As I trotted down the stairs to meet my husband, he lifted his head, grinning at me. He was impressed with how I had changed in the past couple of months. I traded in my old Coca-Cola for water and zero soda. Although it may seem like a tiny triumph, to me, this was a lifestyle change. Not only that, I started biking consistently and changed up my hair. I smiled more, sang more, and even felt a little adventurous. A fresh wind was in my step ,and I was lighter, and it had nothing to do with summer bodies or fad diets. Winter was coming, but I felt like spring throughout the house. A fresh start was happening inside me, and it was all because God said, “You will be made whole.”
It all started when I woke up in the middle of the night. I knew that I needed to pray, but I wasn’t exactly keen on the conversation. Recently I had grown past old rubrics I set up for myself. Now living in a different state away from my hometown, I had another career, and felt surrounded by very peculiar people. Being the odd bird I was, I felt like I was being cadged . How could I ever get over being an introvert in a small town? How would I achieve the vision God gave me? Questions fired off in my mind relentlessly until I succumbed to the nudge of the Holy Spirit to talk to Him about it. So I opened my Bible and my mouth in prayer. This prayer was about to get real.
Buckle up; this may take a minute.
Many people in my life question why I say, “May I be real with you?”. This question is because we often get used to pretense and walk around the topic we want to reach instead of spitting it out. Imagine having an elephant-in-the-room conversation with God because you didn’t want to “bother” Him beforehand. I mean there, are starving children, widows, incarcerations, and a pandemic still raging on in the world. I certainly didn’t want to come across as an ingrate for my problems. I told God about how I felt in my walk as a believer and how I felt day to day. After asking permission, I vented and allowed myself to not only let God see me but hear from me. I sat still with tears in my eyes, giving the weight of a changed life over to Him. You see, it is infrequent to hear from believers who are willing to admit their battles. We tend to wear the armor of God, show up to the struggle of daily life, and forget the scars of living. We don’t mention that there are people who test us, situations that try us, and habits that fluster us. We don’t want to seem weak. Jesus told everyone that life would certainly not be easy but instead come with its expected trials. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV). Through my Bible study, I reached old pages with fresh eyes. The struggle, fight and day-to-day endurance was all a part of God showing me what was expected for my new life in Him. It is normal to leave what no longer suits you and it is customary not to want to be near someone else’s destructive habits while being forgiving. It was normal to want to be kind, loving, and even hopeful without proof of a result. We can be expected to not subscribe to vain religious rituals versus desiring to cultivate a genuine relationship with Christ. My faith was being stretched and pushed, and all that meant was God molding me for His purpose. Jesus had overcome the world for all of us because we were weak, but now it is our turn to learn to be strong in Him.
We take up the broken or cracked pieces of ourselves to the one who can make us better than before. This experience I was going through reminded me of scripture saying, “But now, O LORD, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand”. ( Isaiah 64:8) It is not our job to control the outcomes or where we may be pressed in life. As believers, our greatest asset is to remember whose hands we are within. God never loses control of your life, no matter how lost you feel. He takes His time to push you to be exactly how He designed. A child of God. A righteous person, a set-apart believer. In other words, a complete transformation inside and out.
Being molded by Christ means a complete change in form.
We tend to believe that when we feel the pressure of everyday life, the people around us are doing just fine. We ask God from our bruised egos, “What about ____? They aren’t doing right, and they are still blessed. What is the point of being good?”. The truth is that God is not out to pick on a single person. You do matter but not to the exclusion of others. God has molded entire groups of people to His will with minimal effort. The children of Israel experienced this first hand when God sent His prophet Jeremiah to tell them of His plans to mold them. “
“The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand. If I announce that a certain nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed, but then that nation renounces its evil ways, I will not destroy it as I had planned. And if I announce that I will plant and build up a certain nation or kingdom, but then that nation turns to evil and refuses to obey me, I will not bless it as I said I would”. (Jeremiah 18:1-4, 6-10 NLT)
God is sovereign. He is not some genie that owes you your grandest wishes just because you ask. Like in any healthy relationship, you will get it in return if you show respect and decency. A popular phrase states, “You must teach someone how to treat you,” and we often say that about our interpersonal relationships here on earth. Yet when it comes to humanity and our actions toward God, it is impossible to please God without Him teaching us how. We are often led astray by our desires or outside influences, never thinking twice about God. Without the Holy Spirit strengthening our discernment and resolve, we can never endure this life. That means taking the nudges, accepting the tests, and allowing God to be Lord over our life. Especially when we don’t understand or even see why things happen. That is the foundation of faith. Trust.
As I began to conclude my conversation with God, I felt myself surrender. The weight wasn’t mine to carry. The worries, the new place, the new people were all a set up for me to rely on Jesus more every day. The remaining thought He gave me was this “You will be made whole”. As often as I thought I missed something or didn’t have the whole picture, these words gave me the comfort I needed to keep moving forward. I felt one more nudge to look somewhere unexpected. My very own book. As a Christian author and blogger, sometimes I find that I should take my advice. I read an entry in Daring Believer called “Trust and Believe”. It described how the woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of Jesus’s garment and was healed. She reached out to Jesus not because of what may happen but fully accepting who He is in her life. She pushed through a crowd of unbelief to get to Jesus. No matter what we are surrounded by, our job is to trust and believe in Jesus for the right outcomes. I felt reminded of the scripture after the one I used back then, “And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague” ( Mark 5:34 KJV). If her faith had made her whole, then mine had as well. If God said it, then you have no choice but to walk and be whole. You may be praying to be whole in finances, health, relationships, or even peace of mind, but being whole is one prayer away. Be rest assured that if you are daring enough to believe in Him, all you have to do is get into God’s presence for the correct answer. In scripture, Jesus tells us that, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36 KJV). Never let anyone or anything prevent you from living the whole life Jesus died for to give you. If that means looking yourself in the mirror and saying you are whole, then so be it. I left my “prayer closet” with a new perspective. I reached a turning point. I was complete, and all I needed to do was live like it.
My husband grinned as we prepared to go on our date. I beamed right back at him, joyful that my life reflected how whole I felt. We ended up going to a pottery craft shop. We scanned the room for just the right ceramic project. He grabbed a spunky dog while I took on a wise owl. As I sat down and painted my owl, I thought about how much detail God could have put into us. This owl has no idea what colors I will put on it or how many coats of paint I will use. We have no idea what we will encounter or how it will change us. The owl can never know that I am about to put it in the fire for seven days in the kiln. Not to hurt it but to make it shine brightly and sturdy. We may go through challenging situations that make us wonder about God’s love, but we will come out like the beautiful believers we are. When my little owl came out, it was gorgeous, and no one would know how much work went into it. Some people will never know your whole testimony, but you can share the goodness of the Lord by how you live your life. I chuckled at myself as I painted a little gift behind the owl. God always has a prize in store for those who endure to the end.
It is turning around for you. Just wait and see.