4.13.16 Northern Indiana


The final Show and Tell for the week was over. Mom and I had traveled three days across the north west part of Indiana for me to share the story of the Immanuel Quilt to four different women’s groups. We were ready to get home.  All the equipment and supplies I need to speak were packed in their appropiate bags ready to be put in the car. But then…I couldn’t find my keys.

Every bag was emptied looking for the lost keys. My purse, the quilt bag, the computer bag, the card bag, the projector bag, the quilt rack bag.  No keys.

Mom, too, took a turn searching.  No keys.

We checked Mom’s purse, our coat pockets, the restrooms, the trash cans, and the napkins inside the trash cans. No keys.

Numerous times we went to the parking lot searching for that which was lost. But, no keys.

The guests at the event was asked to check their bags, but no extra keys were found.


Eventually, all the venue workers and guests of the day went home.  Mom and I were left on the grounds alone, with no way to enter the car, and no nearby business or restaurant to walk.

I had to make the dreaded call; the call to my husband asking him to bring me the extra set of keys.

The Bible says…

“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.”  Psalm 145:8 (NKJV)

My husband is a man slow to anger, but, I knew I was about to see just how full of compassion and mercy he truly was. I was 140 miles from home…two hours away!


Getting Tom on the phone and explaining our situation, if frustrated, he hid it. He demonstrated well the words of Psalm 145:8. Mom and I only needed to wait for two-plus hours for Tom’s arrival.

I thought to call a locksmith. The man came, he opened the door, for a hefty fee. We weren’t going to have to stand outside in the cold waiting.  We were hoping to find the keys inside the car, but they weren’t there.


During the afternoon luncheon, a woman asked me to pray with her.  She left the luncheon with another woman, leaving her car in the parking lot. Just as the locksmith was pulling away the two women pulled into the parking lot, and recognizing us, asked why we were still there. After explaining our situation, she invited us to her home for a more comfortable wait and visit.

There was no fear. I felt connected to the lady after having prayed with her earlier. So, Mom and I got in her car and off we went.

I did let Tom know what we were doing, and I assured him we would be back at the car by the time he arrived. However, we were having such a nice visit, time got away from us. Tom arrived at the venue, and we were not there. Let’s just say I was giving my husband another opportunity to demonstrate his kind compassionate heart.


Instead of getting home at 6:00 p.m. we got home at 10:00 p.m. One last time before going to bed I dumped the contents of my purse.  Guess what I found. My keys!

Oh, how I dreaded confessing this finding to Tom.  It doesn’t matter how much mercy and compassion you have been shown in the past, confessing isn’t easy.

I know you must be most curious as to how my husband reacted to the good news. Well, let’s just say probably the same as your spouse would.

No longer hiding his annoyance he questioned how I could have missed seeing the keys inside my purse.  He thought we could have at least seen them when dumping my purse the several times that we did. I was grateful for the fresh illustration that had happened earlier in the morning.

Tom was looking for the checkbook and could not find it. I came in and found it exactly where it is always, in the drawer. For some reason he didn’t think the two scenarios were quite the same. Perhaps it was the 280 mile round trip that was making the difference.

All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. -Romans 8:28

This would include the aggravation of me losing, or being unable to find my keys.


When we were taken to the woman’s house, she asked that I tell her husband the story of the Immanuel Quilt. The entire story. And he saw the handprint of God upon the quilt. He was amazed by what God had done.

In all honesty, I wish this was a chapter of my journey I could erase.  But, I can’t.  It’s part of the story..for a purpose.

Was it for the husband of our angel of mercy to hear the story of Jesus in a unique quilt?

Was it to teach a lesson on humility?

I suggested to my husband that this encounter may be a sign that if he is going to end up where I am anyway, he might as well travel with me. I, however, believe the key purpose behind this encounter was to highlight…

“The LORD is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.” He is the One to whom we can always call and know will come and redeem us.

Thank you, Tom, for your grace, your compassion, and for allowing God to use you to teach us about the redeeming love of God.

(If you would like to listen to a sermon message my husband gave using this story to illustrate his point, you can listen to it here.)