Greetings and Holy Kisses!
I've waited a very long time to share this story with you all.
I pray it blesses you and God is glorified.
Acts 16:14-15 "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, WHICH WORSHIPPED GOD, heard us; WHOSE HEART THE LORD OPENED, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us saying, 'If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us."
I read this passage of scripture over and over. Lydia worshipped God and He opened her heart. Reading that gives me goosebumps on my very soul. These words have sunk deep inside me and stayed. Over the days that followed, my life and ministry turned purple.
Sitting in my craftroom, my eyes gazed on a picture that my husband's Grandmother, "The Button Collector," had made. She'd pasted a snapshot of him inside an embroidery hoop, and then she sewed buttons all around it.
Turning it over, in her own hand was written: Grandma Bertha Engila Peterson Colwill was a button collector. Suddenly ... God made a distinction in my brain. Grandma wanted to be remembered for her buttons, and Lydia was a seller of purple. What did those two things share in common? Both were seemingly insignificant, yet "unique." From that moment on, God began to do something purple in me.
The Lydia Jar begins with three women meeting for coffee and bible study. My Mother, sister Diane, and myself, would get into the Word and God started revealing Himself. Diane, gave us each a piece of muslin and we created bible samplers. I enjoyed stitching symbols into my fabric depicting bible stories and verses that captured my heart. ~ I was sewing in the spirit!
I shared my sampler with my friend Debbie and she invited me over to look through boxfuls of sewing items she'd inherited from her own Grandmother. It was a treasure trove! Wooden spools of antique thread, pins, needles, vintage buttons, and old patterns that her Grandma had traced by hand. ~ While visiting, I discovered her Grandmother's name was... Lydia! Again, the well-loved scriptures flooded my heart.
It seemed a shame to box everything back up, so we found a jar and filled it with purple buttons, spools of thread, bits of beautiful lace, a silver thimble, and an antique brooch. It was beautiful!
I shared the Lydia Jar with my Momma and Diane, and together we made our own Lydia jars using antique fruit jars and our own purple buttons and baubles.
Realizing my interest for buttons, I logged on Ebay to learn more. Celluloid buttons, bakelite buttons, bone buttons... bone buttons? I wondered what kind of "bone" were buttons made from? I clicked Ask Seller Question, under seller Fancynancy1953 who had bone buttons for sale. I typed her my question and hoped for a reply. The next day she answered my email and said bone buttons were made from cattle and were Civil War era. She'd written such a friendly reply and my heart stirred. A GOD THING HAPPENED. I stayed up all night long embroidering a gift for a stranger.
On a square piece of muslin, I stitched Fancynancy "Her clothing is fine linen and purple. Proverbs 31" Below it my initials and the date, LS 10-20-03. God was moving.
I soon found out, Fancynancy was to become my kindred spirit and soul sister. Our paths were crossed by God. Funny too, because my primitive and humble sampler went to a woman who sews like an artist! Our friendship ignited! We both know and give glory to God that He destined our meeting. We were amazed at all the things God did to let us know it was really Him.
I sent her a Lydia jar, and at the same time, she sent me this crazy quilted teddy bear. The Lydia jars have printed calico for jar lids. Thee printed calico that I sent her on the Lydia jar was the same calico she sent me in the teddy bear! Neither of us could have possibly known, and we live states apart! Another God thing!
If the Lord said, "Send someone a Lydia jar," .. I sent one. He showed me it was His opportunity for witness and jars were going into several states!
To learn more about buttons, I joined the Arkansas Button Society. Doesn't that sound grand?!
I talked my Mom and Sister into joining with me. We sent off our dues and waited patiently to hear from the President of the Button Society! (We shared some great laughs over that!) Meanwhile, I kept sharing God through Lydia jars and my whole world turned purple! God was using a seemingly insignificant little life: (mine,) inexpensive buttons and gave it vibrant color. He led me into a purple ministry, centered around Proverbs 31:10-31. Reading those scriptures can sure inspire and set fire to an otherwise worldly mindset of womanhood!
God created me for a purpose. He created me to first be just like Lydia and WORSHIP HIM!
And His command is to share Him. I can still hardly believe He's used me in this way. I'm usually sorta quiet and shy. But He gave me a voice. A voice and a handful of buttons in an old mason jar and He said, "Share them. Share Me." I love Him and will share Him!
It's all beginning to fit together for me now. God's perfect timing. I'd started to write the Lydia Jar years ago, but it was for my own agenda. God's timing to do the writing part was not yet at hand. So I waited. Looking back, I see God was giving me His perfect time with my Angel Mother, and He blessed me to be with her when she stepped into His kingdom. He knew, I would then need time to grieve. He gave me "The Shabby Olde Potting Shed," and placed people in and around it to read His story. Using me... someone seemingly insignificant to share Him in living color... purple!
Many of the women I've shared Lydia jars with already know Jesus. We hand eachother buttons and baubles when the Lord stirs us, reminding eachother that God is faithful. Tokens of love to edify one another. Hebrews 13:3 says, "Encourage one another day after day."
There are many people out there who don't know Jesus as Lord. Giving them a Lydia jar is an easy way to break thee ice, and tell them God loves them. We're all commanded to share the good news. I encourage you to have fun sharing the Lord in whatever way He uses you... and become a woman of excellence! The worst thing that can happen is .... your purple MIGHT show!!
~Soli Deo Gloria!~
*If you don't know Jesus and want to have eternal life in heaven, it's easy and don't wait. It's not about how good you've been or what you have to do to get there. The bible says it's a free gift. You just have to accept it. Just talk to God and ask Him into your heart. Believe Jesus died on a cross for you and commit your life to Him. You are NOW a new creation and it's time to look forward and not back. He loves you!
Father God, please bless the person reading this. Please continue to guide them and help them become the person you created them to be. Thank you for loving us so much that You sent your only Son to die for us. We love you and praise your Holy name. Amen.
If you've just asked Jesus into your heart and asked Him to forgive your sins, welcome to the Family of God! You're now a child of the KING of the universe! WhoooHoOo~ I celebrate with you, my new sister or brother!
The bible says if you seek Him you WILL find Him.
If you don't have a church home, I pray you will find one because it helps so much in the world we live in to have people there for you,... encouraging you to live higher and better than you ever imagined possible. God bless you with my whole heart!