Our first homework assignment this year for returning participants and leaders was about how to stay healthy. In this lesson we heard that one key element that affects our healthy living plan is vision. Do I have an idea of where I want to go in life? What do I want my life to look like?
Hmm! I had a vision in my life until April of this year, 2017. It involved further recovery at MVF together with my husband; and then leadership, where we could come alongside others facing the same struggles we had experienced, and help them on their healing journey. This, along with growing old together and enjoying watching our grandkids grow up was mine and my husband’s vision. But God’s plan is different right now.
So, here I sit needing to answer the very first question in our lesson: What is your life’s God-given vision? I don’t know anymore. I have no idea. I am stuck and sad, grieving over my loss once again. But I know God is Good and His plans for me are good, so I need to seek Him. After all it’s His vision for me, He knows.
I begin to pray every day, all throughout the day, for the answer to this huge question; day 1, no answer; day 2, no answer; day 3, no answer. Every day I am telling God, “You have to tell me so I can finish my homework. I cannot even begin unless I have this answer.” Silly, huh? That’s what I thought every time I informed Him of my dilemma. But I really needed to know the answer so I could finish my homework.
During this time I was also involved in a Bible Study led by a young woman whose story was closely related to mine. We were studying the I AM statements that Jesus made about Himself in the book of John. She, like me, was searching for answers and comfort in this study concerning her life circumstances. As we were learning about our Good Shepherd she said this: “Perhaps, my Good Shepherd is leading me and loving me by saying “no” or “not yet.” I know, this is hard, but what if God’s plan is to change us through this before He changes our circumstances in this?” You see, the cry of her heart, I’m sure, was the same as the cry of my heart – for her husband and restoration of what was lost.
It was at this point that God so clearly spoke to my heart, “My plan is to change you through this circumstance,” and it was then that I realized that this was the answer to my question. God wanted to work on me during this time, not just my husband. He had plans for me, for my good as well. And I needed to focus on this. Thank you Lord!!!!
I love how when God is trying to teach us something that He doesn’t just tell us once. He knows His sheep. We are stubborn, forgetful and easily led astray. So He tells us over and over again until we get it. He does this with me ALL THE TIME.
The following morning I was in the book of Jeremiah in my Bible reading, and this is what the Lord said:
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 make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “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!”
And one more time He needed to make it known to me that He wanted to change me in these circumstances. So He brought this poem to my attention that I have cherished for many, many, many years:
So broken was this pot of clay
Who’d want it now? No good.
Then Jesus came along and said,
“It’s valuable—I would.”
So He redeemed it for a price,
Then placed it on the wheel.
And with His nail-scarred hands began
To mold and shape and heal.
On the wheel the pot remained
And let Christ have His way.
It freely chose to stay.
I too was like that broken pot
When Jesus came for me
And started to remold my life
A vision He could see.
My yielding to the hands of Christ—
Though painful, now I see
My life restored; I’m whole again.
‘Twas Christ who molded me.
Poem by Mary Ellen Noland
Coconut Creek, Florida