Our new formation year at Covecrest has begun, and after a month, I am realizing that the Heavenly Father wants to rock my world this year. As I have been journeying with the new missionary women, I am realizing how much God is trying to speak truth into my life as well. I am challenged by the ways that they are open and sometimes even more when I see a little resistance, recognizing that I too have put up some walls of resistance, not allowing the Lord to be in complete control of my life.
I have convinced myself that I am always “ok” because I’ve “been doing this for so long,” and for the past few years, I haven’t had a very teachable or pliable heart. Out of pride and shame, I have gotten stuck there. So as I am blessed to journey with these beautiful young ladies, I am challenged to not only point them to the truth, but to look at my own life and see where I need to be softened, change and grow.
I’ve been thinking about what this time of formation is for, and I realize more and more it is meant to be a time of “pruning” or “re-shaping.” I have been reflecting on Jeremiah 18:3-6 where the Lord describes His relationship with us as the clay in the hands of the potter.
“I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel. Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased. Then the word of the Lord came to me: Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? says the LORD. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand…”
I’ve always liked this imagery, but it has been especially meaningful to me since I was able to take a pottery class several years ago. I certainly never became a master potter, but there are a few things that I learned that have stuck with me. The first thing is that before you can even put the lump of clay on the wheel to make it into something, you have to make sure the texture is right. This often requires working the clay and kneading in order to soften it. If the clay is too stiff, you will have to add water to it and knead it until the water is evenly incorporated. The clay must be pliable and unless it is just the right texture, it will be nearly impossible to make anything out of it once it is on the potter’s wheel.
So too, our hearts must be kneaded and softened in preparation, and as an important part of the Lord forming us into who we were created to be, becoming who we are. And that process of kneading can be painful. There may be dry pieces that have to crack off completely in order for the rest to become soft and pliable. There may be things we cling to that are inconsistent with the Christian life that need to be worked out of our lives. It requires a docility and trust that I am sometimes hesitant to live into. But as I begin my 12th year as a missionary, I feel as though I am beginning over, clinging to the hope that God, the Master Potter, has a beautiful plan for who He is forming me into.
All for Love,