GOD’S QUILTING LESSON by Narita Roady

Did you know that God can quilt? I didn’t either until it was seven days before our daughter Aimee’s seventeenth birthday. Our money was tight, but I wanted a special gift. A brilliant idea struck. . .or so I thought. I would piece sachet tops, quilt them, and make a Bible cover. Each sachet would be 3” x 3” and contain nine pieces.
As Jerry figured the total sachets needed, he asked, “Are you sure you want to do this? I will take 24 of them!” I tried to hide my anxiety, and began cutting out the tiny pieces. They totaled a whopping 216! Doubt and a large lump in my chest grew.
Not helping matters, our daughter Amber said, “Mom haven’t you bitten off more than you can chew? You have only five days to make it? I gave her a menacing growl, but secretly agreed with her.
Sunday and Monday I was sick. There were still meals to prepare, laundry, ironing, and cleaning in addition to Aimee’s gift. Not to mention it had to be done without her knowing as we lived in a small 780 square foot home! As I lay in bed, I prayed the Lord would “raise” me up like He had Lazarus.
That afternoon I tackled my mountain of minuscule pieces. My head felt like Pooh Bear’s, “all stuffed with fluff.” I realized only two pieces could be sewn and pressed at a time. By 2:00 am. I felt like calling 911!
Once they were put together, the pieces swayed like the old pattern, “the drunkard’s path”. Georgia Bonesteele I wasn’t! “It looks awful!” I whined.
“It will be alright when you quilt it,” Jerry said in a tone a husband uses when he’s trying to calm a distraught wife. “Come to bed and work on it tomorrow.” Exhaustion won and I followed his advice.
The next morning, another monster loomed before me. I had to quilt 672 sides ranging from a half inch to 1 inch in length! Progress was slow; the stitches had to be very tiny, and they were looking quite awkward and uneven. This sure wasn’t what turning out to be what I had in mind!
As I worked, I remembered when Aimee was born. We pictured ourselves becoming the perfect parents. Just like my Bible cover I was making, we thought we knew things would turn out “just right”, but that isn’t how life works is it? Time forced us to view parenthood realistically, with its flaws and failures. There were so many mistakes.
We loved Aimee very much and wanted our birthday gift to be perfect to show her that love. Just like our lives with her, we never wanted to make any mistakes. We’d worked hard at teaching her God’s Word and His Ways. In spite of our errors, Aimee knew we loved her.
I realized that this Bible cover would show our love, despite all of its imperfections. I hoped the weak spots would hold. They weren’t noticeable unless I pointed them out. Just like Aimee, when she is grown. God will strengthen the weak spots from our blunders as parents and they will not be as noticeable because of Christ living through her.
I was feeling better. I finally finished the Bible cover. It was beautiful but not perfect, just like our precious daughter. I thanked the Lord for helping me, saving me, and loving me enough to overlook my imperfections. For continuing to mold me, piecing my life together and mending it each time I mess up. I was grateful for the lesson He had taught me as I made Aimee’s present. He had taken the gift I was making and turned it into a gift for me!

Earlier this month Aimee and I were going through a cedar chest and I found a Bible cover with a cross stitch she had made me years ago. I asked her about the one I wrote about and she said she still has it.
This was the second article I wrote and published in the Oklahoma Baptist in June, 1993. (The first was written as a testimony when I was 18 years old.) I did make a few small changes to the original.
I find it ironic that even though it was written 20 years ago, it was published in the same month Jerry passed away this year. In spite of my and Aimee’s “imperfections” I still see the strong thread of God’s power and love running through our lives. She continues to be a wonderful gift from God! I love you Aimee!

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, September 2013

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“WELL DONE THY GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT” by Narita Roady

On June 11, 2013, at 11:59 p.m. Jerry Glenn Roady left this life and met his Lord and Savior. The man who had lived through incredible health challenges, predictions of early death and according the doctors was to be confined to a wheel chair for life; died of a kidney stone. Many would look at it as ironic or a tragedy after all he had faced, but I know without a doubt, he died of no particular cause. His death resulted in the Lord saying, “Time to come home Jerry and be with Me.”
I was reminded of when he had his first bypass surgery at the age of 25 and showed faith and courage way beyond his years. I was left to share the doctor’s dire diagnosis of a much shortened life as they could not bear to give a young man such tragic news. I sat crying and he lay in the bed very calm. I asked him, “Aren’t you afraid?” He answered, “No, because if I am to live to 80 I will live inspite of heart disease, and if I am to die at 31, I will die whether or not I have heart disease. Don’t you see? It won’t be heart disease that takes me, it will be the Lord.” His words all those years ago proved true.
Many of you have faced this same journey and understand all I am facing. It is as if I have started on a trip in the blackness of night, in a car with no headlights and I have no idea where I am going. My heart is broken and I feel as if I have been cut in half. No words can express my pain.
Yet I know it is a part of life we must all face someday. I know without a doubt it was Jerry’s time to go to his heavenly home. God never says “oops”. I know having him 5, 10, 15 or 20 more years would not have been enough and I would have been right where I am at now. Not even knowing that it was my last day or week or month with him would have helped, for there is no way we can ever give enough hugs, kisses and words of love.
I praise God for everything as He is carrying me every step of the way from the last night in ICU to right now. I feel the prayers of others. At the same time I have experienced Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
In the midst of such paralyzing sorrow, there are things I find joy in and thank the Lord with a full and grateful heart. I would like to share these with you.
1. I was the ONE blessed to have Jerry as my husband, best friend, soul mate, and pastor. My daughters were blessed to have him as their father. I never met a man so Christ like. I don’t know how many times people would comment on how they could see Christ living in and through him.
2. I had almost 41 1/2 years with him. Nothing short of a miraculous testimony of God’s mercy and love, considering at the age 25 the doctors gave him 6-8 years to live. The doctor that actually saw his heart and held it in his hands said Jerry had the heart of a 75 year old man. In his unfailing sense of humor the first time he went to the pharmacy for a prescription he asked if he could get the “senior citizen’s discount”. I have thanked God for every year, every anniversary, every birthday and I will continue to even though there will be no more.
3. Although he had many medical challenges he lived his life as a well man. He lived life to the fullest for many years without many of the physical hindrances most would experience. Yes there were difficulties and pain but in his courage he made it look simple to those around. He lived life to the fullest and enjoyed doing the things he loved.
4. I was part of an amazing ministry and knew a giant among Christians intimately. I am saddened that I will never hear another sermon or lesson or hear him pray for me, but I have all that he taught me about God and His Word in my heart. I am forever changed by the person he helped me become through his example. He truly lived what he taught and professed.
5. Jerry was happy and active up to the day before he died. He worked in the yard, moved a huge potted plant around, arranged lawn timbers for a palm garden he had laid out in the front yard and moved heavy rocks with no difficulty. He had great joy and future plans for so many things for his family, his church, and his home.
6. This one may sound strange, but I thank the Lord in how He took him. I had prayed for many years, “Lord, when you take him do not let him suffer and linger. Take him during a surgery or in his sleep. Also Lord, I know it will be you that takes him as you are the Giver and Taker of life, but as a special sign for me, don’t let his defibrillator work or something like that.”
It may have been a silly prayer to some but a sincere heartfelt one on my part. The week before he was in the ER for bronchitis and a cough, and his EKG was so normal that the doctor other than looking at his information didn’t know he had a heart condition. I cannot tell you the last time he had a normal EKG.
A couple of weeks before he died his defibrillator were checked and it was fine. On his last day in the hospital, in all the times his heart had irregular beats and stopped it never worked once, which was very puzzling to the doctors. As soon as he died it began giving discharges. For many this might be disturbing but it gave me peace. It was his time to go be with the Lord. As our daughter Aimee said, it was his time to go receive his rewards of his Heavenly Father.
7. I know he was ready to go. The Sunday before he died I had nursery duty and missed the sermon. I found it on his computer. He had preached about grief and sorrow, and how God longs to comfort us. After reading it I realized, unbeknownst to him, he was preaching it for those he would leave behind. A few weeks after his death Ashley remembered in the sermon he said, “I can say this because Narita isn’t in her; it upsets her when I say it.” ( He had said this a few months earlier in a sermon and afterwards I had told him not to be saying that!) “I am ready to go to heaven right now. I am so excited about going and seeing my Savior. The only thing holding me here now is Narita and the girls”.
I know Jerry lives on in perfection and joy with the One that created and loves him more than I ever could. I know I will see him again and live for eternity with happiness we could never have experienced here. I rejoice at what he is gained but grieve in my loss.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, it is difficult to express my gratitude for the out pouring of prayers, love, cards, and calls. Thank you so much to the B.M.A of Oklahoma for your support and making the transition of all the financial information. Jerry loved serving as Mission’s Director. He loved the B.M.A. of Oklahoma and so enjoyed all opportunities he had to visit with all his brothers and sisters in Christ. Please continue to pray for me and our family. I am not strong but my Lord is.
I would like to share with you the scripture the Lord led our daughter, Amber to when we were searching for a scripture for the funeral programs. I truly believe this perfectly describes Jerry, his ministry and his life.
But thou hast fully known my doctrine,
manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
Persecutions, afflictions, . . .
what persecutions I endured:
but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
2 Timothy 3:10-11

Published in the Oklahoma Baptist Newspaper, August 2013

Today would have been Jerry’s 61st birthday. I wanted to wish him Happy Birthday on his first birthday in Heaven. But then I realized it is only his “would be” birthday to us. He no longer has birthdays but eternity. I can picture his smile, his laughter, his jokes ( and seriousness) about being the “birthday boy” and all the privileges (many he made up along the way LOL) that went with it. His joy at celebrating another birthday. Today I celebrate that I had him as my husband and best friend, but I cry because I miss him so much. I thank God for his life and giving him to me all those years. My tears are selfish tears for me because I know his unimaginable joy and happiness surpasses any party or gift we could give him here. I love you Sweetheart and will forever.

Where Lilacs Still Bloom By Jane Kirkpatrick

Ms. Kirkpatrick is one of my favorite historical fiction authors! I love the way she takes true stories and solid historical facts then seamlessly weaves in fictional details. This is based on the true story of Hulda Klager a German immigrant with only an 8th grade education. What she lacked in years of schooling she made up for in her God given genius in horticulture.
Her love of plants came from her father. Her first “mission” was to develop a larger apple that tasted great and peeled with ease. All because she wanted to be able to make apple pies faster! After many years she accomplished her goal.
Her next passion was to produce a specific new color of lilac that also had more petals that the standard lilac. Once that was accomplished she continued to work with her favorite flower until she had created 100’s of other varieties.
She achieved this while caring for and raising a family. Her massive flower garden began to attract attention far and wide to the point they had 1000’s of visitors each year. She truly earned her name, the “Lilac Lady”.
While Hulda’s story itself was fascinating I found some very important lessons to be learned from her life. One was her amazing perseverance. Her beloved plants were stomped by animals and a different times flooded by the nearby river. Each time she dealt with the damage and start again. The last time a flood completely destroyed her garden to the point all that was left was some large trees. At the age of 83 she started over. Now that is faith and determination at its greatest!
She also faced opposition from her pastor and others in pursuing her dream. They felt she was “tampering” with God’s creation. Guilt plagued her that she was spending too much time on her flowers and neglecting her family. Each time she faced opposition within or without, she turned to God for her answers.
Her strong faith brought her through many painful losses of those she loved. Again she turned to the Lord for her strength and guidance.
Hulda never wanted to “get rich” and was even resistant to selling her hybrids to companies and individuals. She just wanted to share the flowers she loved so much. Not once even when fame came her way did she grow prideful in her success. She remained humbled and very much in awe at the attention she drew.
I believe she was able to continue on and leave such an amazing legacy because her focus was always on her Lord and the task she believed He had given her.
Hulda died in 1960 at the age of 96. Today you can still visit her gardens that have been restored and maintained. Many of the lilacs she planted are still there. After reading the book I want to purchase a Hulda Klager lilac! An interesting and entertaining book that will inspire you in your faith!
Be sure to go to http://www.jkbooks.com/ and check out more of Jane Kirkpatrick’s wonderful books!
I received this book free from Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

The Winnowing Season by Cindy Woodsmall

The Winnowing Season
by Cindy Woodsmall
I must say this series is addictive! This is the second book in Ms. Woodsmall’s Amish Vines and Orchards Series. While it could be read as a stand alone book, you won’t want to miss reading book one, A Season for Tending.
Needing a fresh start, (so as not be a spoiler, I will not reveal why!), the King brothers, their sister, Rhoda & Stephen Byler and his family decide to leave their close Amish community in Massachusetts and venture to Maine. There they and other families buy and purpose to bring back to life an abandoned orchard. With no Amish settlement there they must begin one before others can follow.
They knew it was a challenge but never dreamed how big of a one it would really be! As if reestablishing the orchard, renovating the farm house, and dealing with everyone living in one home was not enough, their relationships with each other become very complicated. Rhoda was looking forward to continuing her courtship with Jacob, but he mysteriously keeps having to leave and will not reveal why. Where is he going and why won’t he tell her? Troubling Rhoda even more is the drastic change in Samuel whom she looked as a friend. He avoids her and is very unfriendly. She begins to wonder if she made a mistake by moving.
To make matters worse Rhoda finds her Amish kindness and patience with teen girls who continue to be found trespassing on their property results in her being a victim of lies and being investigated by the police! The next thing they know the press is involved and making visits and their simple way of life is turned upside down. At this point Jacob is forced to reveal his secret which necessitates him have to stay away even longer to avoid the law. The stress would be overwhelming for anyone but especially the very private Amish.
The story really put me on the edge of my seat and I began to wonder was there any way for the multitude of problems to be resolved and the new settlement make it. I love the way each character that is in such turmoil finally yields to God individually and lets Him guide them. As in our Christian lives, the Lord’s answer is not to fix the “other people”, but for each one of us to recognize the truth about ourselves we are failing to see.
I could identify with their discouragement, frustrations, and hopelessness. That heavy heartedness that can settle on you when you are overwhelmed by problems and you just don’t see how God can ever fix the mess you are in. The story was so true to life in that the answers He presents us with and the choices we must make may be very hard. Yet those hard choices bring the peace we seek and a solution to the difficulties we face.
I found this book very entertaining on many levels and uplifting in the spiritual lessons it illustrated through the lives of the characters. I can’t wait to read book three!
I received this book free from Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Finding the Good In Grief By John F. Baggett

When I chose to read this book to review, little did I know I would face the greatest loss and the most painful grief I have ever experienced. My wonderful precious husband died unexpectedly just a month or so after I received it. It is one thing to read a book thinking you will go through loss someday, but it is quite another to read when you are a facing raw grief head on.
Mr. Baggett knows the heartache of personal grief. He writes from his own heart wrenching experience of his intelligent, talented teenage son being drastically changed by schizophrenia.
I have been reading a lot of books on grief since my husband died and this one isn’t like the others. The style of writing allows the reader to apply it to their grief experience, be it the loss of a loved one, divorce, loss of health or finances and more. Instead of focusing on the pain and well-known stages of grief you hear so much about, the author gives you steps (I like to look at them as tools) to work through and overcome your grief.
These are:
Trust God and Rely on Others
Choose Reality Instead of Illusion
Resist Temptation to Get Stuck
Recognize Moments of Grace
Discover New Meaning and Purpose
Under each of these are emotions and experiences you will confront. He gives you scriptures and spiritual insights that allow you to see through the pain that can distort your thoughts and increase your agony.
The author does a wonderful job of illustrating these points with fictional stories of characters facing different types of bereavement. I liked the fact that although each one had a specific circumstance, the information could be easily applied to any loss.
At the end of each chapter are scriptures and questions to help you apply the truths to your life and situation. I appreciated the fact there were lots of scriptural references. God’s Word is our only answer to any problem. Grief was viewed from a spiritual stand point, not just a physical and emotional one. As a very new widow, I found this book helpful, encouraging, and comforting.
I received this book free from Kregel Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are