A Handmade & Mismatched Quilt

Community is a handmade quilt. 

Pieces of fabric, joined together to create a beautiful reminder that you are not alone. 
It's something you can carry with you.
It provides a little cushion to the chaos and pain of life. 
It brings relief. 

While, I've never actually attempted to make a quilt, I know it takes a whole lot of effort. 
Depending on the pattern, a quilt can take a long time to make. 
Creating community takes effort too.
It can take a long time before you feel a part of community. 
And that community may look different depending who you are and where you are. 

Mine is a collaboration of mismatched patterns and designs. 
Unique in its own way, my community has been formed from fragmented pieces all pulled together to make a collage of encouragement. 
Since moving abroad, a few more squares have sewn onto my quilt of community. 
God has brought people into my life, building on those already there. 

For me, community looks:

Checking in on a tailor for more information regarding the unknown mass growing behind her ear. It's asking to pray for her - offering comfort in the midst of her anxiety.

Hosting a potluck with our neighbors living in the compound. It's the coming together of the 5 nations - Indian, Ugandan, Canadian, American & Korean. It's visiting well into the malaria-carrying-mosquito time of night. 

Visiting a friend after giving birth to a beautiful baby girl. It's bringing her a gift and welcoming her into the world. 

Being welcomed back from our two months away with hugs and greetings by dear Ugandan friends. It's catching up with life's trials and joys that happened while we were away. 

Spending a morning in town at a local coffee shop with a friend - discussing all things potty training, failed attempts at making sweet potato fries and checking out a new shop to buy replacement sandals. 

Waiting until your "game" friends come over so they can read the instructions and teach you how to play. This is what they do after all. They challenge your friendship while sipping tea and trying to steal your crew as they attack your spaceship.

Sharing tears with a friend, offering encouragement as they continue in their time of "waiting" for what's to come. 

Reminiscing with an old friend - laughing over the moments from years ago.  She was there, when and where it all began. It's a sweet reminder of God's leading us back to Uganda. 

Hosting and attending a weekly moms/play group with other expats living in the area - sharing advice on how to make cheese and which second-hand stall in the market has the best kids clothes. 

Receiving an encouraging word from a friend and member of our church back "home", that warms you and reminds you that you are not out here on your own. That you have a support base across the ocean. 

Finding a surprise package waiting for you at the post office from your best friend - filled with a handmade card, eggnog tea, and all things crafty and lovely. It's chatting while creating from across the ocean, with that same best friend via FaceTime. (It's not the same as sitting beside her, but I'm sure grateful for technology). 

Meeting a new person on Instagram and becoming friends through the distance, sharing similar struggles and joys living abroad. 

Reading life-giving articles and following blogs such as Velvet Ashes and A Life Overseas. It's connecting with missionaries who share their stories of serving the Lord in ministry, raising third culture kids and cooking comfort foods despite limited options for ingredients. 

A community quilt is handmade and handpicked, especially for you. 

Just as a quilt is made up of three layers: a woven cloth top, a layer of batting and a woven back - community is made up of others, God and yourself.
It's God who brings the pieces together.
It seeing each other through God's eyes that provide opportunities for friendships to grow. 

Remember, you are also a piece of fabric in someone else's quilt.  
Be comfort to someone. Be encouragement to someone. 
Take the first step in building community with another. 

Traditionally, quilting itself was a communal activity.
In homes, scraps of fabric were saved and would be used to create these works of art.
A quilting bee brought people together to commemorate major life events. 
Whether creating a quilt or creating community, it takes time and it takes effort. 
It's both a working process and a work of art. 

Rest on that and slowly add as you go. 

"For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them."
- Matthew 18:20


* Linking up with Velvet Ashes on the theme "Community"
* Information on quilting: Wikipedia.


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