A powerfully bold brushstroke within the Heart of Womanhood ministry is HOW God has designed us to learn FROM each other. To learn WITH each other. Our creative God knew from the beginning that we are better together. We need each other in order to make disciples who make disciples. Through our Portraits Bible Studies, beautiful depth and perspective emerge as God’s hands mold us through lasting inter-generational and peer relationships within our “heart” groups.
For the past three years, I have posted a monthly blog to encourage women of all ages to become a masterpiece of God’s making. However, I only bring one color to the canvas. Although this monthly Heart of Womanhood encouragement will continue, my passion is to glean and apply biblical truths by sharing the colorful life lessons of other mommas, daughters, and grandmothers too! My posts will continue but for true perspective, we need the whole palette. So, if you are a “woman of words” (whether 18 or 88) and would like to submit a blog for consideration, send it to me at kimwigHOW@gmail.com. This first guest blog is from a soul sister who knows first “hand” HOW we as mommas can trust God alone to refine us. To define us. What a joy to read what comes FROM THE HEART of my dear friend, Diane Cullen.
The Work of His Hands by Diane Cullen
Being hit in the gut is something I experienced once, when I was around 11 or 12 years old and out trick or treating with a friend. It did not come from a fist, but from a water balloon that was hurled from a car, flying fast past us, by some mischievous teens having some innocent fun, or so they imagined. I am sure the neighbors thought someone had been hit by a car by the pitch and intensity of my screams, which is saying a lot because I have a soft voice which can barely project enough for my children to hear me call them from the bottom of the steps.
I don’t think I had ever screamed that loudly before, nor have I since. Neighbors came streaming out of their homes to see what all the ruckus was about. I honestly thought I had been shot, it hurt so badly. While I was relieved to find out it was just a water balloon, I will never forget the intense pain, fear, and panic I felt in that moment when the unexpected happened. Needless to say, I never went out to ask for candy again.
You may have had a similar feeling when you learned about something that overwhelmed you or caught you off guard, or when life presented you with something you didn’t expect. You may have felt like you were caught broadside, like a hit in the gut. While it may not have hurt physically, it certainly may have hurt emotionally. Perhaps it was an accident, an injury, a betrayal, a loss, a disappointment, something unexpected or unknown, the death of a dream or a hope, or life going differently than you planned.
Not long ago I faced the unexpected, yet again. And even though my walk is long with the Lord and He has been so faithful to do good work in my life, I found myself questioning Him, and asking “why did You allow this?” And to be honest, I didn’t just ask the question, I yelled it. But I know He understood. Sometimes in our pain, we yell.
After I ranted, cried, and implored, He simply said: “My sweet daughter, I will use even this to do good work in your life. If you will simply lean in to Me, spend time with Me and in My Word, I will strengthen and teach you. I will create beauty from the mess you now see and feel. What seems broken, and beyond repair, is not for I Am the master Potter.”
“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” —Isaiah 64:8
I have learned and seen that God takes heartache and trials to draw us closer to Himself. These are often the very places He reveals Himself to us in new and deeper ways. The pain can be a tool in His hand. One He skillfully uses to shape and refine us. Just like a master Potter, He utilizes flaws, broken things, and mistakes to make each pot uniquely beautiful. While we may only see the cracks and the damage, He opens His hand and works the clay so we are reshaped for His use.
When unexpected things happen, and they will, we have the opportunity to choose. We choose how we will respond to God, and to others. We can choose to blame, become bitter, not forgive, condemn, hold on to anger, give in to hopelessness. Or we can choose to trust, have faith, offer forgiveness, hold on to hope, and express gratefulness for who God is, what He has done, and what He is doing in our life and the ones we love.
As a parent, our influence is great as we teach and shape our children, but we are not the master Potter. God is. He knows the purpose He has for us and our children. And He is at work. In His time He takes all the heartache, fear, remorse, mistakes, and redeems them. The most amazing thing is that it is often in the remaking, that the full beauty appears.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” —Ecclesiastes 3:11
From the beginning of Scripture to the end, we see God shaping beauty in the lives of those who follow Him. You can be sure that on those days when the unexpected happens and you feel like life has hit you in the gut, the water will dry, and the balloon fragments will fall away, and God will be at work shaping a masterpiece.