do.  God wants His people to remember the good and awesome works that He has done on the earth for them.  God wants us to remember that He was working in our ancestor’s lives just as He works in our lives for the good of all Christians who are His adopted sons and daughters through Jesus Christ.  Our family heritage is blessed if we see God in the midst of the past.  I am blessed because as I sorted through my Mom’s sewing stash I saw a lot of God’s working in Mom’s life.  She sewed quilts and gave them away.  Some went to her family members while others went to complete strangers.  She helped some lonely orphan or foster child know that they were loved when they received a blanket she had made or a stuffed toy she had crafted with her own hands.  She made dolls and rabbits and clothes for them as well and gave them to organizations that used them to comfort a child.  She spent hours crocheting afghans for others too.  As she stitched her creations she also prayed for others.  I see how God worked through her but I also see when I look at her stash how God protected her and kept her close to Him.  She was growing closer to perfection with every quilt she made, every doll she sewed, every toy she created.  God taught her patience and to learn to lean upon Him for strength as she aged.  I see how she was taken care of by God as I look at her sewing stash of cloth and thread and patterns.  She loved to read the Bible and she listened to many sermons on tape while doing her sewing projects.  A few months before her death I went to visit her and she was cutting out quilt blocks while listening to sermons she had recorded from various preaching revivals she had attended.  She said that she couldn’t sew anymore but she could still cut out blocks for other to sew.  How clever I thought that was.  I will take those blocks and make some blankets for others so they know God loves them too, just as she did in her lifetime.  She taught me much and her best sermons were unspoken.  The Apostle Paul knew the importance a Mother and Grandmother could make in a child’s life.

I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy.  For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.  For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.  2 Timothy 1:3-7, (NASB).

Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!  Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.  But evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.  2 Timothy 3:10-17, (NASB).

I guess I better get busy as I have a lot of sewing to do and as I stitch each piece I will be praying for the child or the youth who will be given the blanket or quilt that God will be seen and felt and hopefully heard.  My prayer is to have them be a part of God’s wonderful family and meet them one day in heaven.

Until next time…Katherine  

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