“Lord, I am Your child, so why am I not outgoing and confident, able to stand ‘up front’ and give an exciting, dynamic, action packed message about You, as others do?”
When I first became a Christian (over thirty years ago) I expected God to immediately change my personality, but instead He began to teach me to accept myself as He had made me, not constantly desiring to be like someone else. I had always been a back row person, proficient in the art of being ‘one of those invisible people’, staying in the background, not drawing attention to myself. Though I was not happy being there I simply believed that I had an ‘insipid personality’ and therefore deserved to be there! There were so many things my heart desired to do; write, sing, play a musical instrument; but the confidence just wasn’t there. Every glowing school report ended with the same words, …..‘but lacks confidence!’ I was afraid of failure, so never attempted to succeed! Yet, in the fullness of time and when God knew I was ready, He showed me that although He had given me a quiet, subdued personality for His ultimate use, I had seen myself as inferior to those around me who were able to be outgoing and confident.
In Isaiah 29:16 (NIV) God says to His people, ‘You turn things upside down as if the potter were thought to be like the clay! Shall what is formed say to Him who formed it, “He knows nothing”?’
I believe God made me and He has allowed the circumstances of my life (good and bad) to mould me further into the person He wanted me to become. He knows exactly what He is doing with each one of us and what the end result will be. He is the Potter and we are the clay and He wants us to submit willingly to the Potter’s hand, as He seeks to mould us into the person He needs for a specific purpose. It isn’t always easy to understand why He allows certain adverse circumstances into our lives, but He has a plan for each of us.
Whenever circumstances come into our lives that threaten to overwhelm us, it is always good to remember that ‘His grace is sufficient’ and there will never be a time when that amazing grace doesn’t cover us, as we walk with Him along the path He has laid before us.
In 2 Corinthians 12, verses 7-9 (NIV), Paul says, ‘To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’
Paul was a powerful man, accustomed to being in control because of his position in life before the Lord called him. God knew that Paul would need that powerful personality and strength of character to fulfil his calling. But God gave him a ‘thorn in the flesh’ to keep his personality under control and instil in him that humility that kept him from becoming conceited, because of the great work the Lord had called him to complete. God also took Paul’s strong character and through many adverse circumstances, built up that character into the ‘likeness of Jesus’. And in the same way, God will use my personality and yours in the work He has called us to do. And He will temper that personality in whatever way is needed to enable us to do what He requires of us. Likewise, if we are willing, He will nurture our character, until we display the characteristics of Jesus.
Our God is amazing! He has nurtured me patiently for over thirty years, moulding, re-making, strengthening and lovingly restoring. Eleven years of that time were spent with my husband, David, and our youngest children, living and serving in the British Headquarters of a Missionary Organisation, where there were many times when I just wanted to retreat into my familiar world of insignificance, as I was asked to undertake tasks that weren’t in my ‘comfort zone‘. But Jesus gently took me by the hand as He led me along unfamiliar paths, towards freedom from my fear of rejection and failure. Eleven years building up our Christian Printing business followed, until in October 2012 the Lord promoted David to glory after a two year battle with cancer.
One Friday morning in April 2013, I awoke just before 5am, beautiful words tumbling and forming into poetry in my mind. They were the words of a poem ‘LOOK UP! which I believe the Lord gave me and which were later to become my ‘introduction’ to FaithWriters. The Sunday of that weekend I gave willing testimony in church, sharing a short extract from my unfinished book. I was very aware that something had changed! My life as a ‘caterpillar content to hide amongst the leaves, sitting on the back row, out of sight, was coming to an end. The Lord showed me that I was not a caterpillar anymore, but a chrysalis about to begin the struggle that would strengthen my wings enough to escape the confines of the protective cocoon, to gradually emerge as a butterfly ready for flight.
Despite the devastating grief, my journey with the Lord continues. He holds me close and whispers encouragement, as through my grief He opens my heart and mind to release the hidden ‘gift’ I believe He has placed within. The book of my years on the ’potter’s wheel’ that lies dormant and incomplete in the archives of my computer, is beginning to surface and challenge for completion; the intense longing to release the as yet, unwritten testimonies to His grace, mercy and love, rise up from mind to written word, as His love wraps around me and shields me from the discouragements of the enemy.
I believe God has given me the gift of writing! I may never make it as a great writer, but it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that our God is the Potter and I am the clay and it is up to Him to make of me what He desires and to use me for whatever purpose He has planned. It is up to me to be content and obedient as He continues to mould me into the person He had intended from before my life began.