They will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither
And its leaf does not wither
This summer the Lord gave me a picture and I knew that it was a glimpse of a quilt that I was to make for some dear friends. It was to be for them and about them, but the making of it was to be for my own heart's journey as I walked with them through this time in their lives. This quilt was to be unlike any other quilt I had made. It would speak the truth about my friends' lives, unfolding as a declaration of God's word spoken over them. Everything about it was to be prophetic, not just the picture I saw, but the very way that it was made, the time spent piecing it together, the times that I would have to lay it down and let it rest, and the things that I heard and learned along the way.
On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the field will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.
" 'I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.' "
Usually when I get an idea for a quilt, I jump in and find the fabric, get it washed and ironed, and start cutting as soon as I can. I plow quickly through the piecing because I can't wait to see the finished quilt top. This time I had the picture, but I had no idea how to make it happen. The picture would have to be portrayed in an applique quilt, and I had never attempted applique before. I began googling quilt trees to see if there was a pattern out there that I could copy or adapt to make it look like the tree in my picture. I looked and looked, but nothing suited the quilt in my mind. I began looking for the tree as I drove around town, searching for the perfect one.
One day I was sitting on my prayer room couch and I glanced out the window and saw a tree I had probably looked at a thousand times across the street in the neighbor's yard. I felt a jolt in my spirit and knew that was the tree! It's imperfection made it perfect. Twisty and bent like it had weathered some storms, it had a knot where a limb had been cut off-probably to keep it away from the power lines. The more I looked at it, the more I liked it. I sketched what I could see of the tree while sitting there and then walked across the street to get a better look. Not surprisingly, this tree when examined closely, was completely different than the tree I could see from my window.
I gave the sketch some detail then asked a friend to scan the picture into his computer and project the tree on the wall, adjusting it to the size I wanted. I taped freezer paper to the wall and traced the tree onto the paper. I cut out my paper tree and now it was time to find fabric. I knew that I wanted my background to be a lighter fabric framed by a dark brown fabric, so that the detail could spill over into the border. I wanted this tree to feel like it was continuing to grow beyond the borders that were originally placed around it. I found a tree fabric I thought would do, but it seemed too light of a brown, so I dyed it a darker brown. I ironed the freezer paper onto the fabric and cut out my tree. Placing it on my background, I hand stitched the tree to light fabric.
As I accomplished each of these steps, I would put the project aside for a few days or even longer until I felt it calling my name again. All of a sudden I would think, "Okay, it's time to get the fabric," or "No, I am not supposed to sew the border on yet. I'll wait." Some days I would simply need to stitch on it to have something to do for my friends...something tangible to put my hands to, bolstering my heart's hope. This past week I finally finished stitching the tree to the background.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.