I love the different means that God uses to speak to our hearts. Since Ben and I ended up staying longer here at RMH, they had an activity going on that we were able to participate in--a half hour massage of the shoulders and back. Perfect timing since tomorrow will be a long day on a plane, carrying a feisty baby. :-)
As we got started, this kind woman began and I realized quickly that when her shirt indicated she was from the Swedish Massage Institute, she was not kidding. :-). The pressure was very firm. But it was, at the exact same time, gentle. There were areas that as she pressed in, I knew it would hurt. But it wouldn't break me.
Right away, I felt the Father speaking to me. He was telling me that as the Potter, HE shapes the clay. There are places where he "digs in", areas that need more attention, because there is damage and tension that needs to be worked out in order for me to be useful and effective. There are places and times where I feel the pressure. And it hurts. But it is the years of His tenderness towards me that remind me of His gentleness. He won't break me.
Wednesday night, I felt like I might break. Being away from the kids, knowing Elijah had chemo the next morning, and some difficult moments of communication between Ben and I, were compounded by the worst migraine I have ever had. Not only was I nauseous in the dark, awake most of the night, but the pain got so bad that I just laid there, crying for an hour or so, before I was able to get in the shower.
All this to say, during those moments of such extreme pressure, I thought I might break. It was hard to see clearly what the point was to all this while I was in so. much. pain.
But here I am. Still standing. Still breathing. When the pressure got that high, the Potter sent others to pray for me (one of course, being my husband, who cried out to the Lord and prayed over me!!). And a good friend of mine had JUST, that very same day, been sharing with me how in her migraine pain, she used the time to pray. And so I prayed my tail off for everyone I could think of.
I just want to clarify that this isn't supposed to be a testimony to my strength. It would be a poor one, since I found very little strength in myself at all. It's more a rambling on the fact that I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I have felt like that a lot this year.
And yet, I'm still here. And even more than that, we had a really nice day today!!! It wasn't even just a "getting by" day. I guess the discovery, and what I hope to communicate is that, God is GENTLE. He alone knows the pressure we can take (please do not read that sentence as "God never gives us more than we can handle". You ALL know how I feel about that one!). I would have shut it off long ago. But then, it wouldn't have finished its work-conforming me into the image of Jesus. And I want that. Even if it takes more pressure to accomplish it.
"Then I went down to the potter's house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to mark.
'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?' says the Lord. 'Look, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel.'"
Jeremiah 18:3-4, 6
"For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son..." Romans 8:29