Now it's time to speak of the Woman's Retreat I went to the weekend before this (back-posted) post was to be written :)
It was totally a Godsend that He sent me! Nothing happens by coincidence. I thought I wasn't going till the day before someone dropped out and the night before at Bible Study I was counseled to take her place. I am glad God sent me! I think I have FINALLY come to the point in my walk with Him that He has wanted me in for a while - submission :).
Anywho... the speaker was VERY good, her name was Carol Wolaver and she has a ministry as "The Pottery Lady". She shared her knowledge from the terms of pottery with us and applied them as us being the clay and God as the Master Potter as it says in Isaiah 64:8, it was eye-opening to me! I mean I knew I was the clay and God was in charge of forming me, and I know I can sit SCREAMING in circles on His wheel sometimes, but this is even more profound!
Step one: He picks us... Psalm 40:2a - "He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay..."
Step two: He cleans us... Hebrews 10:22 - "Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
Step three: He softens us, to make us ready for the shaping... so He presses us into The Rock and kneads us.
Step four: He sticks us FIRMLY to The Rock... Psalm 40:2b - "He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm." (In pottery terms I guess the clay gets thrown onto the stone.)
*Sometimes in order for the clay to stick better, The Potter will stick that new piece of clay to a little discarded piece of the last clay worked, because the last clay already learned how to stick. (God sticks us to other mature Christians and means for us to learn from them how to stick to Him.)
Step five: The Potter centers us on Him (the Rock or the wheel).
The way Carol did so was she brought the clay up high...
Then she would hold it down there a bit and slightly let go to see if it would move her hands...
You see if we are not willing to be humbled, if we are complaining, kicking and screaming, trying to push His hands away and talk Him into doing it our way, the centering process will only take longer!!!
We could even fly off the wheel at this point, then we have to start all over with the picking and cleaning and softening and throwing, then guess what... MORE humbling!!! It's a necessity to be centered on the Lord!
Step six: Then we need to be yielded. This is where The Potter pushes down into the heart of the clay, right down to it's core! This is the exciting part, because this is the start of the shaping process, but this is also when the brokenness comes... Psalm 51:17b - "A broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise."
*Before yielding you are full of yourself and when you submit it The Potter's touch you make more room for His hands!!!
*Carol reminded us that anything that touches the clay must first go through The Potter's hands... 2 Samuel 22:31b - "He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him."
We also must learn to rest in Him and trust in Him - trust is shown by demonstrated skill - hasn't the Lord demonstrated His skill to you Carolyn?! Trust Him!!!
Step seven: This is where the stretching starts! He will never give us anything we cannot handle, He is faithful... 1 Corinthians 10:13 - " No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."
... and MORE stretching...
... and MORE stretching...
Step eight: After the stretching, we start to resemble what The Potter had planned. Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope."
Step nine: After we are taken off the wheel He places us on a shelf for a LONG time to dry. I forget how long Carol said the drying pieces need to sit, but we all know this can be a dark and lonely time don't we?
Matthew 11:28-30 - "Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you WILL find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
* Only The Potter can see down into the heart of the pot when the work is in progress. "God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7b.
Step Ten: The fire! Isaiah 43:1-3b - "But now, thus says the Lord, your Creator, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Isreal, Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Isreal, your Savior."
* But He will just pick us up and clean us again... :) Isaiah 61:3 - "To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor."
MMMM!!! Meditate on this a while ladies, chew chew chew... yum!!!