Sunday, July 8, 2007

Jeremiah and the Potter

[From March 30, 2006]

Last weekend, the ladies from my church went on a women's retreat to Sweet Briar College. Our speaker was Kathy Hassell, a mighty woman of God who lives and breathes Jesus. He's contagious when you're around her. She gave us many word-pictures through the weekend, stories from her life when God taught her big lessons through small things.

Friday night, she told us about making Christmas cookies one time, and how one little piece of dough had been left out of the bag. When she tried to knead it, to make something out of it, it crumbled and cracked. "Which dough was useful? The dough that was still pliable." My heart said, "Hmmmmm. Candi, remember that."

On Saturday morning, Kathy gave us an hour where we had to be totally quiet. We couldn't talk to anyone else. She challenged us to look in the Bible and ask God to speak to us directly --not through music, books, or someone else's wisdom, but from His Word.

My heart had been brimming all morning. Melisa and I had determined to hear what God wanted to say to each of our hearts, to not miss Him in all the responsiblilties and busyness of leading worship.

He'd been whispering Sarah's name all morning. I barely made it to my room before the sobs started. From my journal that hour: If my heart is so tender to the Holy Spirit concerning other people and other things. . .why can't I hear Him about Sarah? What is keeping me from hearing the Spirit's prompting re: Sarah?

Hurt -- it hurts like she just left yesterday, like a fresh wound.
Fear -- What God asked me to do before concerning Sarah was TOO hard. (He told me to love her and Aziz.) That's why I walked away--"quit" for awhile--tried to live without my relationship with Him.

What If's -- What if. . .
. . .she never comes home?
. . .she does come home?
. . .God can't restore our sistership because her heart never changes toward me? (I'm still not sure how her heart turned against me.)
. . .it always feels like this? What if I never feel better about this?
. . .I share who I (still) am, and she/he/kids reject me because I live Jesus?

God, please forgive me for not believing You.
What's keeping me from hearing You, Spirit? My heart is stone here. (Ez. 36:26) Please give me a heart of flesh (which is vulnerable, and will probably get bruised). As I confess my lack of faith that You can/will redeem Sarah's heart, please redeem MY heart re: this.

I did one of those open-your-Bible-and-start-reading-where-your-eyes-hit-the-page things, and God showed me Jeremiah 47 & 48. He showed me what I believe to be His heart toward Sarah. But what was more pertinent to me was verse 48:38 and the cross-reference to Jer. 18. So I went there to read, and God nailed me to the wall:

[Jeremiah] found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so the potter squashed the jar into a lump of clay and started again. [God said,] "Can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hands, so are you in My hand. . .turn from your evil ways, each of you, and do what is right." (Jer. 18:3-6, 11b)

The result of not turning to God, of not obeying?

God says, "[God's people] have deserted Me and turned to worthless idols. They have stumbled off the ancient highways of good, and they walk the muddy paths of sin. Therefore, their land will become desolate, a monument to their stupidity. All who pass by will be astonished and shake their heads in amazement at its utter desolation." (vv. 15-16)

From my journal:
The pliable clay is still able to be molded by the potter. The brittle clay will shatter. So what's my heart about Sarah? As long as I hold onto it, it's brittle.

Oh--make it pliable, Lord! Add the moisture (of my tears, of Your living water)--make my heart pliable re: Sarah.

I want to be willing, Lord, to do what You say to do. Please make me willing. . .

Reference note in my study Bible for Jer. 18:4: "Perhaps a hard lump in the clay ruined the vessell as it spun on the potter's wheel. The potter must remove the hard lump to acheive his purpose in reshaping the vessel."

Yahwah is not a God who repairs. He restores. He redeems.

So what? What does all this mean for Candi?

God told me to forgive Sarah and Aziz. He reminded me that forgiving Sarah and Aziz doesn't make them right. It makes me FREE.

God told me that if I don't let Him change my heart concerning Sarah---if I hold onto the hurt and anger, it will turn into bitterness, and it will destroy me, and my husband, and my daughter.

I don't want that. I choose life.

It probably means I will cry a lot. Oh, well.

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