When my sons were little, I used to do cross-stitch and boy was I addicted! Every piece I made, I gave to someone who admired it, or I gave it as a gift to teachers, family, friends… you name it.
After looking around my home one day, I noticed I didn’t have anything to show my passion for cross-stitch. Not one piece of cross-stitch graced my walls. I didn’t even have finished projects waiting to be hung. I literally had nothing because I always gave all my cross-stitch away.
I decided to rectify this, so off I went to the craft store seeking a cross-stitch project I could proudly hang in my home. And oh, did I ever find a treasure! I found a cross-stitch pattern of an angel holding a baby that I JUST LOVED. This is it, I thought! This will be my masterpiece that will be displayed in my home. It will represent angels watching over my sons.
I bought the pattern and immediately got busy, spending every night working on the angel project right after I tucked my sons in for the night. I did my best work and even embellished it with better threads and made it 3D in some areas.
Each night as I worked on it, I’d tell myself THIS IS MINE, NO ONE IS GETTING IT. NO ONE!!! I don’t care what anyone says or how much they admire it, they are not getting it! Yes, I really did tell myself that each time I worked on it!
Then, one night, as I was working on my project and going through my little speech about how it was mine, I heard a voice. The voice said, “Give it to Paula.”
I asked, “Paula? I don’t know any Paulas!” I thought, wow, that was weird, where did that thought come from?
I went back to cross-stitching and reminding myself that this project was mine. But the voice repeated itself. “Give it to Paula.”
I put the cross-stitch down and asked again, “Paula? Who is Paula? I don’t know any Paulas!”
Then I thought, if this is the Lord talking to me, I need to find out who Paula is. I searched my memory of all the places I frequented and when I got to Relief Society (Our church’s women’s organization) I remembered a Paula. And then I remembered Paula’s baby daughter had died just a few weeks prior. I hung my head down and said, “Yes, I will give it to Paula.”
The pattern originally called for the baby that the angel was holding to be wrapped in a yellow blanket, but I had changed the blanket to blue because I had all sons. I knew what needed to be done. I unstitched all the blue thread and replaced it with a soft pink color to represent Paula’s baby girl. Even though I had done my best work for myself, I tenderly made sure that I did even better for Paula.
As a young military family, we didn’t have money, so I wasn’t able to afford a nice frame for the finished project. Heck, we couldn’t even afford a cheap one! Since I heard Paula and her husband were well off, I knew they would be able to afford a nice frame, so I taped the finished Angel project to a piece of cardboard and put it in a brown paper bag. Using the church phone roster, I called Paula to see when a good time would be to visit because I had something for her. She was intrigued and surprised since we only knew each other as acquaintances from the church group.
A few days later, I made my way to her home. She lived in a gated community for what looked like a place for millionaires. There were mansions everywhere. I found her home and presented The Angel Project to her with the whole story of how I came to do this project and then was instructed by the Lord to give it to her. She was amazed and very appreciative.
I left very soon after because I felt a little awkward. I mean, here I was, poor as a church mouse, giving my treasure taped to a piece of cardboard to a woman who could probably afford to buy whatever she wanted. I had heard their family had money, but I didn’t know they had THAT kind of money!
On the way home from that visit, I reflected on the meaning of the whole experience. Sometimes the Lord asks us to do things out of the blue, things we hadn’t planned on, or even things we didn’t want to do. For me, the choice to give the cross-stitch project to Paula was a no-brainer. A beloved child had passed away, and a mother was grieving. I’m sure most anyone would do as I did if called upon by the Lord to relinquish a treasure under those circumstances. But would I have done so if I didn’t know Paula’s circumstances? Giving blindly, not knowing a child had died? That would be a real test, I’m sure, and one I hope I’d pass. I was thankful for the experience and the testimony of hearing the voice of God talking to me!
About a year later, there was a church Christmas activity at Paula’s house. I’m always late for such things, so when I arrived, it was already crowded. After saying my hellos, I made my way over to the food table to grab a plate of goodies. Looking around, I didn’t see a place to sit, so I wandered to other rooms in Paula’s grand home. The kitchen, the dining room, and the front room were full of women, so I made my way to a room that looked void of a crowd.
It was the family room, den maybe where only a couple of women were. I entered and then I saw it. The Angel cross-stitch project was hanging over the mantle of their fireplace, matted and framed in the most exquisite frame I’d ever seen. It was stunning. Never would I ever have imagined a cross-stitch project could look so magnificent, but there it was, just so beautiful. It took my breath away as I stood there in awe. My project had been elevated to a level 1000x over. If I had kept it for myself, I wouldn’t have had the mind to matte it and it would be framed in a cheap Dollar store frame. Paula did it justice.
Not too long after the Christmas party, Paula tried to give me the framed project back, telling me that I worked so hard on it that I should have at least one piece of my own work for myself. As much as I was tempted to take it back, I told her no; the Lord said it was for her, and I couldn’t go against what the Lord requested. She understood and was again appreciative of the gift.
While typing up this memory, I again reflected on this deeply spiritual experience that I had decades ago, and a new revelation came to me. We usually assume that it’s people with money or means who can bless the lives of others less fortunate, but in reality, it goes both ways. Even the poor can bless the lives of the rich. God is no respecter of persons. He blesses all and teaches that we should too.
Annette, What a lovely and touching article by Dianne Taylor. So thought provoking!