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Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Lydia Jar

Please Welcome Lea Starr and the Lydia Jar to the Cafe!

"And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city Thyatira, WHICH WORSHIPED 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."
Acts 16: 14 - 15

I read this passage of scripture over and over. Lydia worshiped God and He opened her heart. Reading that gives me goose bumps 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 craft room, 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 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; We 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 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 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. God used His still, small voice and told me to make a gift for a complete 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.
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, at the same time she sent a crazy-quilted teddy bear. The Lydia jars have printed calico for jar lids. Thee purple calico 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!

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 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 each other buttons and baubles when the Lord stirs us, reminding each other that God is faithful. Tokens of love to edify one another.

"Encourage one another day after day."
Hebrews 13:3

There are so many people out there who don't know Jesus as Lord. Giving them a Lydia jar is an easy way to break the 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!

In Him,

Join Lea daily at her personal blogspot, The Shabby Olde Potting Shed, where she can be found gathering purple!



Blogger Donna Kay said...

Hello my dear Christian sister,

Your words have touched my soul. As you wrote:

"Both were seemingly insignificant, yet "unique." From that moment on, God began to do something purple in me."

The word unique jumped off the screen at me. . .I had just re-read chapter 36 Made for a Mission in Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. . ."Your mission is both shared and specific" UNIQUE

I love how the Lord revealed things to you. Thank you so much for sharing. I want him to do something purple in me!

October 5, 2008 at 7:22 AM  
Blogger Denise said...

So beautiful my friend.

October 5, 2008 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger sailorcross said...

I love your story! It continually amazes me how God uses us "ordinary" people to do "extraordinary" things with our everyday items!!

Keep on being purple and blessed by God!


October 6, 2008 at 2:56 AM  
Blogger Heather said...

WOW! You are truely blessed. I am so touched by your story. Thank you for sharing.


October 6, 2008 at 10:16 AM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Somehow I missed this post until now...I just read the remarkable story of the beautiful Lydia jar...WOW!!! What a God-inspired idea and what a witness to His hand at work, because you listened for his still small voice! Thank you so much for sharing this. Your humble obedience has touched my heart!
Love & blessings,

October 29, 2008 at 10:09 PM  
Blogger Sue@CountryPleasures said...

I am honored to have gotten one of your Lydia jars, this story touched my heart and gave me chills, how neat is that, I love this story! Your a treasure Lea!

December 1, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

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