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Posts Tagged ‘hardships’

I asked my husband if I could share a devotional with his ministry Caregiver Community based on the prior month’s topic of emotions. He was gracious enough to okay it. I would like to encourage you with it as we start a brand new year.

 

I know emotions. I suffer from depression and anxiety issues. With that comes a tsunami of emotions anger, frustration, sadness, and dread. You name it I have experienced it. It also comes with the physical symptoms, muscle aches, fatigue, loss of breath, hyperventilation, heart racing and pounding, crushing chest pain and uncontrollable crying, and withdrawal.

 

For those of us who are Christians, we tend to put on our good Christian face. We are strong, we have it all together, we are the good Christian. Our faith is strong. Like these cylinders (vases) this is how we want others to see us. We try to come across okay, usable, colorful and beautiful.

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But reality feels like this failed thrown cylinder. It’s twisted, crushed, cut into. We feel ugly, of no value, no use, etc. I can fake it at times.  My quiet times can be non-existent at these periods. It’s not that I don’t want to, I can’t. The words on the pages of my Bible are like a blurred word search puzzle. I can’t focus It’s not right; it’s not wrong. It just is. Praise music becomes very important. The guilt that is added because of this is overbearing at times. The weight crushes me even more.

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Ephesians 2:10 states “For we are the product of His hand, heaven’s poetry (workmanship)^ etched in lives, created in the Anointed, Jesus to accomplish the good works, God arranged long ago.” (The Voice)

 

Workmanship in the original language means poem, a work of art, a masterpiece. If you talk to an artist, they may tell you that their piece is an act of love, that comes from deep within them. It’s the same with us humans. I am, you are, created with a love that comes from the deepest part of God, His essence. I am, you are created after His image. (Genesis 1:7) This what makes us special than any other species.

 

The world defines a masterpiece in these terms

  1. Artistry – beauty
  2. Suggestive and imaginative
  3. Intellectual value – fundamental truth about life
  4. Permanence – endures through the ages
  5. Universality- appeals to a great number of people
  6. Style- an author’s unique way of expressing his thought.
  7. Spiritual – motivates and inspires.*

 

So how do the hardships of life, depression, sickness and all that comes with this, figure into us as a masterpiece?

 

Greg Laurie made this statement which I think explains it the best.

“masterpiece…it is a word that speaks of something that is perfect. It carries the idea of rhythm, orderliness, and beauty…I don’t necessarily see rhythm, orderliness or beauty… But God says “You are MY work of art. You are my poem. You are my masterwork. God is not like a doting father who’s oblivious to his child’s faults (hardships)** Rather He is your all-knowing, yet all-powerful Father in Heaven who can envision what you will become when its all said and done. He uses the hardships, failures. He doesn’t shy away from collapse, due to anger, frustration, depression or anxiety, He uses it to make the masterpiece full of rhythm, orderliness, and beauty.”

 

A friend once said to me “Those who never see hardship or have been given everything (doting parent) are the most shallow people.” A masterpiece is made from sweat and tears and the seven characteristics the world deems a masterpiece. So How does God see you?

 

You are loved, you are God’s consummate wealth and treasure, YOU ARE HIS MASTERPIECE, His poem.

  1. Beautifully made,
  2. An example of His imagination and artistry,
  3. With intellectual value (the truth of the Word about life),
  4. You are eternally permanent,
  5. Your example is universality (appeals to a great number of people),
  6. God’s unique way of expressing Himself,
  7. One who will motivate and inspire others in service.

 

YOU ARE HIS Masterpiece. He pours the glaze of His love, mercy and grace over you to make you beautiful and usable.IMG_6115

No matter how you feel or what struggle you are going through.

The journey is hard and long, but He is with you always. You’ve got this.

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^ my emphasis

* https://quizlet.com/128053053/7-qualities-of-a-masterpiece-flash-cards/

** my emphasis

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Dear Daughters,

 

The famous painter Bob Ross said, “Anything we don’t like, we’ll turn into a happy little tree or something, because as you know, we don’t make mistakes, we just have happy little accidents.”

 

Through my second semester of ceramics, I found this to be true, however, on a deeper level. I took this class because it was something I always wanted to learn. There was something fascinating about making something on a wheel that turns at a high rate of speed and made with one’s hands. The second reason was that in scripture, (Isaiah 64:8 and Jeremiah 18:1-6) God is compared to a potter and I am His clay, and I wanted to understand this concept in a deeper way.

 

I can’t tell you how much I have learned concerning the relationship between God and us through this class. But the one I do want to share is in your hand. God doesn’t waste anything. What you may find as unfair, failures, mistakes, hardships, aggravating, or even downright a waste of time or energy, God pulls, stretches, smooths, bakes and glazes to make you beautiful.

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Collapsed Bowl

 

This item in your hand was intended to be a bowl. Because it didn’t get centered properly it collapsed. I suddenly saw beauty in it, of what it could be. I placed a rose in the center. At first, I didn’t know why and interestingly enough as I write this, it came to me. It’s important, especially Florida, to have intentional burns. The purpose is to kill invading foliage as well as protect the area around it from devastating fires. But what it also does is clears the way for new growth of certain plants and trees that are getting choked out. The rose is a representation of new growth that comes out of the hard times, mistakes and the past years of your life.

 

Glazing is the cherry on the cake.

 

To me, the bowl is one of the those “happy little accidents.” The reality, on the other hand, is altogether different. God knew your life before you were conceived (Psalm 139). Yes, He could have changed things but then you wouldn’t be who you are today.

 

You are unique. There is no one like you in the world. God molds and shapes you through the hard times, failures, mistakes and what you may feel like an unfair past or struggles. God wastes nothing. He uses every situation, activity, a person you meet to turn the ugliness of life to mold you into the beautiful treasure you are. The hard part is allowing God to push, pull, smooth and place you into the fire. You must be willing for Him to do it, because He is a gentleman He won’t force the beautification process on you. Yes, it hurts at times and fear may creep up along with all the excuses you throw at Him for not wanting to walk the path.  It’s messy. The question is are you willing?

 

Isaiah 61:3 states:

 “…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planning of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”

 

He takes the ashes and turns into beauty to show the world of His splendor. You are molded into His likeness to show the glory of what He can do in someone’s life. Isn’t that awesome?

 

Love,

Mom

 

I wish I could give each reader one of the “happy accidents” as a reminder to you that 1. you are not an accident 2. beauty will made out of your hard times, and 3. God will get the glory for it all.

 

I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas and see you in the new year.

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“Change is mandatory for extraordinary results.”

 

I noticed this quote on an electronic information board. That day the words cut like a knife, not just because the words were truth, but the changes I have been going through have been less than easy.

 

In fact, I would relate it to a wrestling match, except I was getting body slammed by my past which has influenced my present.

 

I was angry. Angry at people and yes, even God. I questioned why would He wait so long to have me deal with these things? Because it didn’t just affect how I see myself, but how I view God and the way He sees me.

 

This particular wrestling match lasted a month. Tears, fatigue, and anger were constant companions.  I felt black and blue, emotionally and mentally.

 

What I’m beginning to realize is that through the brawling, even when the fear is overwhelming, that’s where hope is.

 

In the messiness and wrestling, with each blow I’m breaking through the cement of my heart so that I’m able to receive and accept God’s love, and healing.

 

These struggles are not only the gateway to healing but also to sanctification which is a fancy word for the process of purifying, to make me holy, to make me clean.

 

I guess another way to look at it is restoring of a home.  An old house has to go through some tremendous breakage, sledge hammering, pulling up and tearing down in order for the new to be put up.

 

Wrestling things out can be part of that process in our lives. God is the master renovator and He will take His time to do things right. He will contract the work through His Spirit and even through other people, if He sees fit.

 

The change is mandatory in order for me to move forward.  It’s hard. Oh, my is it hard, and terrifying at times. However, the results He gives will be extraordinary and for my beautification. That is something I am anticipating with excitement.

 

Oh, and don’t think this is a one – time deal.  He is wrestling and renovating along with us until we are called home.

 

 “I am confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6  (NASB)

 

 

 

 

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