BY: SUNNY ORLY COFFMAN
Not unlike many other young ladies, when I was growing up, I had a favorite aunt. She and I could communicate when I couldn’t talk to anyone else. She always took a personal interest in me and tried to fill in the vacant places in my life in a lot of different ways.
I’m now in my early 20’s and expecting the birth of my first child when my aunt called me into her bedroom one day during a visit. She opened her cedar chest and pulled out a quilt top that had never been quilted. It was made of light blue and white squares and had embroidered scenes on each of the white squares. There was the figure of a person in different scenes and activities. I was thrilled to have something my aunt had made, but I did not pay particular attention to the individual designs on the quilt top. She explained to me that she had made the quilt during her only pregnancy when she was expecting the birth of her daughter, but when the child was born, she knew the quilt was not for this child. She kept it tucked away in that cedar chest all these years – more than 40 now. But when she found out I was pregnant, she felt so impressed to give it to me.
I brought home my new treasure and carefully placed it in my own cedar chest [a high school graduation gift from my Dad]. A few months later, I was blessed with my first son and assumed at some point that I would quilt, or have quilted, the beautiful gift from my aunt and utilize it in my own son’s room. But for some reason, it never seemed the right time to do that, so years passed and the gift stayed tucked away.
Years flew by and my precious aunt departed this planet for a more permanent address. My cousin passed away a few years later and I was led to see that their estate was properly settled, properties dispersed, etc. I took only a few things from my aunt’s home… one was her cedar chest. It is a solid wooden structure with thick metal bands – looking more like an old steamer trunk. I placed it at the foot of my own bed, oiled it well, and was led to refrain from opening it. I knew I was being tested with an act of obedience, and was given the grace to easily pass the test.
One March evening a year or so later, I had a friend over for dessert. We had shared a wonderful meal at a nearby restaurant and as we relaxed with our second cup of coffee, the thought came to me that today would have been my aunt’s birthday. I briefly told my friend the details of my relationship with this special aunt of mine and why this day was so important to me. As I shared some of these events with her, I had the distinct feeling that this was especially important and I searched for a photocopy of a page from my Grandfather’s Bible. It was confirmed to me that today would have been my aunt’s 100th Birthday. As this information surfaced, I also received direction to, at long last, open the chest.
My friend watched my child-like excitement as I opened the “treasure” chest and found so many wonderful, meaningful things. There were all kinds of embroidered table covers, crocheted doilies [all starched and ironed] – just waiting to be used. There were many treasures belonging to my aunt’s childhood. My aunt had no way of knowing the importance roses held in my own life, yet most of the lovely things she had made and tucked away had not just one or two, but three roses on them.
Long after my aunt’s passing, but quite a while before I received the green light to open the cedar chest, I was directed to establish Trinity Rose International Ministries. Even my secular endeavors were placed in another entity named Trinity Rose Industries. All of these treasures had been made without any knowledge of what the future would hold and without my aunt even knowing I would wind up with her cedar chest, but an unseen force seemed to have been directing her hands.
As I was enjoying the discoveries of the chest, I remembered the quilt top my aunt made 20 years before my own birth. It still lay in my own cedar chest. I shared how I had acquired this treasure with my visiting friend and went to find it and share it with her. But, much to my amazement, as I lay this beautiful treasure of handiwork out in my living room floor, I discovered that there was a story told by the squares displaying the female figure in her different poses, stages of growth, and various activities. And then I realized: the story told was my own personal history… very distinct stages of my own life were depicted in each scene. I began to play the saxophone as a young teenager, and so did this little person. Years went by after I graduated and I never touched a saxophone. But many years later, I picked it up and once again began to play. Both of these scenes were shown on the quilt. One of the scenes shows me pushing a baby carriage and worked into the scene is a distinct initial – it was my last name at the time my sons were born. In another scene, the little person is flying an airplane. In the late sixties, I went through a year of flying much with a friend of mine in ministry out in West Texas.
It was a special evening in my life to see the “Hidden Treasures” – the prophetic gifts God brought to me from the darkness of that old cedar chest. I’ll always be glad I had the pleasure of sharing that time with my dear friend, Lynette Malkey. It was only a short time later that she moved to her permanent address as well. But I have the memories of her own delight as she enjoyed watching me discover what God had reserved to share with me on this special evening of celebration.
THE QUILT [Sunny Orly Coffman] Year 1994 1