Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Christmas Blessing

All Photos by Jamie Lynn Photography

Remember months ago….while Handsome Hubby was still deployed…when I was still able to post lots and lots of projects?  :)  I gave you a sneak peek at a quilt I was working on.  Many of you guessed that it was made from dress shirts, but that was all you could know about it at the time.  I promised that after Christmas I would tell you the rest of the story and show you the finished project.  So…. In my best Paul Harvey voice, “And here’s the rest of the story.”

As many of you know we’re a military family.  I first met Melissa right after we moved here when I visited PWOC for the first time.  She was sweet, inviting, encouraging, and honest.  She told me, Bill, her husband, had just gotten diagnosed with lung cancer, not even a year after retirement.  They were fighting it with every weapon they could find.  I was amazed at her strength and courage.  At her faith and trust in Jesus. 

After we found a church here, I was delighted to find out that Bill and Melissa were in our same small group.  We watched, encouraged and supported as well as we could, over the next year as their family dealt with his cancer.    And when we learned that he was dying, we felt helpless.  How could we  comfort Melissa and her sweet children?  Words do not come easy for me, I am a hands on person.

but…this story is not about me…

It’s about the Melissa and her sweet family.  and their courage.  and pain.  and heartache.

as a close friend of hers wrote on her blog (and I couldn’t say it any better than this): 

“this is a story of redemption.  about jesus and all He is to this family.  He is the one who has seen this family through bill’s cancer, his chemotherapy, his struggle to live, and, eventually, his freedom from this earthly battle.  bill knows jesus.  and so he’s living with him now.  knowing that is huge…and yet…

this sweet, broken family now has to continue to live here…without bill.  with a piece of them missing.  they will have to wait to see their husband and dad again.  and therein lies the struggle…

but i do know this.  bill is waiting for them.  and they want to be there, too…but they have to live here now.”

In August, a few months after Bill’s death, Melissa came to me  and asked the sweetest request she could have ever asked.  She asked me if I would use Bill’s shirts and make quilts for her girls from them.  I was delighted!  Finally, something hands on that I could do to bring joy and comfort.  Melissa told me that she had a friend stationed in Germany who was making a quilt for her, and another friend making one for her son.  I would be responsible for making quilts for both of her girls.

In December, right before Christmas, all of the ladies involved with making the quilts, along with close family friends gathered at my house so we could see the finished product and pray over them.  We prayed that as Melissa and each of her children were wrapped up in their quilts, they would find comfort, warmth, and security… and really so much more that cannot even be put into words.

 

These quilts were a Christmas Eve surprise for her kids…to be able to sleep under these quilts and wake up cozy on Christmas morning…

Melissa’s friend, and very talented photographer, Jamie Lynn, was there to capture the beauty of the moment.

Katie pieced Will’s quilt…

I pieced the girls’ quilts…

Megan’s quilt…

Lexis's quilt…

Abby both pieced and quilted Melissa’s quilt…

From Jamie Lynn's blog (her reaction to the afternoon - - again, put into words what my heart is feeling but I somehow am not able to put into words):

“this afternoon was absolutely incredible.  revealing the quilts to these ladies that helped shape them.  praying for each one that would use them…and then wrapping them up.  aby dolinger is currently stationed in germany, so these quilts really did have to cross the ocean twice…what amazing work.  i also wanted you to see the detail, not only in the material, but the quilting itself.  go back and look closely.  will’s quilt had stars, megan’s quilt had leaves and hearts stitched all over it, and lexi’s had leaves and flowers…i just couldn’t get over the detailing…

which got me thinking about how our God also cares about the details in our lives, that He cares that there would be something tangible for mel and her kids to hold on to that belonged to bill…it’s just so amazing to me that it matters to Him…

amy, katie, and aby…thank you for using your gifts freely, for giving generously.  you’ll never know the depths to which these quilts speak…i’m not really sure any of us will…you’ve been a true encouragement to my heart…

melissa, will, megan, and lexi…as you wrap up in these quilts, may they be a constant reminder of the love your dad and husband had for you.  he will always be with you.  i’m so proud of you all…continue to run with perseverance the race marked out for you…always pressing forward.  i’m truly honored to call you friends…and thankful for the gift you’ve given me in capturing these moments…”

18 comments:

Meg said...

Oh wow...what an honor!

Tara G. said...

Beautiful! My mom is a quilter, so I can appreciate all you did- and as a military wife,too. Tears...

Suzanna said...

Those are so beautiful and what a special gift to give.

Mom in High Heels said...

What a lovely thing to do.

chris said...

what a treasure. god is good

Kelli said...

Wow...I'm speechless. What amazing friends and what a priceless gift. Thank you for sharing, it made my day! :)

Dixie Sargent Redmond said...

So beautiful. Tears in my eyes.

Debbie said...

What a PRECIOUS gift of love!! They all turned out beautiful and something they will treasure for the rest of their lives!!!

Kaye said...

Amazing! They're beautiful! Talk about bringing a reader to tears!

I so love this blog!

Ben and Emily said...

Beautiful! Such a touching story and gift.

Sa-Sea Boutique said...

those are absolutely amazing!!!!!!!!! and i loved reading woodbridge, VA, that is where I grew up! such a small world!

Fiona said...

Well done, these quilts are truely beautiful and to be made out of their father's shirts. what a lovely keepsake for the kids. thanks for sharing.

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

What a beautiful and lasting gift you ladies gave to this wonderful family. I'm sure it was a joy for you all too to be able to give them.

Rozi said...

*sniff sniff*

I had tears in my eyes by the end of the post. You ladies are all wonderful to give your time and skills to produce the beautiful quilts for them. Bless you all.

Valerie said...

Absolutely lovely. Blessing for you ladies and the sweet family who got them.

Anonymous said...

So lovely, thank you all for blessing this family.
My first quilt was for my Mother-in-law for her journey through Alzheimer's. A co-operative effort of the family members, it helped us all with our grief as she started to leave us.
Elaine

Cheryl said...

Absolutely beautiful...each one of them.
I too had the privilege this past year of making a quilt for a friend who lost her mom. The quilt itself was actually for her father to have, but it was such an honor to be able to give him something to wrap up in and remember her.
Thanks for sharing.

home inspection brooklyn said...

Lucky to visit this resourceful blog. Have a happy day.

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