Becoming His Vessel-I am Just the Clay

I sit on the shelf patiently expecting and waiting my turn to become whatever the potter desires. The day finally arrives. He lifts me from the shelf and begins the creative process. Expectantly, I sit in the Master’s hands; He warms me as He gently kneads what has always been hard and unbending. My thoughts race. I dream of all that could be, now that He has chosen me. I imagine me as His vessel. What might I become?

The gentleness of His molding suddenly changes in intensity. He pours water over me, squeezing and pushing me into shapes I never expected. He adds more and more water as continual pressure increases, making it nearly impossible to breathe. Wait, this is not what I expected.

I am picked up in His warm hands once more, but this time I am unexpectedly slammed down onto a fast-moving object and my life spins-out-of-control while more water sloshes over and around me. All ability to think or understand what is happening to me vanishes. I only hold on and hope to survive this process. 

Time seems to stop as this spinning continues. Without warning, the Masters’ hands reach down amid my whirling confusion; they encircle me, direct and move me where He desires. Something glorious is taking place; the spinning appears to be changing me. The old lump of clay that I was, is now transforming. My lost joy erupts with newfound anticipation of old dreams, dreams of becoming a vessel usable to the Master. The spinning and movement under His hands is exciting. This is it, what I have always waited for. I am becoming His beautiful creation. 

The spinning slows and I am sure that I am complete, that I have made it. All that I have endured is over. It’s now time to “kick-back” and “be who He created me to be.” I am lovingly lifted off that uncomfortable spinning wheel and carried with great fan-fare across the vast room and placed at the back of a dark shelf. As day after day passes my excitement wanes. Ok, now what? 

The Master seems to have forgotten me; waiting, waiting, and waiting as my once moist, pliable form becomes dry, hard, and crusty. Confusion settles over me as this new process continues. Then one morning He reaches in and pulls me down from the dark shelf, he turns me over inspecting closely every area. My Master has seen me again. He has not forgotten me. He sits with me and lovingly picks up small detail tools and carefully scrapes off the dried pieces that are “just not right” for His plans. It is uncomfortable, but I know these adjustments are coming directly from His hand and must be part of His ultimate process.

I feel the temperature change as the Master walks me across the room again, this time is different, this time the shelf is a rack and the dark quiet place is full of heat that grows stronger with every minute: I am sure I will not make it out of this one the same. I can’t do this anymore; this process is too difficult.

Days pass as I am again left alone, forgotten and struggling with questions, confusion and anxiety; crying out for this to end. Slowly, the heat subsides and fresh air swirls around me. I can breathe again. I notice a change in me, who I am, has solidified. A few more days pass as I rest in this newfound transformation, wondering—Now am I who I was created to be?

The Master again picks me up, dusts off what the heat drew out, turns me over and over in His hands as He admires what the heat has accomplished. We walk over to a new table and this one looks so beautiful; brushes and pots of exquisite shades of color cover it. He places me amongst them and chooses specific colors just for me, each brushstroke a gift. I receive each stroke with elation and expectation. This is His original plan, and I am overjoyed. This is it! I am ready. What does He want me to hold? My dreams of becoming His vessel for His glorious use have now arrived. 

I sit and savor the experience of receiving all of His gifts and glory and observe what a beautiful vessel I have become. Yet, the Master returns and lifts me off the table again. I expect Him to place me on a beautiful shelf to be viewed, but I suddenly see Him taking me to a glowing hole. It is growing hotter as He places me on a board and slides me further into the hole. The fire’s heat intensifies and is worse than before. What is happening? I thought this process was complete! I am beautiful and have all of His gifts. Why am I here? What did I do?

As the heat becomes unbearable, something unexpected happens. Instead of fighting the process, something rises inside of me. The previous heat in my life unknowingly accomplished the strength to yield to this extra heat I face today. That faith in the Masters’ plan reached up from inside, accepted and fought forward, embracing whatever was to come from this process. This time, as the heat cools and the board slides into retrieve me, I no longer look at anything but the face of the Master as He smiles at what He removes from the fire. “Your will Lord, not mine. Use this vessel to pour out your love and glory to those around me. Fill me up and pour me out,” escapes from my heart to His.

This analogy of clay in the potter’s hands is much like our lives. We are continually in the process of pressure and heat, changing from who we are to who He wants us to become. The process may seem complete, yet until we hear “well done, good and faithful servant,” that process will continue to be a fight forward, a yielding and a transformation. Ultimately, we can only become a vessel for honorable use, when we can say, “Your will, Lord, not mine. Use this vessel to pour out your love and glory to those around me. Fill me up only to pour me out again.”

Out of Love

The desire for the “best of the best” directly from our Fathers hand is available and stretched out to us. He wants to be a Father, to welcome us and dwell with us.

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From the moment we feel the first flutter of life, excitement stirs to see this little life filled with all the “best of the best”. We protect and provide but most of all we love! There is a place within us that is so full of love for this precious one, that it often overwhelms us. As they grow and become adults – well, it NEVER changes – that love grows too. As parents we always want to see the best for our children and that desire comes directly from Heaven.

Our Heavenly Father desires the “best of the best” for us – He protects and provides but most of all He loves, loves and loves. He promises us He will dwell with us, He will receive (welcome) us and He will be a Father to us.

Just as we try to warn our children from making life-impacting mistakes, so does He. The desire is not to manipulate, control or be harsh but is poured out – out of love!

The words “unequally yoked” strike many feelings in us – most eliciting thoughts from our past; but in truth this passage is written to us out of love – great love. The desire for the “best of the best” directly from our Fathers hand is available and stretched out to us. He wants to be a Father, to welcome us and dwell with us. The HOWEVER – is our choice. That HOWEVER says light and darkness cannot share the same room – that’s our choice. If we walk unequally yoked – it is a place that “daddy” just can’t come into to visit.

Yes – there is His unmerited favor and grace extended to us through Christ – that’s a gift – given to us. BUT the “best of the best” that your Father desires to give to you is available for those who walk purely in the light. So take a minute and “reformat” your brain around this scripture – seeing what He is giving you in exchange for that choice of not being unequally yoked (those who you choose to intimately fold into your closest circle).

Daddy has the “best of the best” waiting for you – the however – is up to you.

IICorinthians 6:14 You are not the same as those who don’t believe. So don’t join yourselves to them. Good and evil don’t belong together. Light and darkness cannot share the same room.(ERV)

 

In The Palm Of His Hand

Get comfortable in the palm of your Father’s hand – He has you and He is faithful to accomplish all that He has started.

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Last fall I planted a plethora of spring bulbs hoping for a beautiful show when the frost, snow and bone-chilling cold had begun to recede. As the ground began to warm, those bulbs began to respond. And much to my delight, the bright colored daffodils and tulips lifted my spirits as they bloomed.

It wasn’t until the tulips burst into fullness that I was overwhelmed by a spiritual similarity. These tulips had been buried 7 months – during the dark, wet, frozen winter they were not resting but being prepared for one single purpose! All that waiting had allowed strength and nourishment to marinate within them. At just the right time they would come forth and bring forth ONE single flower; ONE single flower that had one purpose for just a few precious weeks. That purpose – to shout of His glory – to shout of the coming of spring – to bring extravagant hope!

The size of these tulips amazed me – they were huge – their bowl base could fill the opened palm of my hand. And there you have it – in the palm of my hand.

         Isaiah 49:16a. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands (ESV)

We too, are like that ONE single flower in the palm of our Father’s hand. Our beauty and purpose are single focused for His purpose. We too, go through times where we experience those months or years of dark, wet, frozen winter. However, when we rest in the palm of His hand and allow His preparation; we too, will come forth to that one single purpose. That one single purpose we were designed for – to shout of His glory – to shout of the coming of spring – to bring hope to the hopeless!

So if you are in that time where you feel buried – waiting in the dark, wet, frozen winter – take courage – for you are being prepared for that one singe purpose! The ground will warm and thaw; and you will burst forth into that single purpose for His glory. So rest and allow His strength and nourishment to marinate within you – get comfortable in the palm of your Father’s hand – He has you and He is faithful to accomplish all that He has started.

         Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (ESV)

One Missing Piece

Jesus came to make us whole-to bind up the places that are frayed, broken and missing. He gave us-free of charge-the missing piece.

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 I love puzzles, and several times a year (usually during winter or a nasty cold bug) I binge on them. Inevitable to this process is the end result of “one missing piece”. With two little dachshunds at my feet, getting to the completion of a puzzle without having lost one to their love of eating cardboard paper is almost unheard of. However, I still love the process and have learned to enjoy the picture that has presented itself. But, there is just something disheartening when I see that one gaping hole.

 As I look at my recent creation with its one missing piece I am struck by the thought that our lives are often like this puzzle. Pieces are fit together and begin to create a beautiful picture that represents our journey in this life. Each section of the puzzle shows our life’s endeavors – our relationships, our jobs, our adventures. But that picture will never be complete with the empty space that begins to loom. That one missing piece is what holds the whole picture together. You can look at its overall beauty but that gaping hole is obvious, and you can’t fix it by yourself. But, it is fixable, for we have been given a solution.

 Jesus came to make us whole – to bind up the places that are frayed, broken and missing. He gave us – free of charge – the missing piece. The piece that completes our lives, that makes us whole, that brings all those other pieces in our lives together into one beautiful picture. That picture is one of a life lived in abundance that was given to us from the hand of a loving Heavenly Father. We just need to reach out and pick up that offered piece from the nail-scarred hand of Jesus.

If you find your puzzle missing that one piece – simply say YES and pick it up.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)
John 10:10-11  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.  I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.  I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (ESV)