Monday, February 18, 2013

Conversation With The Potter

"For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole."
Job 5:18

I stood in the kitchen,
mixing bowl in hand,
after pouring cake batter into the two 9 inch cake pans
I had greased and ready for Kevin's birthday cake.
Reaching for a rubber spatula from the round, wooden bucket
I keep next to the stove,

I paid careful attention to make sure 
I grabbed the Pampered Chef one.
Not one of the cheaper-made ones.

I don't know why I even keep the other ones.
They never get used.
Because if I accidentally pick one up when I'm not paying attention,
I always put it right back...
and reach for the one that says "Pampered Chef" on the handle.

I just love Pampered Chef brand rubber spatulas.
I doesn't take much to amuse me!
But, they are the best I've found.
When mixing up a cake batter,
nothing works better, 
in my opinion.
Other spatulas seem to leave residue behind.
These little wonders are a baker's friend...
they scrape as close to the bowl as possible,
and they leave very little, if anything, behind.
They scrape the bowl clean.
Even the residue is gone.
You hardly have to wash the bowl!

Today, the Potter and I had this conversation....
as He turned the wheel

"Sometimes, you think all of self is eradicated.
You wrongly assume that you are entirely emptied out.
But, there is still residue....
clinging to the sides....
of the inside of your vessel.
Refusing to let go.
Holding on for dear life."

"I didn't realize that, Lord.
I didn't see.
Now I do.
It is so clear."

"On the inside of the marred vessel...
 that was called "you"...
you didn't realize,
but, there was residue.
When I looked inside,
from my viewpoint...
I saw it.
It took up space.
I couldn't fill you...
to the capacity you desired and craved.
You asked me to.
Many times.
I always had to refrain.
It broke my heart to tell you no...
to have to deny you more of Me.
I wanted so badly...
to pour out a greater blessing,
to grant you the deeper infilling of My Spirit
for which you so often begged.
There wasn't enough room.
Too much Cheryl....
crowding out the opportunity
to fill you like you wanted to be filled.
So, I had to break the vessel.
I had no choice.
I love you that much.
Can't you see, child?"
His voice was tender...kind...gentle.
He didn't scold.
He simply explained.
The reason for my brokenness.
The reason for the wounds.

The words of Eliphaz, 
as he spoke to Job in the midst of his broken plight 
rang loudly in my ears...
"For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: 
he woundeth, and his hands make whole."

The same hands that had no choice but to inflict wounds,
were the same hands that are now tenderly, lovingly making me whole.
Making me over.
Making me new.

Tears welled up from someplace deep,
came to the surface,
and spilled over.
All those prayers.
All those times.
Spent on my knees.
With no results.
Now I knew why.
How could He increase,
if I didn't decrease?
How could He fill the extent I longed to be filled...
when there was no room?
When the residue...of me....clung so fiercely to the sides...
of my vessel?

In my mind, 
I can see it....
the old vessel...
the one He has ground to powder.
The outside appeared acceptable.
The I's were dotted.
The T's were crossed.
Appearances can be so deceiving, can't they?
From first gaze, 
I thought the inside was cleaned out.
I thought the vessel was empty...of Cheryl.
Isn't that what I had asked for?
So many times?
But, if you took a closer look,
from the view of the Potter,
you could see that there were clingers....
all along the sides.
Sticking out like sore thumbs.
Taking up space.
Preventing my own desire...
for more of Him.
Hindering what He wanted to do...
in me.

I don't know why it took me so long.
I feel like I have gone through a lifetime of learning this week.
A crash course.
Jam-packed into a few days.
Such depth of the lessons....
here in the Potter's house!

My Pampered Chef spatula came to mind.

I don't want to drag the clingers...
into this new vessel.
I am sick of the struggle.
I am tired of the fight...with self.
Completely spent.

I looked up, into His kind eyes
that were overflowing with more love....
than I have ever seen.

"Lord, I just want you to clean me out.
Like the Pampered Chef spatula cleans the bowl.
Scrape close, Lord.
Make sure even the residue is gone.
All of it.
Even the parts I cannot see.
Your all-seeing eye sees it all.
I trust You, Lord.
To do what I cannot do.
I don't know how to change.
I have no power.
I have tried so hard, Lord.
You know my heart.
My history.
Everything about me is, to You, an open book.
I hide nothing.
Please do what I cannot do.

Compassion flowed,
as He answered softly...
in His still, small voice,
"My child, I am."

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