Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Becoming Known - Part 4

Have you ever felt like you started something, and somewhere along the way it took a turn you weren’t expecting, hadn’t planned for, and couldn’t stop from happening?

I feel like that almost every day...when I fix my hair.

Seriously, if my hair could talk, it would tell me daily: “Sorry. I realize this isn’t what you envisioned, but this is what I’m doing today. So…”

I think anyone who is a creator of anything has felt like that. A painting has a plan and vision in the mind of the artist, but it often ends up looking very different by the time he signs his name to the canvas.

A song starts out as just a melody and a few words, and even though the songwriter thinks she knows where she’s headed, it ends up being surprisingly altered once its complete.

I’ve personally witnessed a potter begin forming a piece on a wheel, and then, either from an accidental slip of the hand, or from something not quite right within the lump of clay itself, a change happened in the piece. “It was going to be a bowl, but it’s actually turning into a vase, I think.” I’ve also seen potters decide that the direction they were heading wasn’t salvageable, and so they smashed the partially formed piece of art/tableware, and started over.

I’ve done that SO MANY times in the years I’ve been writing. Either started and then decided it wasn’t salvageable, or started and ended up somewhere totally different than I planned.

A few weeks ago when Jamilla and I began a series, sparked from a revelation I had in my heart, we had a pretty clear idea of where we thought we were heading.

We talked, cried, laughed, rejoiced, and wrote our hearts. Parts 1 and 2 were shared…and then we waited.

“What else?” we kept asking each other and the Lord. “There’s more. What is it?”

And then…then she got new revelation, new words from the Lord, and she texted me in a flurry. And the same way that my first revelation sparked words and thoughts and feelings in her, her new revelation set off something in me.

She wrote about identity. About moving ahead while setting behind the things that had shaped her past. About stepping forward, with her eyes on whom she had been created to be, not on who the world had told her she was or conditioned her to be.

She’s so brave, my friend. Always willing to pull out and examine and share her scars and her journey, in order to exhort others toward something new, something more. Then she asked me what I would write about next.

“I need to marinate,” I responded.

And I did. And the Potter went to work.

He has been adding water to this lump that is ME for a few weeks now, softening me and getting me ready for proper molding…but I’ve been ignoring the direction He was taking me.

“It’s funny that you think that will do any good,” my friends said to me.

But like my hair does to me on any given day, I simply looked at the path being asked of me, and said, “Actually…I’m not really feeling like doing that.”

And the Lord just continued to mold, and shape, and pour on water for softening.

I FEEL like He’s smashed me back into a blob, to start over from scratch.

He wants me to do something. He wants me to walk His path for my life, rather than mine. And I don’t want to do it.

I don’t want to be brave. I want to be safe. I want to decide the shape I will be made into.

Except that He is spinning the wheel, not me. And His hands are doing the forming, not mine. And, unlike me, He has never been confused about what He is making me into. His plan, His creative design, has never changed. Only my understanding of it.

What began as my revelation of a bridge to understanding God’s heart for racial reconciliation…has come to a moment of clarity on another piece of God’s heart.

His plan for me…as His ambassador. As a reflector of His heart.

Jamilla assures me it’s safe to set aside what’s holding me back. She tells me God is changing her to understand His heart better, and because she’s brave, she’s saying “okay.” And she’s letting Him move her in a new direction than she thought she was heading.

I’m not brave. I’m brutally aware of my stubbornness. I don’t want to become a vase. I want to be a bowl.

But the Potter never planned for me to be a bowl. He always saw a vase when He looked at me. Even when He was speaking to my heart, giving me a glimpse into understanding the struggle of my friend’s life as a minority, He always knew that it was only one piece of what He was doing.

His revelation to me, when shared with my friend, was like a mirror to her heart, and she saw a reflection of God, and it soothed hurts in her.

And then the Potter began shaping something in her…and when she shared it with me, it was like a mirror for me, showing me a reflection of God…

…and I suddenly see the vase He wants me to be.

And, while weeping and shaking and scaring my kids with my emotions, I find that there are only a few words I can say out loud. Because where He is taking my heart is too terrifying to fully contemplate now.

“Your will, Lord. Your plan. I see it. I choose it.”

If this was His plan for me, for this day, what in the world might He want to do next?

What reflection of His heart will He show me next? And how can I look away?

I can’t. He’s the Potter. And His heart is more, so much more, than I can understand. And I want to be brave enough to say: “This is what God is doing in me” so that others can hear what God is saying to them through it.

We will say more words, she and I, and hold mirrors up for each other on this racial reconciliation issue, and the Lord will keep shaping us both, and hopefully others.

But here’s my takeaway from today…

Her heart is covered in blood red, and it bears a striking resemblance to a sacrificial love. And mine is the same. Because we both are called to resemble our Savior. And when I forget that, she reminds me. And when she forgets, I remind her.

We are sisters. And we are clay. And we are mirrors. And we are bearers of the image of the Almighty Potter.

And that’s enough to make me brave. Because I’m known, and I’m understood, and I’m loved, and I’m accepted.

And His heart is the same for you. Do you see, in the mirror, what He’s making you?

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