She finds herself in an empty room. Esther notices it immediately. From far away it looks very pretty. A quilt hand stitched with skill and patience. A great accent to any room, it illuminates the corner of this one. As Esther walks closer, she’s drawn to the quilt as a thirsty horse is drawn to water on a hot and unbearably humid summer’s day.
Esther has always admired other women’s handmade quilts. Such beautiful works of art. Esther has never stitched one of her own. She’s never felt she had enough talent to put together something so lovely.
Looking at the quilt again, Esther says, “There’s something… different.” Esther speaks the words even though no one else is around. Talking out loud helps her think. She’s been like that since she was a small child. She could solve almost any problem as long as she could talk it out.
Even now in her advanced years, Esther goes back to what she knows. “Something’s… not quite as it should be.”
She stands so close to the quilt that at times her nose is actually touching the fabric. “So beautiful from afar,” Esther says. “So lovely.”
But now that she’s up close and personal, she sees a rawness to the quilt she didn’t see before. “It’s as if the pieces of fabric are torn from something else. Ripped, in fact,” Esther says. She’s thirsty to solve the puzzle.
She backs up a little bit. She’s about a foot from the fabric now. As Esther keeps looking, she takes another step backwards. And another until she can see very clearly now. Her expression changes from puzzling an answer to astonishment. “It can’t be so!” she says, not as a statement but as a prayer.
“These patches are actual pieces from my own life. How is this even possible?” Esther asks.
There are memories from her life displayed on the quilt patches. Memories she’s long forgotten because she didn’t want to remember. We all have times like that, but Esther feels maybe she’s had a few more than most people. “I was so stubborn for so long,” she says, shaking her head. “Why did it take me so long to get rid of my stubbornness and my pride?”
There are doors on some of the patches. Doors that were shut long ago and also locked. Esther believed that no keys could ever open these doors again and yet, here they are displayed on this quilt.
As Esther looks closer, she remembers. Times when she went through a painful period in her life. She remembered thinking that a door she didn’t even know existed was flung wide open and she had no choice but to walk through. There were many doors like that. They all had something in common. They were the hardest times in her life. Yet, each time when she walked through one of the doors, the Lord was on the other side.
“Without Him, I wouldn’t have made it,” Esther says.
And yet, each time she emerged through another door stronger and just a little bit more like the Savior she loves so much.
Esther shakes her head wondering if she’s just imagining all this. But she knows that she’s not. Some of the patches are ugly. They’re ripped and torn and have the oddest color combinations. Some of the patches are peaceful and serene. In fact, looking at them now, Esther remembers these times with great joy.
“These were the times in my life when I completely surrendered. I said, ‘Okay Lord, you’re in charge. Take the reins.’”
Placed all together, somehow the patches work. In fact, Esther discovers something priceless. She has, with the Lord’s help, stitched together a beautiful quilt. It’s the story of her life. This is how she’s become the person she is.
Esther looks closer and sees something she missed before. Each fabric square ripped from her life is lovingly, carefully, expertly stitched together with crosses. The love of Jesus is in every stitch. The love that can only come from the Savior dying on the cross for her sins. Her ripped life is stitched together with his love, his forgiveness and his grace.
“When you allow Him to hold the needle, it’s amazing what your life’s quilt becomes,” Esther says to no one except her Lord. “It’s beautiful.”