Lilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Lilypie - Personal pictureLilypie Angel and Memorial tickers

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In the Potter's Hands

I have had one Thanksgiving with Maddie Grace, two with the twins, Abby and Alena, and four with Makiah.  I don’t know what it is about the holidays that makes us want to look back.  I guess memories of love and togetherness, good food and fun all roll up into a sort of intangible slice of heaven.  Despite the chaos  and perhaps even wreckage we may pull those memories from.  

I mean its messy down here for sure.  Just in our family this week my grandmother had emergency brain surgery (she is doing great though).  My parents new house didn’t get built in time for us to get into it until this afternoon despite my mom’s lovely plans of being settled in weeks ago.  Two of the four littles here with the family have been sick so we are quarantined from the older folks and other littles.  Even though we are here in Alabama, we will likely need to have a separate Thanksgiving and miss out on visiting.  I mean, it’s just plain messy.  Not the way I planned.  And maybe it is in your family, too.

Every song I heard on the radio last week was about surrendering yourself and your dreams to the Lord.  I would change the channel and the next one would be singing about laying down your own plans and embracing whatever God has for you. Every. Song.  I have been in a spot of unknowing here lately and trusting is not something that comes easily to me since October of 2010.  Even this week I have the opportunity to be frustrated because not much has worked out how I envisioned it.   But last night I opened a classic book to read on my phone, The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah W. Smith.  I liked the title and figured it might be something good to fall asleep to.

This is what I read.

“Suppose I were to be describing to a person... the way in which a lump of clay is to be made into a beautiful vessel.  I tell him first the part of the clay... is that the clay is put into the potter’s hands, and lies passive there, submitting itself to all the turnings and over turnings of the potter’s hands upon it. There is really nothing else to be said about the clay’s part... Now we come to the important part.  The potter takes the clay thus abandoned to his working, and begins to mold and fashion it according to his own will.  He kneads and works it, he tears it apart and presses it together again, he wets it and then suffers it to dry. Sometimes he works at it for hours together, sometimes he lays it aside for days and does not touch it.  And then, when by all these processes he has made it perfectly pliable in his hands, he proceeds to make it into the vessel he has purposed.  He turns it upon the wheel, planes it and smoothes it, and dries it in the sun, bakes it in the oven, and finally turns it out of his workshop, a vessel to his honor and fit for his use...

What can be said about man’s part in this great work, but that he must continually surrender himself and continually trust... And so the soul, abandoned to the work of the Heavenly Potter,  is changed rapidly from glory to glory into the image of the Lord by His Spirit.”  

And I hear the call to surrender myself.  Even my little insignificant daily plans.  I hear the whisper asking me if I will thank Him in every circumstance.  Will I allow myself to be comforted because He is with me and will not abandon me?  Will I draw near to His presence with praise or will I push back at what I am dealt?  God is sovereign, yes, but He has made us in His image.  Even though we are a lump of clay and He is the potter, He has graciously allowed us a choice.  Will we surrender our lives and our dreams, our very selves?  Will we trust that He is good?  Check your heart.  I believe you will hear the whisper.  Every day it is there.  Every day we can answer by picking up our cross and following Him.  

Because what He is designing us for is eternity.  This life is not the end game.  That beautiful vessel of honor that He has planned for us to be has an eternal destiny.  We cannot even begin to imagine what He is preparing us for and preparing for us!  

So I will embrace my messy week.  And entrust my dreams to Him again today.  And tomorrow I will give thanks because the Heavenly Potter is not finished with me, and my heart leaps for joy when I try to imagine what He ultimately has in store!  More than just memories and good feelings rolled up in a slice of heaven.  That holiday slice is just a mere shadow of what is to come!!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Luke 9:23  Then He (Jesus) said to them all, “ Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

Joshua 24:15  But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Psalm 100:4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and courts with praise..

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dora, Coffee, and Staying Desperate

Sitting in church with music swirling all around... it seems so clear who I want to be.  I want to be that person who gets up with the sun to read my bible (consistently).  I want to dig deep into scripture and uncover truths that bring life to the soul.  I want my house to be blanketed with peace because it is filled often and in many ways with worship.  I want to be my husband’s biggest cheerleader.  I want to be a patient and present mother who effectively disciples my children’s hearts and disciplines their behaviors.  I want my life to be marked by God’s presence and not the absence of it.

It all seems so clear.

And clearly unattainable.  

If I depend on me. 

I just can’t seem to change myself.  I just can’t seem to get it all together... to juggle the balls without dropping one.   Not in my own strength.  And I, of all people, should have learned by now that to live is to be desperate for God.  I sat in the pew chairs this morning and remembered not that long ago when the pain of each moment jarred my whole being, and I felt that the next breath was an overwhelming task.  I knew then.  Back then I was desperate.  I understood that I was totally helpless to run this race.  I knew an ocean of darkness would swallow me if He did not carry me.  And He did.

The danger of getting stronger is that I forget to let Him carry me.  Now.  When the waters of grief have receded a bit, but the piles of dishes and diapers have grown.  Perhaps it is not tragedy that threatens our souls the most.  Maybe it is the monotonous.         

The rhythm of the everyday routine. It lulls us to sleep.  Our weary eyes close and our thoughts drift far from how we were created to live.  Cascades of activities and work and chores wash over us.  Stripping the vibrance and the glory gleam from our eyes.  Slowly, the ebb and flow erode our dependance and our focus.  

But there is another water that can wash over us.  Changing our hearts and cleansing our minds.  Restoring the glory reflected from the One in whose image we are made. It’s the water of the Word.  I have been saying to myself for weeks now that I needed to get together some verses to focus on that will help me in an area where I am struggling to trust God.  So this morning I finally did it.  No, I didn’t get up with the sun, and yes, I did use Dora to distract the little that was already awake.  But somehow I think  God doesn’t so much mind Dora and my coffee.   He just wants me to keep the Word pouring from my lips and spilling down into my heart.

And of course speaking truth over yourself and others is exactly what the sermon was about today.  And I know this is the way to stay desperate.  The path to Him bringing about the changes that need to happen in me.  In my weakness He is made strong.  If I will keep His truth before me and not go thinking I can run this race myself.   Not. One. Single. Day.  Dora and coffee just aren't enough all by themselves, you know.

God calls those things which are not as though they were.  Romans 4:17

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.  For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise.  Hebrews 10:35-36