Life is Hard!

I am a strong believer that God uses everything that happens in life to teach us something about Himself if we will just listen to His Spirit and allow Him to instruct us. Then I search God’s Word to see what God has specifically said regarding what the Spirit has impressed upon my mind.

I am a pen turner and I love to work at my lathe. I have learned many things about life as I work at my lathe. Each step of the process in turning a piece of wood or antler into a pen is painful to the material with which I am working. The process includes cutting, drilling, shaping, sanding, polishing, friction, and pressure. But when the process is complete the material has been transformed; it has new beauty, value, and purpose. Something of little value now has greater value, all because it endured a painful process! Life is full of difficulties and it easy to become overwhelmed. But there is a purpose behind each hardship; they are all part of a process to shape and mold us into some of greater value and purpose. My desire in writing this blog is to encourage and maybe stir up some conversation with the lessons that God has been teaching me through the painful process of life. Life is hard, but God is good. May He continue working His process in my life.

If you are going to read any of my posts be sure to ready "Introduction to Lessons from the Lathe". In that post I lay out the basis for all the other blogs.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The "For Such A Time As This" Moment

I have some mahogany in my shop that was given to me about five years ago. I have it all been trimmed to the proper size for pen making and stacked in a bin in my shop. It is ready whenever I choose to use it.

Recently I desired to make a couple of inexpensive pens that I could give away. So I selected a couple of pieces of the mahogany from my inventory and created a number of very nice, inexpensive pens. They were just what I had in mind.

As I was working on at the lathe, I couldn't help but ask myself why I hadn't used this wood sooner. It was mine, it was the right size, it was good wood, and the finished product looked nice. The only answer that I could come up with was that I just hadn't desired to use it until this point. I hadn't forgotten about the mahogany, I hadn't neglected it, or given up on it. I just wasn't ready to use it; I didn't have a purpose for it at that time. But when I was ready to use it, it was there in the bin just waiting to be chosen.

Sometime I get impatient waiting for God to finish what He is doing in my life, or at least make visible progress. There are times when it feels like He is not working at all and , like that mahogany, I am just sitting in His workshop waiting. It gets really discouraging.

What I need to be thankful for is that I am in God's workshop! He has chosen me and made me His own. I need to remember that God is the craftsman; He decides what He will make and when He will make it. I am the material from which He will create His workmanship. The role of the material is just to be available when the craftsman chooses to use it.

What encouragement this lesson gave me. I am His; He is not done with me yet. What conviction I felt for being impatient and questioning God. Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." When it feels that God has forgotten you and that you'll never amount to much, remember that God is the master craftsman. He has a plan and a purpose. Don't get weary in the waiting. Be ready when God reaches for you; be ready for your "such a time as this" moment. Esther 4:14 And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” And always remember Philippians 1:6, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ."

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Renewal of passion

What was it about turning pens that I was so passionate about when I first began crafting them? It was seeing something beautiful created from something that was unattractive and dead. It stirred my heart because it was such a reminder to me of God's work in my life. The process was hard but the end product had new beauty, value, and purpose! I couldn't wait to get in the shop each day to be reminded that God was still working in my life. I couldn't wait to be reminded that everything that was happening in my life was just part of the process of God conforming me to the image of Christ.

It wasn't so much the making of the pens that I was passionate about, it was the sharing of the lessons that God had taught me in the shop. It was being able to say to people going through a difficult time that the Master Craftsman knows what He is doing; be patient because the finished product will be worth the pain of the process. I was able to share it because I was experiencing it daily in my life; as God used my cancer, loss of job, and financial difficulties shape me and mold me. I could honestly say, "God is good." It was my daily prayer of praise!

Somewhere in the past couple of years, I lost my passion. I lost sight of the fact that God knows what He is doing and I began to question His choices for my life. Romans 9:20 says, "Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, 'Why have you made me like this?'" I was asking that question a lot!

But as Philippians 1:6, reminds us, "God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns." God has faithfully continued to work in my life and He has been restoring to me a vision for His purpose for my life. I may question how much longer I must continue to spin on the lathe, but I can trust the Master. He won't leave me on the lathe any longer than necessary to complete the work.

This weekend I was speaking to a friend and they encouraged me to begin writing again. I am not sure if anyone even will read my posts anymore. I have been so inconsistent over the past two years that I may have lost any credibility that I had. I don't know if I can even put thoughts down in a way that makes sense or is interesting to read. But, God willing, as He teaches me new lessons, I will share them on this blog.

God is good.