I've decided to give each week of the month a theme for my blog. This week, the third of the month, is now officially dedicated to women who inspire me. I've yet to come up with a catchy phrase. Maybe you have some ideas? Women's Week? Wonder Women? Blah. Okay, I'll keep thinking. Meanwhile, here is today's post.
In our church building there is a small room just off the foyer. Inside there are shelves from floor to ceiling piled high with fabric. There are patterns, boxes, sewing machines and quilting frames. It seems almost out of place when you look outside the door and see the spotless hallways. No other room in the church is so full, so seemly chaotic. This is the stake humanitarian room.
Every week on Tuesday, sisters arrive at the church. They set up quilting tables and pin down quilt backs made from old sheets. They roll white batting over the sheets and unfold patch-worked tops made from fabric gleaned from women all over the stake. When I look at those tops, it's like a bit of my grandmothers have been plucked from the past and put in front of me. Sisters consult over what color yarn to use, a blue to match this, a pink to match that. Then they begin to tie.
There is something haphazard about the work. One woman, the one organizing the efforts, told how the tops are cut and sewn, bits from here or there. The colors don't always match, the fabric is sometimes taken from old curtains, office scrubs, or jeans. She shops DI for sheets for the backs. They get the strangest donations, things that seem like they just shouldn't work.
A few weeks ago, this woman stood over a sewing machine, matching fabric to make a quilt top the right length. She told us how sometimes she looks at the tops and thinks, "Wow, that's a combination of colors I would never have chose." I knew what she meant. I've seen some pretty different quilts there.
Then she said something that touched me. No matter how strange she thinks they look, once they are tied, they always beautiful. "It's because of all the love that goes into them," she said.
When I get the chance to go to the church to help, I am amazed by the sisters who go every week. When they talk about what they accomplish, I see miracles. A small strip of fabric, left over, but just the right size for something else. A sheet back ends up being the exact same color maroon as the blocks on the top. They somehow manage to find everything they need.
When I stand in that overcrowded humanitarian room, I see the hand of God at work. That crazy, unexpected storage place is a sweet testament to the women who saw how the widow's mites of our stake could be used by the Lord. To them, even the smallest donations matter and, somehow, it all turns out beautiful.