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Eagle Quilts: Creative Art Made God’s Message Resonate!

Creativity has been a fantastic teacher of spiritual concepts, not only over the years, but also THIS WEEK through the making of eagle art quilts! 

I used to embark on the creation of a spiritual art quilt with a concept I wanted to express, such as my approach to my “Freedom Quilt,” “From Heartbreak to Hope and Healing,” being “Led by the Spirit,” or “Let Spirit Flow.” All of those art quilts are on my website in case you’re interested in seeing them and reading a short blurb on each one.

This month, I’ve been making two Eagle quilts as gifts. In Hip Stitch, my favorite Albuquerque quilt shop, I was inspired by a photograph of a soaring eagle digitally printed onto high quality cotton fabric. The moment I saw it, I thought of Debrena Jackson Gandy, whose transformational courses I’ve participated in since January 2020. This weekend, we’re gathered at a Seattle resort to celebrate the courses’ conclusion. For years she’s used the eagle as a symbol of qualities she encourages us to embody. I can’t wait to present the eagle quilts as thank-you gifts this weekend. 

I’d heard a long list of eagle characteristics and loved the idea, but I still longed to embody the concepts. I’ve also enjoyed the lyrics of songs like “On Eagle’s Wings,” based on Psalm 91, in which God is the eagle. But after weeks of working on free motion quilting of eagles, one morning, I looked up lots of eagle verses on Bible Hub and pondered this one from Isaiah 40:31-32 (NLT): “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”

In a June 2023 post on Bible-Knowledge.com titled, “Traits of the Eagle and How It Pertains To Our Christian Walk,” Michael Bradly says that eagles soar high without flapping their wings. They do this with perfect ease on the wind currents, stretching out to their full wingspan. Indeed, they can die if instead of waiting for a good thermal, they expend their energy, flapping their large, heavy wings. Michael sees that the eagle’s wings represent our faith and belief in God, while the wind represents the Holy Spirit.

If you’ve followed me, you know I’ve flapped my wings too much! For decades, I struggled as a workaholic (whether for God or other reasons). My constant busyness drained me, even though I’m blessed with high energy. I’ve learned that’s the wrong way to live as a child of God, and that with the Holy Spirit as the “wind beneath my wings,” things go much better!

I’d been away from my quilting for months, so when I began working on the eagle quilts, I spent days trying to “figure it out in my head” and experimenting with rulers and tools I’d never used before with my mid-arm quilting machine. When I finally gave up on that approach, I truly enjoyed letting my quilting just flow, as I listened to “music to soar by.” I saw that ease is possible when I get out of my head and into my heart, spirit, and body! And that doesn’t only apply to my quilting!

Trusting God and especially relying on the Holy Spirit as the wind beneath our wings makes all the difference in fruitfulness, patience, peace, and joy—which along with love, are all among the wonderful gifts of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

I’m grateful for Holy Spirit-led experiences, but this quilting project reminded me how quickly I might slip into self-reliance instead! It’s crazy! Why should you or I ever think our reasoning could be better than God’s guidance?! For we know better: “Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord (Zech. 4:6).

But perhaps thinking our reasoning is better than God’s isn’t what underlies our not relying on God. When you KNOW what God’s guidance is, most Christians are inclined to follow it . . . unless it smacks up against some bondage that has a hold on us . . . like an addiction or a totally engrained pattern of response or bad habit. Those patterns may also be in the way of our finding out what God’s guidance is. 

For instance, if our energy is low from flapping our wings, maybe we neglect to take the time to perch like an eagle and wait for the perfect timing, or to perch in solitude with God to engage in a two-way conversation and get the direction and counsel we need. If we are greedy, we may not follow a prompting that costs us something. If we are arrogant, we may automatically assume we are right. If we are hesitant, we can be held back by fears or doubt, unlike eagles that are bold, courageous, powerful, and fearless

Let’s be like majestic eagles, perching, soaring at elevated levels, seeing things from a higher perspective, and seeking higher ground. Let’s be grateful not only for the wind beneath our wings, but also that we are God’s beloved children with callings planned for us before we came to earth. And now we have the Holy Spirit, not just around and supporting us, but living in us. The Spirit is present to lead and guide us, to sanctify and inspire us, and to strengthen us so that we might be used powerfully to fulfill our God-given calling. Let us soar and ascend, my sister eagles in Christ!

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