Have you ever seen the UK TV series “Call the Midwife”? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0118t80) If so you may remember the episode when our favourite midwife, Chummy (played by the wonderful Miranda Hart http://mirandahart.com) was desperately poorly after having given birth to her own precious baby. The nuns, through their love and concern for her, crocheted a beautiful blanket over which they prayed silent prayers of healing within every square. Upon completion, they tenderly laid the prayer blanket over Chummy as she lay close to death and sat alongside her through the darkest of nights. Those prayers were heard and answered and Chummy survived much to joy of her adoring fans.
This episode aired during the time I was waiting for my transplant and getting increasingly worse. I was so moved by what I saw. The idea of being literally covered in a blanket of prayer was an incredibly powerful image and spoke straight to my aching heart and soul. “Absolutely loved Chummy’s blanket!” I wrote on Facebook. Just that, a throwaway line or so I believed at the time. But unbeknown to me, my lovely friend Stephanie, picked up on it and decided to act. She contacted church friends who could crochet and knit and asked them to make squares so that I too could have my very own prayer blanket. I was totally unaware (and it takes a lot to get past me!) until I was presented with a beautiful blanket at our Easter Sunday service in 2013 (Blimey, almost 3 years ago! Where does time go?) And it was huge! Word had spread and not just my friends, but complete strangers had contributed. Adding their own prayers for healing, blessings, peace, love for me and for my family. I was completely overwhelmed and almost , but not quite, speechless. (Speechless, in hindsight wouldn’t have been a bad thing as I gushed out some kind of words of thanks that would have rivalled a Kate Winslet Oscar speech)
That beautiful prayer blanket, made by beautiful people, has been in daily use in our home since. On the days I was too ill to move, it cocoonned me, surrounding me with God’s love and promises and hope. My boys and even our dogs have chosen to rest on it or under it and whilst I was in surgery for 13 hours having my transplant, Colin slept under it whilst waiting for the call from the hospital to say all had gone well. A powerful gift, truly treasured.
And the story doesn’t end there, it grows, it gets bigger. It has become a ministry within our church. Stephanie started to receive requests from people wanting a blanket for their loved ones and many more blankets have now been made and handed out to people who are sick, dying or in need of comfort. Made by incredible people, with incredible hearts, using creative ways to reflect and share the love and heart of an incredible God.
Kind of apt to share this on Valentine’s Day, don’t you think?