The Story Behind The Story Blanket Of Hope
One Friday morning in late October 2017 a cold front blew through in central Texas. I was enjoying my usual morning routine when God’s voice unmistakenly blew through my spirit. As I sipped on my cup of coffee and read from my Bible study book with the comfort of a blanket and my dog snuggled next to me, God spoke. I heard it as clear as if He was sitting right next to me.
Listen to me. People need hope!
I listened, and I listened…and listened. Within a matter of fifteen minutes, the Story Blanket of Hope idea was conceived. Not by my own mind, but with the help of the Holy Spirit clearly conveying an idea I don’t think I would have ever conceived on my own. Here’s the conversation I had with God:
“Ok, God. I agree. People DO need hope. How can I give them hope?”
“You’ve met many women with encouraging stories of the hope they have in Me and how that hope has helped through some pretty difficult times. These kinds of stories need to help more people.”
As I sat snuggled in my blanket, I began thinking of how cold it was outside and the kind of people who could use a blanket. Homeless people could use a warm blanket. That thought led me to think about why I like my blanket so much, even on hot Summer days: it’s comforting. A blanket would give a homeless person warmth and comfort, but how could it give them HOPE?
“A blanket with encouraging stories of hope attached to it will give the homeless all three things: warmth, comfort, and hope.”
“That’s a great idea, God! But how do I obtain multiple stories of hope for this blanket?”
“Think of it like a chain letter. Ask for people to donate blankets to you. Attach a sheet of paper to the blanket, instructing the person that receives the blanket to write and attach their encouraging story of hope on the blanket before passing it along to someone else with instructions to do the same. After at least seven stories has been attached, anyone who receives the blanket after that can give it to a homeless person.”
I had an urgency to get this blanket started. I didn’t want to wait one moment. It was cold outside and homeless people are in need of warmth, comfort, and hope. As much as I didn’t want to wait, I knew I needed to get a solid plan together for this blanket. There were details that needed ironing out. I reached out to my friend Virginia, whom I consider a mentor. I knew I could count on her for help in figuring out the details of this idea.
The question was “how will the stories be attached to the blanket”? I thought either pinning them on the blanket or attaching a sturdy ziplock bag to hold the stories would be acceptable. I mentioned to her that it would be neat to have something with pockets to hold the stories and wrap around the donated blankets. Virginia ran with the idea of pockets and whipped up a blanket of pockets. This is a warm blanket and doesn’t even need a donated blanket to go with it.
This pocket blanket is perfect for the stories, as well as other small items people may want to put in the blanket. This will be the first blanket to be distributed. What a nice gift it will be to a homeless person!
While the pocket blanket is pretty cool, I have no seamstress skills and it would be way too time-consuming to ask any one person to sew a blanket like this. I’m asking volunteers to sew blankets such as this but will also use ordinary donated blankets with ziplock bags attached to hold the stories.
As part of the traveling blanket instructions, I’m asking those that receive it to email me their stories (only if they want to) and I will post those on Instagram as the blanket circulates around. Whoever gives the blanket to a homeless person will be HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to snap a picture of the blanket with the person who received it.
In the end, more than just a homeless person will receive stories of hope. The people who add their stories to the blanket can read the stories already on the blanket, the people who see the stories on Instagram and the homeless person who is the final recipient of the blanket; these are the people who will receive encouraging stories of hope.
“People need hope.” The Story Blanket Of Hope: giving hope to the homeless.