Monday, June 28, 2010

Mom’s Peddle-the-Treadle Ministry

The rhythm of the old treadle sewing machine was easily learned and in a short time, you could zip right along creating your garments. Early on, my mother taught me how to sew square blocks of material together using her machine. These squares were cut from what was left of the many school dresses, Mom sewed for my sister and me. These scraps became quilt tops for our beds! It gave us great pleasure to stare at the numerous small pieces of beautiful fabric and remember the dresses they had came from.

Our church’s Women’s Ministry group met bi-weekly to make quilts and other items for the missionaries. At home, mother would peddle away on her treadle machine, creating countless quilt tops for the church. Once a top was assembled, she would take it to church where the ladies would set it up on a quilting frame. Usually a blanket went inside, and was encased by yardage material for the back. As the quilt components were all in place, the ladies would sit around the frame and tie it off with yarn at each corner of the material blocks.

As a small child I can remember sitting underneath the frame and hiding there while the ladies worked. My children would later do the same thing.

The quilt was generally completed the same day of the meeting, and following a simple pot luck lunch, missionary letters were shared. Special prayer was offered for the family who would soon receive the gorgeous new quilt.

As I reflect on those small colorful pieces of material coming together to form something attractive and extremely useful, I am reminded of how different we all are. Jesus prayed that we would love one another and be unified in Christian love.

As we come together as a team, and minister in the place that God has called us to labor for Him, we become that beautiful and useful Church that Jesus had in mind as He spoke.

We are not all called to do the same assignment for the Lord. Some will be more visible, but others of us may be the warm blanket inside the quilt to give comfort to those needing a good word or offering help to others along the way. A number of us may be likened to the back of the quilt, just as needed and useful, but our job will not call for recognition from the masses, but only applause from Jesus himself.

There are times the Lord arranges for tangible rewards. One day a new sewing machine store opened in our neighborhood, and patrons were asked to enter a ticket in a drawing for a free, new sewing machine. The winner was announced, and it was my sweet mother! Because there were many dials and attachments to this fancy new machine, sewing lessons were part of the gift. For many years, my mother used this new machine, and continued to sew quilts, dresses, and other items for the missionaries. She was a quiet lady and worked for the Lord in the manner to which she felt called.

“Find your place and fill it,” was what my mother always said to me. That was excellent advice…and I am still following it today!

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