The Memory Quilt

A Christmas Story for Our Times

LIST PRICE $9.99
About The Book

A NEW HOLIDAY CLASSIC FROM NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR AND BELOVED SPIRITUAL LEADER T.D. JAKES

The Memory Quilt

Bishop Jakes weaves inspirational life lessons into this tender and touching tale, a thoughtful reflection on our actions throughout the giving season and all year-round.

Is there room in your heart?

Lela Edwards wants nothing more than to spend the holidays with her family. But her husband of fifty years passed away recently, her daughters live far from their old Chicago neighborhood, and her granddaughter, Darcie, is avoiding her grandmother for fear Lela will judge her decision to get a divorce. Irritated and lonely, Lela concentrates on the lessons of the Virgin Mary with her Bible study group and begins to piece together an unfinished quilt she set aside long ago.

The cold winter brings some unexpected rough patches for Lela and her loved ones. The closer she examines the Scriptures, the more she realizes how quick she is to find fault with the people around her. Lela soon discovers she has woven the Virgin Mary’s lessons into the handiwork of the quilt, a reminder that by following the guidance of the cherished story we revisit every December to celebrate the meaning of Christ, she can learn from her mistakes and find favor with God.

Readers everywhere will find an uplifting message of hope in this heart-warming story.

Reading Group Guide
Bible Study Guide for The Memory Quilt by T. D. Jakes Suggestions for Using The Memory Quilt The Memory Quilt can serve as a useful guide to direct and inspire your personal Bible reading and reflection. The book may also be used in a variety of group contexts, including:
  • Mid-week Prayer Service or Bible Study: During the Christmas season, use The Memory Quilt as a closing or opening activity during mid-week prayer service or Bible study.
  • Women’s Missions Society: Use The Memory Quilt to begin the meeting and set the tone for your Christmas season missions study. After opening the session, the leader or a member of the group should read aloud an excerpt from one chapter that touched her and study that chapter as a group. If you want to engage in a longer study of The Memory Quilt, plan a special Christmas gathering to study the entire book at a relaxed social holiday meeting.
  • Private or Church-related Prayer Group: Use The Memory Quilt as a focal point at your meetings leading up to Christmas.
  • Sunday School: Combine The Memory Quilt with a close-ended Bible study. Choose a Bible passage from The Memory Quilt as the focal point of study, and discuss elements of the story in that chapter of The Memory Quilt that help to expound on that passage.
  • Evangelism and Outreach: Use The Memory Quilt as an evangelistic tool to reach out to women who may be struggling with life circumstances during the holiday season.
Chapter-by-Chapter Christmas Reader Plan

Chapter 1
Questions for contemplation or discussion: In what ways do you identify with Lela Edwards? Can you relate to her life circumstances, family situation, church participation or relationship with God? How can you benefit from identifying with others, especially during the Christmas season? What other character in Chapter 1 do you identify with? Why? How have you been touched by divorce? How did Lela feel about not having made her granddaughter a wedding quilt? What are your personal reflections on this chapter?
Ornament: Think of ways the occurrences in this chapter parallel the life of the Virgin Mary. Then think of ways the occurrences in this chapter AND the life of Mary parallel your own life.
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, I know you have something fresh to teach me through Mary’s journey. Holy Spirit, open my heart to what I can learn from the woman you favored so highly. Show me how to become one of your highly favored women.”
Gift Scripture: Luke 1:37 “For nothing is impossible with God.”
Bible Reading: Matthew 1:18-25

Chapter 2
Questions for contemplation or discussion: Lela and Barbara have different approaches to life. How would you describe their individual approaches? How does the Social Security problem reflect their differences? What is your approach, and how has your personal style of approaching life evolved? Do you consider listening to the Bible on CD the same as reading the Bible? Why or why not? Do you feel it matters that the colors in the not-made quilt for her granddaughter are not Christmas colors? What have you never prayed for regarding your Christmas holiday? Lela “never made baby quilts. Quilts were far too precious to give to a baby, who would outgrow and not appreciate it anyway.” (page 27)  What have you felt is too precious for God to give to you?
Ornament: Think of ways that the pain in Lela’s right shoulder. What other unwritten pains might Lela be experiencing? Think of the pain in the life of Mary. How does the pain in your own life compare to theirs?
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord I feel ________________ is too much to ask, but I ask it now, knowing you are blessing me as one of your highly favored women.”
Gift Scripture: Luke 1: 38b “May it be to me as you have said.”
Bible Reading: Luke 1: 5-25

Chapter 3
Questions for contemplation or discussion: What do the dogs Smokey and Libby add to the story? How do Stefan and Alicia indicate the different approaches Lela and Barbara have to life? Does shopping play a larger or smaller role in your Christmases than in Lela’s?  Think of a situation in your own life that involves a “Ronnie” and the police. Why do you think Lela has not yet agreed to make the Angel Tree quilt?
Ornament: Think back on your most positive holiday experience in which a pet or other animal played a part. Shepherds made their living tending animals, and although it was a low-level way to earn a living, God chose shepherds as among the first to hear the announcement of the birth of Jesus. What ways have pets or other animals played a positive role in your spiritual life?
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, like the shepherds I glorify and praise you.”
Gift Scripture: Luke 2: 20a “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.”
Bible Reading: Luke 1: 26-38

Chapter 4
Questions for contemplation or discussion: How might seeing Eddie have caused Lela to again grieve her husband’s death and the loss of her marriage? How have quilts been associated with marriage down through the generations of Lela’s family? How does she feel about not having made a quilt for her granddaughter’s wedding? What is the nagging thought in her mind? What do you think finally makes Lela begin the quilt? From the glimpse we get of Deborah on pages 66-67, do you see any similarities between Deborah’s feelings about her relationship with Ronnie and Lela’s feelings about her relationship with her three daughters?
Ornament: Remember your best holiday seasons. What tangibles were associated with them that are traditions you no longer keep, and how were those tangibles both good and troublesome? What are the new practices that have come to be part of your holidays or could be?
Prayer Poinsettia: “Help me, Lord, to cherish past positives and I commit to you that I am willing to try new ways today and tomorrow.”
Gift Scripture: Luke 1: 46 “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
Bible Reading: Luke 1:39-56

Chapter 5
Questions for contemplation or discussion: This chapter reveals much of Lela’s family tree and the timeline of her recent family events. On page 84 we read, “ Lela knew her voice sounded reserved. But no one instantly gained her favor. It was bestowed like a gift.” Do you think Lela was this reserved before the events revealed on page 87?  What makes Lela think about Mary at the end of the chapter?
Ornament: Lela squirmed at her pastor’s words on page 75. Who did she think about? Who are your annoying, even scary, “neighbors” that you have not prayed for?
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, I can make it without anyone or anything, except you. I right now take the focus off myself, off issues I have with anyone else, off concerns about any situation, and place my focus totally on you and pleasing you.”
Gift Scripture: Matthew 19:14b “… the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Bible Reading: Matthew 19:13-15

Chapter 6
Questions for contemplation or discussion: How is the Social Security problem a metaphor for much of what has gone on in Lela’s recent life? Why do you think Lela and Barbara’s chance meeting of Deborah, and her news that “Ronnie’s glad Leo’s gone” and her admission that Ronnie is ADHD does not soften Lela’s heart toward him, even though her pastor’s sermon had pricked her heart?
Ornament: Those annoying, even scary, “neighbors” that you have not prayed for are the basis for God showing you mercy. List them and use the prayer below to pray for them
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, you know and love everyone and only you know the best prayers for me to pray for ______________, ______________, ______________, ______________, and ______________. I ask your Spirit to intercede for me as I pray for these people. I open myself to seeing them as you see them. I commit to making real efforts to love them and show them your love.”
Gift Scripture: Luke 1:54 paraphrased “God has helped his servant, remembering to be merciful.”
Bible Reading: Luke 1:54,55

Chapter 7 
Questions for contemplation or discussion: Barbara tells Lela she has “a negative spirit” and asks if she would like to talk, but Lela resists. When have you had a negative spirit during the Christmas season? Discuss or journal your reflections.
Ornament: Lela is now enjoying making the quilt; she’s on the second and third blocks. Draw your own diagram and sketch the blocks chapter by chapter. Put your own “subtitle” on each block as you continue to read.
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, I know that _________________________ reflects a negative spirit in me and I’m asking you to please replace that negative spirit with your Holy Spirit.”
Gift Scripture: Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.”
Bible Reading: reread Matthew 1:18-25 in a translation different than the one you used in Day 1, for example THE MESSAGE or The Amplified Bible. What difference insights are you able to gain from a different translation?

Chapter 8
Questions for contemplation or discussion: “For once she didn’t seem to be dressed as if desperately seeking attention.” This is how Lela viewed Estelle on page 118. How might a person who did not have a negative spirit have viewed Estelle’s change in wardrobe direction?

List the negatives about Mary, as the world would have viewed her situation:

_________________________

_________________________

_________________________

_________________________

List the positives about Mary’s character, starting with Donna’s on page 122:

_________________________

_________________________

_________________________

_________________________

Ornament: Have you experienced more problems in your life than usual since you began reading the Bible? Which attribute of Mary’s might help solve a problem if you imitated that aspect of her character?
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, I know that _________________________ (fill in the blank with an aspect of Mary’s character) would help me and I’m asking you to please replace my negative spirit with that aspect of Mary’s character.”
Gift Scripture: Luke 1:38a (King James Version) “And Mary said, ‘… be it unto me according to thy word.’”
Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Chapter 9
Questions for contemplation or discussion: Lela’s three daughters Tamara, Sylvie and Jean were different from birth. Reflect on how they were different and how Lela found room in her heart for all three as well as why Jean’s word about Walt hurt Lela. Why hadn’t Lela made a quilt for Ruth’s wedding?
Ornament: The sun had what kind of effect on Lela’s state of mind? Think back on how the weather affects you. What can you do on those not-sunny days to maintain a positive spirit? List 10 things. Ask friends to help you complete the list, if you need.

1_________________________

2_________________________

3_________________________

4_________________________

5_________________________

6_________________________

7_________________________

8_________________________

9_________________________

10_________________________

Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, I commit to putting into practice ________________ (name one of the items on your list above).”
Gift Scripture: Matthew 7:2 “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Bible Reading: Luke 2:1-8

Chapter 10
Questions for contemplation or discussion: The main action of book happens in this chapter. Describe and discuss or journal it.
Ornament: On page 152, Jean tells Lela, “Seems to me the only thing God asked her [Mary] to do was to have his child.” She then says, “I did what I believed God wanted me to do.”  What do you believe God wants you to do?
Prayer Poinsettia: On page 167, Lela prays “Lord, please help me.” What do you need to ask God’s help with?
Gift Scripture: Luke 2:10 “The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.’”
Bible Reading: Luke 2:8-21

Chapter 11
Questions for contemplation or discussion: In this chapter someone ends up in the hospital and someone dies. Discuss or journal your reactions to each. Why do you think Lela doesn’t pray, despite these dramatic events?
Ornament: How can doing what you believe God wants you to do prevent a situation like what developed in this chapter?
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, when I’m in the midst of a terrible situation, please show me how and what to pray.”
Gift Scripture: Jeremiah 31:16a “This is what the LORD says: ‘Restrain your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,’ declares the LORD.”
Bible Reading: Matthew 2:1-18

Chapter 12
Questions for contemplation or discussion: Lela feels so ashamed and guilty in this chapter, that when Barbara tells her to keep her soul elevated (page 183), she doesn’t comprehend it. What causes her shame and guilt? What does she do instinctively that helps keep her soul elevated? How does Smokey also help in that process?
Ornament: List the leisure activities that help keep your soul elevated.
_________________________

_________________________

_________________________

_________________________

Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, show me leisure pastimes that give you glory.”
Gift Scripture: Psalm 25:1 “To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul;”
Bible Reading: reread Matthew 2:1-15 in a translation different than the one you used in Day 11, for example THE MESSAGE or The Amplified Bible. What difference insights are you able to gain from a different translation?

Chapter 13
Questions for contemplation or discussion: What do you think was the most important way Deborah helped Lela? Lela said two short prayers in this chapter. What were they?
Ornament: What does this chapter teach you about your own situation during this Christmas season?
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, show me how NOT to make this Christmas about me, but about you.”
Gift Scripture: 1 Chronicles 16:35 "Save us, O God our Savior; gather us and deliver us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name, that we may glory in your praise."
Bible Reading: Matthew 2:19-23

Chapter 14

Questions for contemplation or discussion: What kind of quilt did Lela realize she was making? Who truly chose the kind of quilt she would make? Do you think Lela’s neighbor James followed his own advice or is he just talking and saying nothing?
Ornament: What would you do if you were in Lela’s situation?
Prayer Poinsettia: “Lord, show me what to do.”
Gift Scripture: James 1:5 “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
Bible Reading: Leviticus 12:1-8 and Luke 2:43-51

Chapter 15
Questions for contemplation or discussion: How has making the quilt been healing for Lela? Whose unlikely story is parallel to Mary’s?
Ornament: What is the overall message you’ve received from this book?
Prayer Poinsettia: Frame your own prayer based on the overall message you’ve received from this book.
Gift Scripture: Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Bible Reading: 2 Peter 3:8 & 9
About The Author
Photo Credit:

T.D. Jakes is the CEO of TDJ Enterprises, LLP; founder and senior pastor of The Potter’s House of Dallas, Inc.; and the New York Times bestselling author of Making Great Decisions (previously titled Before You Do), Reposition Yourself: Living Life Without Limits, and Let It Go: Forgive So You Can Be Forgiven, a New York Times, USA TODAY, and Publishers Weekly bestseller. He has won and been nominated for numerous awards, including Essence magazine’s President’s Award in 2007 for Reposition Yourself, a Grammy in 2004, and NAACP Image awards. He has been the host of national radio and television broadcasts, is the star of BET’s Mind, Body and Soul, and is regularly featured on the highly rated Dr. Phil Show and Oprah’s Lifeclass. He lives in Dallas with his wife and five children. Visit T.D. Jakes online at TDJakes.com.

Product Details
  • Publisher: Atria Books (November 2009)
  • Length: 240 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781439170472

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Raves and Reviews

…[Jakes] stitches the story of the Virgin Mary into a modern-day tale that's inspiring and warmhearted…sharp, sassy Lela is the real draw here. And as she stumbles and rights herself, Jakes achieves his purpose: teaching the Bible, gently. -- Kristi Lanier, The Washington Post

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