"A Patchwork Heart"

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By: Cara McLauchlan
Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (NIV)


The summer before my freshman year in high school I quilted for a living. I gave up sunny days and backyard pools to descend into our church basement to quilt with other teenagers. We were part of a local community program called Youth Corps that gave teenagers important job skills in exchange for helpful community work and a nice hourly wage.


Our daily teen quilting bees produced humble quilts for fire victims and their families. When I first started quilting, I tried to work quickly, producing them as fast as I could without thought or attention to details and patterns. As a group of 15 teenagers, we played noisy music to keep us going all day long with the monotony of the work. We chattered away the time with our talk focused on boys, weekend plans and what we would do with our paychecks.


At first I really didn’t care. I made my quilts and got them done fast. All that mattered to me was that I was getting paid.


In my head, I justified my sloppy work by thinking, “Hey, I’m only 14. People don’t really expect me to be great at quilting. Besides, what will the people care who are receiving the quilts anyways? It’s really just a job for me.”


Jesus had something else in mind. The more I quilted, the more I couldn’t stop thinking about who would get my quilt. I dreamed of the families my quilts would touch, how my very seams would be wrapped around people who most likely lost everything. This quilt might even be wrapped around a girl just like me.


Slowly and gradually God began to move in my heart. He changed my thoughts and showed me that whatever I did, it should be for Him. Whether I was quilting, talking to friends, playing music, it should be with Him and His excellence in mind.


With His pressing, I came to understand the solemn truth. The fact was my quilt would be the very first thing families would get after losing every shred of hope in their life. My handiwork would become their sole possession and the beginning of starting over. The work I was creating changed my heart. This was not only a quilt, this was the most important thing they would ever receive. This was their beginning and I was making it.


When you think about our hearts, they really are like a quilt. God has artfully placed our experiences, joys, sorrows and triumphs. We are His beautiful patchwork and Jesus binds all of this together in His love.


Whenever I see a quilt now, I can’t help but stop and adore. To know what heart and work and love must go into such a thing. How it cannot be made alone. Without ever uttering a word, the Creator impressed on my heart the importance of doing the work with His excellence. I learned how something so simple, made out of pure love, can change everything. Especially me.


Prayer:

Dear Jesus, please keep my thoughts and actions focused on You. When I’m tempted to take a short cut, or be sloppy or lazy, please change my heart to remind me that everything I do is for You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Resources:

Do Hard Things: A Teenage Rebellion Against Low Expectations by Alex and Bret Harris


Think About It:

Where in my life can I be more excellent for Christ?


Are there other areas in which I need to change my thinking and do the work for Him?


Live It:

Write down one step you’d like to take towards excellence in Christ. Put a little reminder on post-it notes on mirrors or doors to remind yourself daily of this change.


Power Verses:

Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (NIV)


1 Chronicles 28: 20, “Be strong and courageous and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you….” (NIV)


© 2010 by Cara McLauchlan. All rights reserved.

Photo courtesy of Jude Hill via
Flickr.

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Tell Us About It:

How have you been changed by something you’ve done for someone else?

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1 Comments:

Blogger Nicole O'Dell said...

This is a terrific blog!!! I'm looking forward to perusing it more. Thanks for your heart for teens.

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