Sunday, July 17, 2011

Like a Patchwork Quilt

A beautiful song, one of my all-time favorites, is running through my head this morning – Sweet Honey in the Rock’s Patchwork Quilt. It’s about the AIDS quilt, and I’ve never once listened to it without a tear in my eye. I wish I could find a link to stream it for you.
My heart spills over, flowing with tears.
I cry for your suffering and for your shortened years.
Critter has been asking to make a quilt out of S’s t-shirts. I’ve been stalling, just couldn’t muster the energy. For whatever reason, I woke up at 6:00 this morning ready to do it. I wasn’t even sure where the shirts were, so it took some digging. By 7:30, we were unpacking the box on the family room floor when something entirely unexpected happened.

Our increasingly cranky 12-year-old mutt, Zoe, immediately came over to the pile of shirts and sat on it, whining. She nuzzled her nose into the shirts then put her paws on me over and over, like she wanted me to do something. It was heartbreaking.

As I start this project, I’m thinking of my middle school sewing teacher, Mrs. Pennypacker. I have no idea how old she was at the time, but I do know that her husband died while I was in her class, and that he was too young to die. She talked about it when she returned to school. She wore his ring on a chain around her neck. She told us that the doctor had prescribed sleeping pills, but they turned out to be placebos. I had to look up the word.  She was probably the first young widow in my life, and I watched as her life went on.

And now I send her blessings, wherever she is, as I use the skills she taught me to sew together some memories for my daughter.


  1. Zoe knows something we cannot comprehend; heartbreaking to be recipient of her discomfort and apprehension. And yet, what can you do ?~? Perhaps let her wear one of his shirts for comfort ?? I don’t know really, grasping at thoughts as they float in and out. My sympathy for your tragic loss; and for your daughter too.

  2. Kelly Warner-KingJuly 29, 2011 at 3:19 AM

    A wonderful song, and a wonderful post, Jen. Good luck with your quilting project. I imagine it will continue to prompt a host of memories, emotions and inspirations. Much love to you, Critter and Zoe.

  3. God has been the difference in my own life during times of loneliness, heartbreak, and pain. I know too well what it means of not getting encouraged by others and the hurt that comes from that. I've found that only God always offer encouragement and hope, much better than any human can offer. I can only imagine how it feels to be widowed. I have the taste of having an emotional tie broken- I've gotten dumped in the past and it's hurt me so much in the past. The Bible teaches that a sexual relationship (whether marital or premarital) results in the man and woman becoming one body (refer to 1 Corinthians 6:16). I think this bond resonates to the spiritual level of their souls. I believe that even an emotional involvement (without having sex) also creates emotional ties, but probably to a lesser degree than sexual ties (which unites them as one body in a spiritual sense). Our bodies are connected with our inner being (soul, spirit, heart and mind). When our brain forms memories of things we are fond of (people, places, objects, etc.), our bodies long for those things when they are taken away from us. This physical longing resonates to our inner being. It’s all quite complex and mysterious of how our physical body and inner being operate in relation to each other. Rejection and abandonment are all painful things. King Solomon said that everything in this world is vanity, everything is meaningless- a chasing after the wind. Eventually whatever we gain in this world (relationships, success, wealth), we lose them all at some point. There is something you can never lose though- God. God surpasses everything in our lives. Our thirsting for things in this world (especially human relationships) is evidence that we need something greater than those things to satisfy us because everything except God will end up failing you in some way. God has promised us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. God can't die on us and leave us in a state of loneliness. God won't cheat on us, dump us and go off with someone else. Whenever you feel lonely or feel that you're missing something in your life- realize that God wants to fill that void in your life. So many times I've been ignorant about the Bible. We're trained from our birth to live by our senses- thus we look to perceive God with those senses. Most of the time, we can't perceive God with our senses as He is a spiritual being. God has wanted me to develop my spiritual senses and rely on His word (the Bible) to experience Him. I've learned to always see God's word as alive, powerful, and relevant for each day. When I've failed to see that in the past, it's robbed me so much joy and peace. I've learned to look at the Bible as a powerful and active gateway/portal to God. We can try to occupy our minds with so many different things in this world to try and fill the void in our lives or suppress the pain, but all of those things will keep us still hungry and thirsty. God has promised us that if we reach out to Him, He will give us rest, quench our thirst, and satisfy our hunger. If you haven't done that, I hope you will give God a chance. 1 Corinthians 6:17 states that the one who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. I think human relationships bond us in a powerful way (which is complex to understand), however, the Bible says that we can also be joined to God through our spirit (inner being), which I believe is even more powerful as God is the ultimate partner. God is an invisible Spirit who doesn’t have a physical body like we have. We have both a physical (the visible physical body) and spiritual component (invisible spiritual inner being). Hence, we need to seek out God with our spirit and be joined to Him as one spirit.

  4. I further hope that God will use you to go and reach others with His word, just like He has used me to reach out to you. Many people in this world are hurting just like you. Many are just looking for a simple act of kindness or a word of encouragement (words are powerful- they can heal and motivate or when used in an evil manner destroy others) which they don't receive from others. Ultimately, many even end their own lives because they feel hopeless and want to end their pain of torment- all because they've failed to see God was nearby all along and they failed to perceive Him with their spiritual senses. God loves you more than any human in this world! He wants to be your companion today and take care of you and your family's needs. I hope you see and explore His love for you today through the Bible- the Bible is the secret source for unraveling peace and joy for you when you can't find them in this world. I can't give you physical copy of the Bible right now, but you can freely access it online at ( May God bless you, heal you and strengthen you and your family. Continue to write and help others for His glory. Claim God's promises to you from His word today. Humans will likely fail to encourage you when you really need it, however, God won't fail. All you need to do is turn to His word. It is available 24/7 whenever you need it- to experience God.
    Please read these verses when you get the chance- Isaiah 55:11-13; Jeremiah 49:11; Psalm 146:9; Psalm 68:5; Revelation 21:1-7; Jeremiah 17:5-8; Isaiah 2:22; 1 Corinthians 7:29-35, John 4:10-15, and John 7:37-39).

    If you accept God's way of salvation through Jesus Christ, you will have a future hope because a new earth and new heavens will be created. God will make us new also. All pain, sorrow, and death will be gone in the new world that is to come. You will forget the sorrow of your widowhood in that new world.

    Isaiah 54:4-6 (NLT):
    "Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don't be afraid; there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband;
    the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
    He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel,
    the God of all the earth.
    6 For the Lord has called you back from your grief—
    as though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband,”
    says your God.

    Isaiah 65:17 (GW):
    I will create a new heaven and a new earth.
    Past things will not be remembered.
    They will not come to mind.

    Revelation 21:1-4 (NLT):
    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. 2 And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

    3 I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”

  5. In Star Wars (which has spiritual themes), the fictional character Yoda taught a valuable truth regarding the fear of losing things you value. “Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.”
    When I’ve lost relationships in the past, it caused anger in me especially against God. After the first time you lose something valuable, you have the tendency to develop fear of losing things from that point on. It took me a long time to learn to let go of fear. It also helped me realize the blessings of singleness. Many times, singleness protects you from getting attached to a person which can affect your relationship with God- i.e. death comes to all humans, and if you’re not prepared to let your loved one go to death, there’s the tendency to develop anger and hatred towards God. God hasn’t done anything wrong. Satan and mankind themselves destroyed his original plan of peace and harmony in the Garden of Eden. They brought sin and death into the world, not God.


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