Sometime before my Sweetie and I married I had deep dad-daughter conversation that’s stuck with me all this time. He was apologizing for all the hard stuff that’d happened in our lives and home and that he wished it hadn’t happened. I told him at the time that those experiences made me who I am, offering me the ability to do what I was doing. Were we having that conversation today, I’d tell him the same thing, although I’d add that while some of the storms were rough, tossing me about in ways that were painful I’m grateful that we were able to become dad & daughter again, that we were able to have the deep, healing conversations.
Oceans by Hillsong, and other songs like it, have welled up deeply in my being for some years now. In part because I’ve struggled in having prayer time, conversations with God, my heavenly/earthly Abba, Daddy. Through all of this struggle I’ve longed to be closer to Him, listening to the calming rhythm of his heart. While the longing is there my prayer life has resembled something of squirming, tantrum-throwing toddler who just wants to be put down and run, on a busy city sidewalk, with cars driving faster than they should to beat the light.
Just like my dad forced the issue to get us talking again God allowed me to go wandering off on my own, doing whatever until I was ready to have some good heart to heart conversations with Him. It took a little while for me to start hearing His soothing voice, not so much asking me to calm down, but ready enough to hear it, and being ready to lean in, laying my head on Abba’s chest, listening to the steady rhythm of His heart. Tha-thump, tha-thump, tha-thump. All I’ve needed is right there. And like in quilting I need to get out of my own head to see what’s right in front of me. Let me assure you I do not believe in any way that God was punishing me for not having a regular, committed prayer life; He allowed the natural consequences of that lack on my part to draw me closer to Him.
Last night I finished and posted this quilt, it’s about 13×13 at the moment, will be squared and bound today as I’m finishing things up before heading to Market tomorrow afternoon. When I work on pieces like this I have no idea where they’re going, or how people will respond to them. This morning I received some interesting, and really beautiful feedback from a longtime friend of my heart. What this spoke to her, speaks to my heart deeply in some ways affirming who I’ve come to know myself to be, a teacher. The other night after another conversation I found a Spiritual Gifts inventory and took it. (Of course I’d want to have a deeper conversation with someone to affirm these gifts.) One of the top 5 is Trust, something that I’ve been hearing in prayer for months, “Trust me”. Another is “Craftsmanship”, which I found fascinating as quilting entered my life shortly after I got married and has been near the center of my being since.
This all feels a bit random so let’s see if I can bring this together. Prayer is a relationship, an on-going conversation, a giving and taking, a speaking and listening, an action and reaction. My conversation(s) with my dad repaired our relationship in such a beautiful way. My conversation(s) with God restore the relationship with him. My conversations with my friend have kept our relationship alive so beautifully. Faith and quilting are relational, they are conversations intertwined with people and thread. We need the good and the bad, the low and high volume, the light and the dark to give depth to draw us closer to one another. It is the tough experiences in faith and quilting equip us to both hone our own skills and help others Tough experiences can soften our rough edges, just like a ruler and rotary cutter can trim excess from quilts and quilt blocks.
If you’re struggling in prayer may I offer the following: just say, “Help” or “I love you” or “this hurts” or “this is so beautiful” or “Our Father who art in heaven…” or pouring it all out. Ask a friend to pray for you and with you, ask me to pray for you. Become vulnerable in prayer, this isn’t easy, takes practice and is so worth it. Over the years as a teacher I show all the flaws in my quilts so that each person can see that mistakes happen, what I’ve learned from them, and that they’re either character or fixable. Just like my prayer./faith life was/is fixable.