lessons from teacups and trees...

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

i came across this article today, after the 8th day of wrestling with an anxious knot in the pit of my stomach that has refused to budge.

i have to admit, i was a bit of a basket case this afternoon, sorely needing some quiet time with my Savior but not finding a quiet moment in all the "things" that needed to get done.

(yes.  i admit it.  that is a pitiful excuse.  i *could* have gotten up earlier.  i *could* have locked myself in the bathroom and hidden in the bathtub with my Bible and journal, but lets face it.  i was lazy this morning and slept in.  and when it comes to locking myself in the bathroom, i have two daughters who will pound on the door and yell to be let in...not really conducive to having a settled, receptive heart, no?)

and so when i randomly read these words i felt both relief and like a deer caught in the headlights...

A couple walks into an antique shop looking for something exquisite to purchase and bring home. Their eyes immediately fall on the most delicate and lovely teacup they have ever seen.
As they were admiring the teacup, she spoke to them, sharing her story.
“I haven’t always been like this,” the teacup said.
“There was a time when I was a hard, ugly lump of gray clay. No one wanted me….except the Master Potter. One day, He picked me up and began to work me in His strong hands, molding me, pounding me, and rolling me in His grip.
I cried out, ‘Stop that! It hurts! It is too painful! Leave me alone!’
The Master Potter smiled gently and simply said, ‘Not yet.’
Then He put me on a wheel where I began to spin and spin and spin. I felt sick. I felt dizzy. I wanted to slow down. I wanted to get off! All the while as He spun me, He continued to shape me and mold me. I screamed, ‘Let me get off! Stop! Stop!”
But, the Master Potter just smiled and said, ‘Not yet.’
Finally, He took me off of the wheel. As I was admiring my new shape, the Master Potter scooped me up and put me in a large furnace. This oven was hotter than I could have ever imagined. I began screaming!
Help me! I am going to die! I can’t take it! Don’t you love me? I can’t survive this! Get me out!’
But, the Potter just watched through the glass. I saw Him kindly say, ‘Not yet.’
Just when I thought I would be destroyed from the heat, the Master Potter took me out of the furnace. I was relieved until He began to paint me. The paint was horrible. I began to choke on the terrible smelling fumes.
I cried out to the Master, ‘Please, please, please stop!’
He smiled gently and said, ‘Not yet.” And then, He put me BACK INTO THE FIRE!
This second firing was twice as hot as the first. I was certain that I would be destroyed in the heat.
I gasped, “Please let me out!”
The Master Potter simply said, ‘Not yet.’
After what seemed to be eternity, the Master took me out of the furnace and put me on a shelf to cool. It seemed like I waited and waited and waited for an eternity. It was then that I caught a glimpse of myself reflecting in a mirror.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. I couldn’t believe how much I had changed.
I was completely new. I was a totally new creation, looking nothing like I did in the beginning. The Master had transformed me. When I was a lump of clay, no one except the Potter would even give me a second glance. Now, after the pounding, the molding, the shaping, the spinning, the heating, the painting, and the waiting, I have become a beautiful, priceless treasure, sought after and desired by many.
I remember that as the Potter gingerly picked me up, He whispered, ‘Now you are what I had in mind when I first began you.’
I knew that I am a treasured possession.”
Author Unknown

years ago i heard a story that came as a result of one of many experiences of one of the biodomes. now, i'm not totally sure which biodome it was. honestly, i had no idea there was more than one, but this one story always comes to mind whenever i find myself in a sea of uncertainty...

it has been noted that the trees that grew in these biodomes could only grow so high before they would begin to topple over for no apparent reason.  after some extremely scientific puzzling (i'm guessing about the puzzling part...) the scientists came to realize that the trees continued to fall over because of the lack of wind.  and because there was a lack of wind, the root systems were extremely shallow which led to some other extreme scientific jargon that i don't remember.

but, what did stick with me is that if a tree doesn't have anything to stand strong against, it won't dig any deeper than it needs to with its roots which would allow itself to have a strong foundation deep in the earth when a massive wind storm came...

there is a part of me that loves the simple lessons that surround me, and that if my heart is still and quiet enough, responds to the tender urgings of the Holy Spirit to sit up a bit straighter, to listen a bit more intently, to allow the unfathomable God to minister to me through such fathomable means.

then, there is the part of me that reads words like these and *gulps*.  you know that feeling?  the feeling that is already tied up in worry knots and now tries to breathe through the constrictions?


it's moments like these that i *know* beyond a shadow of a doubt that my Heavenly Father has a sense of humor.  not because He is cruel, but because He knows me.  kind of like when i watch livie being independent and telling me that she can put her shirt on herself, only 5 minutes later she comes bumping down the hallway to my room, frantic because her head is stuck in the arm hole and her arm is through the neck and her other arm is hopelessly trying to rip the thing off of her. 

that kind of smiling. 

i smile because i *know* she needs my help, and even though she is frantic, she is completely adorable and is realizing that the only way out of the mess is to ask for help.


so, if i am to move from a ugly lump of clay molded by deft fingers to become a treasure, if i am going to grow from a tiny seed to a mighty tree that is unmovable because of where my roots have reached down into, i guess i can look at the storm brewing on the horizon, the blazing fire in the kiln and know that He is in control...all i have to do is trust that He can untangle me from the crazy shirt i find myself tangled up in.
Philippians 1:6 (New International Version): 6being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

thank you, Jesus...