gift of stretching ~ bethlehem quilt

MarveLes Art StudiosBlogs, My Life's Stories 15 Comments

good morning sunday ~

this is a wall quilt i made from a panel, for my mom, a couple years ago. one i unpacked and now have hanging in our living room, next to the christmas tree.

it’s the season of advent, and last week’s reading was relative to how Mary reached the time of her deliverance.

and in this season …  soon.    so will my mom.

ann voskamp.  writer of wonder, heart-toucher. 

her writings are gifts i unwrap and embrace as i go through the emotions of letting my mom go.  

i borrow some of her words, as they help me to take my heart out of my throat and lean in to listen to God on what it means to honor my mom as she leaves the land of the dying, and enters into the land of the living.  

not because she is a good person.  {she is}.  not because she is tried hard to do the right things in this life. {she did}.  but because her heart belongs to Jesus, washed white as snow through the blood of the sacrifice given so willingly by the One who loves her best.

ann writes: “to be a dwelling place of God, a womb for Christ, means to be extended, taken to one’s outer edges.  stretched. 

to be a womb for God means there will be stretch marks.”

this year, particularly, the season of Advent hurts. “i sometimes am weary.  these days are not easy.   this is how God may be growing within me.”

“a true Christmas, one that God indwells, will experience pangs and pain.”  

true.  i pour out my tears, and cry out my heart. and he responds as He pours in his comfort.  He is near to the broken-hearted. {i know a little more about that now} and i adore Him for that gift, and the best one? 

everlasting love.

oh how i have felt these words ann writes:

“… this  Christmas, i am stretched thin and I feel myself asked to love to the furthest edges of myself, asked to extend grace to the outermost reaches — because how else can i grow full and large and round with God?”

to be a womb for Christ, i’ll feel my inner walls, my boundaries, stretch. stretching the shape of a soul hurts.”

“… i pray for the stretching — {when I’m in the midst of speaking with family… nurses… friends}. and i feel utterly discouraged and the season seems to be dissolving into one soppy, muddy puddle — that I will give way and let God enlarge me.”

“i pray for the willingness to return a phone call and try again — to let go of the stiff sides of my heart that God might stir within. i pray for the soul stretch marks.”

i sit with my mom.  i hug her.  i hold her hand and kiss her face.  and whisper she is loved. and i thank her for loving me endlessly. and i pray for her to reach the arms of Jesus in His perfect peace.

and as ann says so poignantly…  

“i wait expectantly. 
expecting Christ in all this dark…”

thank God.
merry {true} christmas.
soli deo gloria.

Comments 15

  1. This is a wonderful tradition to have a Christmas quilt and so beautiful. And mother – it is an invaluable person who is always more than anyone will love, to forgive, to maintain … It's fine when there is an opportunity to be with her mother nearby.

  2. Leslie Love, thank you for sharing your tender heart as you and your mom travel through this difficult journey. We pray for God's comfort, peace, healing, strength, love, grace, faith, understanding, blessings, and His hand on you and your mom as she enters into the Kingdom of God and His Heaven where she will eternally live with her maker.
    May God heal your broken heart, your aching pain, and turn your sorrow into joy for He IS, and IS TO COME.
    I thank God for you Leslie and pray for you everyday. I love you my sister in the Lord.

  3. Leslie, I hold you, your mother and all your family in my prayers. What a Blessing your mother is and I join you in celebrating her, her life and all she has brought into this world.
    You reminded me of the song "Celebrate Me Home" by Kenny Loggins. To open your heart and celebrate your mother…
    So many mixed feelings yet SO tough to let go. May your hearts feel a measure of peace.
    Mega love and hugs,
    Christina in Cleveland

  4. Oh Leslie! I read that post from Ann the other day too – and forwarded it to everyone I knew! What a poignant piece it is. And of course it spoke to you for many of the same reasons it spoke to me. We are losing my father-in-law any day now, and my stepfather was in the hospital fighting for his life last week. He is doing better for now, but we are holding our breath. So much darkness – but for those of us who have Christ as our LIGHT, the darkness can never put out that LIGHT – not in Heaven and not in our own personal lives either. We will always have LIGHT to see where to place our next step. I'm SO sorry for your pain losing your mom! My mom is my best friend and I know that I will be where you are in not too many years. I honestly don't know how I will handle that…. but I know I will come back to your blog and be encouraged by your words my sweet friend!!! Hugs & Blessings – I'm praying for you!

  5. Oh my Leslie, I am so sorry to hear this. Although there is never a good time for it, it is especially difficult at this time of year. I'm sure you are giving her great comfort. May she go in peace,

  6. sending my love and prayers, friend. i know His love, and His love alone, will carry you all through this time. xo

  7. Thank you for sharing this journey from your heart. My cousin just passed away last night from a long battle with MS. I join you with tears.

  8. Aunt Leslie, I truly think this is the most beautiful thing I have ever read (and seen). I've been thinking of you all day everyday, along with Gramma. I love you both to pieces and pray for love and comfort during this time for all of our family. I love you and I'm sorry I can't be there to say "goodbye" to my dear grandmother or to hug you tightly.
    xoxoxo Tarra Jo

  9. oh sweet girl, lifting you up in prayer that you will find peace, comfort and strength in God's huge love for you and your mom.

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