Nancy Gemaehlich                                                                Word count: 575    
PO Box 291                                                                             First rights
Weston, Texas 75097
(214) 218-7398

"The Gift Quilt"
by Nancy Gemaehlich

Recently I had the joy of helping make and give a quilt to a friend who was going through a tough patch. This led me to ponder why it’s meaningful to give quilts to people experiencing challenges. What does the giving of the quilt “say” to them? What life giving truths does it convey? Four things came to mind: uniqueness, value, comfort, and enduring friendship.

One of the fun things about designing and making a quilt is just how unique the quilt can be. For my friend Heather’s quilt, it was my job to pick out the fabric. I scoured the aisles of our local sewing store piling bolts of fabric onto my cart. The hunt was on for a copasetic blend of aqua, rose reds, and rich coffee tones. We wanted to create a one-of-a-kind quilt that would match her style: fleur-de-lis prints, English floral patterns on rich colored backgrounds, and prints featuring God’s winged creatures.

The completed quilt was one-of-a-kind—as unique as my friend. Giving her a personalized quilt sent the message that she is special. In God’s grand design, there is no one like her. No one can take her place fulfilling the custom designed good works that God has ordained for her life. What better way to tell someone that they are special.

Another message that a quilt delivers to its new owner is that of value. Heather’s quilt took about 60 hours to make, giving it special worth. And every hour that we worked on her gift, we were thinking of her value to us. We know that her friendship in our lives is irreplaceable. The gift of the quilt is also a representation of Heather’s value to God. She is so precious to Him that he gave not 60 hours of time, but His only unique Son. The quilt spoke of her worth to God and to us. What a great way for you and me to share God’s love with others!

Some people like to hang their quilts on the wall to view, but I hope the recipient will use it. Wrapping themselves in a buttery, cotton quilt is such a tangible comfort. When someone is traversing a difficult life event, snuggling up in a cozy quilt may be just the encouraging touch that you can provide. As Heather pulls her gift quilt tightly around herself, God’s comfort and our friendship become tangible. 

Keeping quilts for a long time is very common. Many people pass them on as heirlooms. This enduring quality of quilts speaks of the treasure of enduring friendships. It shouts, “We are here for you, and we are not going anywhere.” This is a snapshot of our faithful God whose love endures forever. The gift quilt reminds its new owner that He will never leave them or forsake them. 

I don’t know who gets the most enjoyment out of quilting, the giver or the receiver. I think both parties are reassured of their uniqueness, their worth to each other, the comfort they can give, and the enduring relationship we have with each other and the Lord. So, go ahead, pull out your sewing machine, sign up for a class at your local quilting store, or start a quilting group at your church. You can make a difference in the lives of those around you through the message of your gift quilt.

"A Mother in Your Midst"
by Nancy Gemaehlich

One day at seminary in my Spiritual Formation group a woman was sharing her challenges regarding juggling her schedule. Another in the group said sympathetically, “Oh well, you’re a mother and then a student.” Her statement was profound. For many of the women on campus, while they are eager and diligent students—being a mother is still primary.

I include myself in this group as a wife, a mother, and even a grandmother. Though both of my children are young adults, my family’s well-being is primary. During my first semester at Dallas Theological Seminary both of my children had significant life issues to tackle, and naturally, I was involved. Yes, it temporarily made my studies more difficult. However, I was able to cycle back to giving my classes the attention they deserve.

One woman I know started seminary, only to have her dream put on hold for a season while caring for her aging parent. Another woman nurtures her four school age children while carrying a full load of classes. For many women in this season of life, it is true…they are mothers before they are students. Their families need to receive their care in order for things to be right in their world.

Does this mean that these women students are not able to give their studies due diligence? Or that their seminary experience is less important to them? Not, at all. It simply means that at times everything other than family has to go on hold or be relegated to the wee hours of the night. These priorities are a striking example of the love and commitment that God gives mothers for their families as an expression of Himself (Luke 12:6-7, Matt. 7:8-11, Jn. 3:16-17). These challenges are a beautiful reality in the Christian mother’s life as they pursue an education. 

The next time you meet a woman on campus rushing to take care of her clan, take a moment to appreciate that there is a mother in your midst pursuing her education.

Nancy Gemaehlich                                                                Word Count: 469
PO Box 291                                                                              First rights
Weston, Texas 75097
(214) 218-7398

"The Truth about Bitterness"
by Nancy Gemaehlich

Recently, I had the privilege of watching a friend do a compassionate and biblical act. She encouraged a friend going through a divorce to avoid bitterness. At the risk of being judged, she shared a time in her life when she allowed bitterness to take root, and the effect that it had on her and her children.

If we consider the destruction that bitterness can wreck in our lives and in the lives of those around us, we can appreciate her warning. She related that years ago while slogging through the heartbreak of losing her mother, a family member had lashed out at her with unfounded and hurtful accusations. Bitterness sprang up in her soul and took root. She tried to shield her boys from what was lurking in her heart. In hindsight, she realized that the resentment in her soul had seeped out, producing offense in their hearts, too. At times, they lashed out with the same anger and resentment that she was struggling to conceal.

The Bible graphically describes the effects of bitterness this way, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many (Hebrews 12:15 NIV).” My friend, Jennie, found out what many of us have not considered: our bitterness can infect those around us, especially those close to us.

Today, Jennie is free from the poison of bitterness. She is praying that her grown children will continue their stand against acrimony, as well. How can we recognize this invasive vice in our own life? The Bible describes it as a root that springs up. To discover if we are carrying bitterness, we need to check our root system—our heart. Specifically, we want to examine the part that is underground, that which we try to keep from the view of others. Through prayer, we can open our hearts and ask God to search us, helping us to unearth the root, so we can be free (Psalm 139:23, 24 NIV). Are we holding on to unforgiveness, hatred, jealousy? We can admit we are cradling resentment and chose to confess and repent of it. The Lord will walk with us and help us to find healing.

If your children have been affected, and they are old enough to understand, you can lead them in prayer and in the Scriptures, helping them to forgive and release their debtors. Colossians 3:13 is a good starting point: “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (NIV)” 
We are all susceptible to getting resentful. But what a wonderful gift it is for us and our family when we run to God to find freedom from the grip of bitterness. 

Articles: Samples
Nancy Gemaehlich 

Author & Freelance Writer