Life has been difficult for me lately. Of course, anyone over the age of sixteen knows life can be difficult, and anyone over the age of twenty-five knows it is often difficult. Motherhood brings with it a whole new level of difficulty, as it requires a whole new level of sacrifice and selflessness. For me, the struggle of late has been a physical one. I suffer from chronic pain, and I have for most of my life, but there are seasons that are more difficult than others, and this is one of those seasons.
The other day, I was driving to get my kids from school, begging the Lord for some relief, some perspective and peace before I was surrounded by noise, and chaos, and need, and the Holy Spirit whispered to me, “I am not finished with you yet.” This was not a sinister voice, but one which resonated gently, one that reminded me of the purposes God has that I may not see. I was instantly reminded of the Scripture in Philippians 1:6 that says, “he who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” Then I was reminded of the image of God as a potter (Is 64:8) creating a masterpiece with his own hands. I do not feel like a masterpiece. His work in me is certainly not complete. But I know he has a plan, and every season of my life is a part of that plan.
Have you ever seen a potter work? It isn’t always pretty. It requires a gentle touch, but it also requires pressure; it requires hollowing out and washing away. The clay is useless and shapeless without the potter’s hands and the potter’s vision. Once the clay is formed, it must be placed in the fire or it will never be useful. Our lives are a series of these actions. He shapes and molds us, he presses on us, washes away excess, forms us into a vessel that can be poured out, and then places us in the fire.
Regardless of the season we are in—be it the shaping, or the reshaping, the pressure, the fire, or the pouring out, or some seemingly impossibly bearable combination of all four—he is not finished with us. He has a plan—a purpose, and his plans are always for our good. We are not left to chance; we are not forgotten. Without the potter’s hands and vision, we would just be useless clumps of clay. All that we have—our marriages, our jobs, our children—are gifts from the potter himself, and he will use them for his perfect will. He will transform them from useless clumps of clay to beautiful pieces of art that can be filled with his good gifts and poured out on the world.