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.

About ths Blog

     Hi, my name is Scott Steiner. Thanks for reading "About this Blog". In this section I would like to introduce myself and give you the background as to how "Lessons from the Lathe Ministries" came to be. You need to know that the lessons which I will be sharing do not come from Bible college and seminary training. They come from the Seminary of Life; School of Advanced trials! God, in His sovereignty has allowed my family to go through an extended period of testing that I would not wish on others. But through it He has radically changed my understanding of His Word and my relationship to Him.
     First a bit about my family. I have been blessed with a wonderful wife,Brenda; we have enjoyed nearly 30 years of marriage. God blessed us with eight children ranging in age from 26 to 9.  This past year God has given us two new sons-in-law and a daughter in-law. I am also privileged to be "papa" to two adorable red heads and am looking forward to the birth of my third grandchild..
     Over the years of marriage, we have experienced many of the normal trials through which couples go. But 2007 was the start of an extended period of testing for our family. In April my son-in-law, who was 25 at the time was diagnosed with malignant melanoma; then in December I was diagnosed with GIST a rare form of cancer. The next year began with a bang, when I tore my ACL and needed to have two surgeries to repair it. I call 2008 my year of surgery. On top of my two knee surgeries; I also went through extensive surgery for my cancer and an extended stay in the hospital, and an additional abdominal surgery. My family medical leave expired due to the extended time away from work and so I lost the job I had loved for 10 years.
     It was during my time away from work that my uncle took me to his workshop and taught me to turn pens. I did not realize it at the time but this was God's way of directing me into a new area of ministry. My uncle helped me to set up my workshop and I set about developing my craft; during that first year I created over 200 pens! It was a great way to keep my mind off all the things that were "going  wrong" in my life.
     Late in 2008, my younger sister was diagnosed with Glioblastoma a very aggressive brain cancer. Now there were three in my family battling cancer at the same time. What a blow to our whole extended family!
     2009  was a good year for me year health wise, as I was on a treatment tha was keeping my cancer in check. But cancer was not done with our family, as in October, Josh's stepfather was diagnosed with Colorectal cancer. And now there were four: Josh, his stepdad, my sister, and me. Josh's cancer progress to the point, that by December, they had decided that they had done all they could and they would try to enjoy what time he had left. Christmas was very difficult, but very dear to us, as Josh announced to the family that he knew that the cancer was going to take his life. It wasn't a matter of if, but when.     
     As the new year began I was dealt the blow that my treatment was no longer effective and that my cancer was growing once again. At the same time that I was switching treatments, my son-in-law was entering hospice. I don't have to tell you what an emotional time this was for us. In February, Josh passed away, ending his three year battle with cancer. Many people would say how sad. But honestly, the cancer made him into the man he was. God used his cancer to mature him and give him a passion for his family. He told us that, if through his cancer, his stepfather would come to know the Lord it would all be worth it. We were excited to hear that through his own journey and Josh's testimony Frank did come to know the Lord. God is so good!
     The year continued with the same whirlwind of the previous few. Over the next 13 months we experienced four funerals, as first Josh, then my sister and then Frank all finished their battles with cancer. But we also experienced the joy of three weddings; as two of my children married for the first time, and God brought a new man into the life of my widowed daughter. God gives blessings and allows sorrows; this was vividly illustrated to us as my grandmother passed away the day of my daughter's wedding!
     I don't want this to be a sob story and have you think that I am in the midst of a pity party. Many other families have problems as the economy struggles, health issues are previlent, there is political turmoil everywhere, and the world has experienced many natural disasters. At times life seems hopeless! But I can truly say that God "works all things together for good to them that love Him..."
     The lathe is my seminary; it is the place I go to contemplate life. As the chips fly and the pen takes shape, I am able to understand more about life. God has allowed me to see so clearly how the process I use in transforming wood and antler into pens parallels the process He follows in maturing His children. I love the Lord. I desire to know and understand Him more. I search for Him in His word, I see Him in His creation, and I experience Him in every detail of my life. I desire that God's work in me would not be in vain; I pray that He will open opportunities for me to share the comfort and hope which He has given me. As my son-in-law said near the end of his life, "If one person can come to know Christ though all that I have experience, it will be worth it!"
     Thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you will find my entries encouraging as you go through the continuing process of life.

God is good..