Lessons From Quilting (1): Keep Your Focus

August 30, 2018
by Sharon Cook

I'm a quilter — some would say an obsessive one. I make dozens of charity quilts each year. If I've learned anything in all that sewing, it's that the needle follows the eye.

When I'm sewing two pieces of a quilt together, accurate quarter-inch seams insure a well-made quilt. I use a sewing machine attachment called a quarter-inch foot, which has an extension that helps me to guide both pieces of fabric under the needle at the right width. I must focus my eye on the edge of the fabric and the extension, not the needle, or my quarter-inch seam will soon be three-eighths or even half an inch — and that makes matching seams between blocks quite a challenge.

After the quilt top is ready, I add batting and a back, and finish it with decorative stitches using an attachment called a walking foot. Sometimes, I just sew a row of stitches from one corner of a block to the other, a distance of eight inches. I can either draw a line to follow or — my favourite method — aim for the opposite corner and start sewing (if you're a quilter, that may horrify you, but it works for me). However, the stitching will be straight only if I intently watch — focus on — the opposite point. If I doubt and peek at the needle or get distracted by something that catches my eye, I'll stitch a wiggly line.

Despite knowing the importance of using the attachments as they're intended and keeping my eye on my goal, my stitching is not always straight. I get distracted, don't pay attention, or am in too much of a hurry. I lose my focus.

Like my quilting, I can look back at my life and see where I didn't keep my eye on my heavenly goal or on my Guide, Jesus. I won't bore you with the details, but you can believe that I have had many wiggly lines and wavy seams in my history, times when I strayed from His will.

Psalm 121:1-2 – I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. (NIV 2011)

Mountains refresh me physically and emotionally. When we first moved to a mountain home, I found Psalm 121:1-2 and inscribed these verses on a board that I posted at our gate. The rest of the psalm assures me that God will not let my foot slip, nor will He slumber while He watches over me; He will be at my right hand and keep me from harm. He will watch over me, if I lift up my eyes to focus intently on Him.

Hebrews 12:1-2a – Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (NIV 2011, italics mine)

Like my eyes when I'm sewing, our focus on Jesus can so easily be distracted: hobbies, family, electronics, work. These aren't bad; in fact, some of them are necessary for daily sustenance. But if we keep our eyes fixated on any of these to excess, then our eyes are not focused on Christ. I want to do my best to fix my attention on what pleases Him, not the world. Want to join me?

Prayer: Father, help us to focus on You, not on the world and its seeming pleasures. Help us to look daily to You for guidance so that we will hear, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant," as we join You in heaven. Amen.

About the author:

Sharon Cook <craftercook@gmail.com>
Apache Junction, Arizona, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the good word, Sharon.


    Hi yes, yes, I will join you in keeping my eyes on Jesus.


    Awesome analogy as a quilter and follower of Jesus I can relate.
    Blessings.


    Thank you for sharing this devotional with us. Not being a quilter, your description of the process fascinated me. Praying that we readers will be equally fascinated with our Lord Jesus Christ. Blessings.


    Dear Sharon:
    Your devotional was so beautifully said, it came from our Maker I am sure!
    My mother was a quilter and I thoroughly enjoyed your words on quilting. Thank you.
    May our Great Lord bless and your family always.


    Greetings Sharon,
    Thank you for your very meaningful devotional this morning. I agree we can so easily be distracted by things and life can be so much better focusing and following Jesus.
    (B.C.)


    Sharon – I made my first quilt runner last year, so I can relate to your crafting analogy! It is so easy, for just a sec… that stretches out and out and out, to become distracted from the focus God has for us. Thank you for this devotional. I hope that it will not be the last that you write. May God continue to bless you.


    I really enjoyed your message today. I have done a few quilts. When younger I did a lot of sewing all my clothes and kids clothes, Prom and Wedding dresses. But now my machine just sits.
    My favorite verse which has gotten me through many trials is Ps.25: 4&5, especially after our accident, when I became a widow and when I was in the hospital for 5 weeks. At that time and even through each day this is my prayer.


    Hello
    Thanks for this devotional. So true and I too enjoy the mountains. I love to see Mt. Pico in all her majesty and cannot help but think of that same scripture Psalms as you quoted. When I look the other way, there are big hills and again that scripture comes to my mind. I cannot help but think of the power of God when I hear the waves of the ocean hitting the volcanic rocks nearby. So many things before us that God is right there. Praise God and thanks again.


    Hi Sharon,
    You have my admiration in many ways. Years ago I made a pillow because I thought after the kids were grown, I might enjoy quilting. Well, it turned out not to be for me. Instead I have enjoyed needlepoint. Not only do I admire you for quilting but your devotional was very appropriate and the examples were perfect.
    Thanks,
    (Texas)


    I am a quilter as well. I enjoyed your devotional today!


    Hi Sharon, I just finished reading your quilting devotional. I so love the fact that you can sew. I put that right up there with playing the piano (I neither sew nor play piano) and the way you tied your quilting technique to focusing on Jesus was very, very, good. I enjoyed that illustration so much. Thank you for your great writing, I enjoy it! God bless you.


    Dear Sharon,
    A friend at my church in Ontario, Canada forwarded your devotional to me which indicated that you are a quilter. In your devotional you connected the focus needed in quilting to your focus needed in your walk with Jesus. Keeping things in balance in life with our devotion to the Lord.
    I also quilt and love making quilted gifts for people as a part of my Christian walk with Jesus, and your devotional so touched me as I read the beautiful way you illustrated the need to focus on the goal in quilting, as well as in our spiritual life to focus on the Lord Jesus. Thank you. I know it will touch many quilters who read and immediately get the connection and understand of “focusing” on our goals and the Lord.
    Blessings,
    (Ontario, Canada)

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