Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated a landmark.....12 years of marriage. Pretty amazing to say the least. 12 years might not seem like much to some, but to us it means everything. Many didn't think we would make it. The odds were pretty much stacked against us from the beginning.
Eben had been asking if I would ever make a quilt that we would actually get to keep. So I purposed in my heart to make that happen. I put it off over Christmas, since there was a ton of other homemade goodies going on, but figured I could make him something for our Anniversary.
Here it is...But this isn't just any quilt....this quilt now has a story. And it's a story that I think needs to be blogged about and shared. Or at least documented for my kids, so they can read for themselves when they get older about the story of the Anniversary Quilt.
When I first began this project, I had huge expectations for it. I wanted the most gorgeous, beautiful quilt, the prettiest fabrics available, a predictable pattern to it, everything one could ever hope for in a quilt. Kind of like how we began our marriage 12 years ago. I had these grandiose ideals of a perfect marriage, a perfect little house, a perfect set of children, security, predictability, and the happily ever after that you see in the movies. About 2 weeks after the "I Do's" were said, the reality check slapped us both in the face.
This quilt looks perfect hanging up on the back fence....from a distance. So do alot of marriages. But I have a secret to tell you...if you look a bit closer you will find the mistakes. At on point in time, I sat on the floor of the living room, quilt in arms, telling myself how horrible it was. I couldn't get the fabric to lay flat, it puckered in all the wrong places, the pieces were just all in a jumble instead of a predictable pattern because of the Little Apple who insisted on rearranging the blocks every single time I had them lay them out on the floor. It was an ugly quilt, meant for the garbage can.
As I cried over that stinking quilt, I heard that comforting whisper...you know the one. The one that comes from within your heart, and you know it can only be that still small voice of God. And it said "It's not ugly. It can still be used. Try seeing it through My eyes instead." And I began to see all kinds of comparisons and lessons learned.
My first mistake....TIME. I had neglected to take time to create a masterpiece. I expected myself to put together a gorgeous quilt in just a couple of weeks. Just the same....a good marriage isn't something thing that you can just throw together and hope for the best that it makes it. It takes practice. Years. Of Practice. And work. Hard work. But it goes on from there. Pictured above is the section of quilt that I am least happy with. You see, when I first started quilting it, I chose to free motion quilt it, because it requires a great deal of sewing and the quilt would last. Not to mention that I think it's just really pretty. As I started quilting it, the fabric started to pucker here, and wrinkle there. Not very much, so I disregarded it, thinking it wouldn't be noticeable. But by the time I got to the middle section, the fabric was so distorted that there was no other option but to just leave it alone. Had I addressed the minor problems with the quilt early on, the distortion in the middle wouldn't have been such a problem. Just the same, Eben and I have had many little bumps along the way in our marriage. It's far from perfect, but we have figured out after 12 years together, that if you address those little things as they come up, a huge problem in the middle won't be glaringly obvious to everyone.
Another huge mistake that I made...I didn't really have the right tools for the job. This quilt isn't a baby sized quilt. I made this one bigger so that my sweetie and I could snuggle and watch movies together.
But unfortunately, a quilt of this size doesn't exactly fit under a standard sewing machine. It was a hard job. And I definitely didn't have enough thread. I had to stop my project in the middle, drive into town, buy more thread and continue where I had left off. In the same way, with my own life...if I don't have the right tools I need to get through the day, of course I'm going to get off track and it's going to make life more difficult than necessary. I was reminded again that I had been slacking off in my quiet times with God, and in doing so, was giving myself a one-way ticket to frustration.Frustration.....like what I got when I was finishing the edges of the quilt and I couldn't get the fabric to iron flat to fold over. I had no choice but to bunch it up and sew it and move on. For the sole purpose of just persevering to the end.
And that is what Eben and I will do. We will persevere to the end. For the next 50+ years if God chooses to bless us with that many years together. We don't claim to have the perfect marriage. It's full of mistakes. Heck, it doesn't even look good up close. But can God use it?
I'm sure He can.
Happy Anniversary, Eben. I love you. Matthew 19:26