This past Sunday, as I stood in church and worshipped God with my fellow believers, I thought back to my first time back to church after my surgery. I was weak, but I was worshipping…
As sweat drips from his brow, a man peers over the edge of a bridge to the speeding cars below. Wind blows through his hair as his heart beats fast and hard, feeling as if it will beat clear through his shirt. Thoughts of what happened swarm through his mind as the weight of his mistake holds him hostage, frozen in time. I can't take this anymore. I've had enough. I failed and there's no turning back.
He looks to his right and his left, wipes his brow and takes a deep breath of release before he takes his fateful plunge. When all of a sudden...
The loud, stern cry of a faraway bystander holds him back. The bystander walks calmly and cautiously in his direction with their hands in the air, reasoning with him to come down and realize that jumping won't solve his problem...
This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel (Jeremiah 18:1-6 NIV).
Many of us have been on the Potter's wheel lately. Tossing and turning. Swirling and stretching. Painfully growing through the discomfort and heat of the process. I know it's been tough. The potter's wheel isn't glamorous. It isn't pretty. It's messy and quite confusing. It takes everything in you to stay the course and allow God to shape you and mold you through the trials of life, many of which make no sense to your logical thinking and reasoning. And yet, if we jump and abort the process, we will be left as an unfinished lump of clay, always wondering what could have and would have happened if only we'd stayed the course.
As someone who is right there with you, let me encourage you today. Before you make a drastic move and try to fix the circumstance yourself in an attempt to assist God (because of course, the God who runs the universe needs our help in running our lives), don't jump. Don't jump off the Potter's wheel. God is working in you something far greater and bigger than what your mind can even conceive right now. If you want to be used by Him in a great way, you've got to submit to the process. Looking back over your life, I'm sure that you can recall a time of transition and growth where you thought there was no way you would make it through. And yet, as you stayed the course and allowed the Potter to have His way, you came out of that situation as a better person and are thankful you went through it. The same thing applies to now. God is molding us, shaping us, and preparing us for His work through us. He is forming us into vessels of honor. And in the end, He will be glorified in our lives, sanctified and useful for Him.
But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work (2 Timothy 2:20-21 NIV).
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
Leave Your Beauty Mark
When I hear or think of this word, I am immediately transported back to a season of my life during college where everything and everyone that I trusted in was completely stripped away. Friends that I'd know since my freshman year all of a sudden acted like they didn't know me. My family that I love and trust was miles away. My image, the clothes, shoes, and hairstyles that I enjoyed and felt somewhat defined me where no longer appropriate for my current season. I was pregnant with change. See, when you're pregnant, you can't just wear the things you used to wear and do the things you used to do. Your diet changes. Your weight increases. Those high heeled stilettos that you used to wear all over town are no longer cutting it. It's time for the flats, baby.
The local church is one of the greatest blessings to the world today. The love and giving that God has called us to is a precious gift and great responsibility. We have been given the gift of grace and the responsibility to be His hands and feet in the earth. Every Sunday, and throughout the week, I look forward to gathering together with my brothers and sisters in praise & worship to God. I pray that one day I can join together with churches around the world in this way. Today, I'm thankful for my pastors & leaders that selflessly shepherd the congregations of the world and teach us God's word, and the gift of the family of God.
There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6, 12, 27 NKJV)
So, what are you thankful for today? Did you join in worship with your family today? Leave a comment below and join me in thanking God for His goodness today!
Emonne Markland Leave Your Beauty Mark
This morning, I woke up to a delicate kiss from sweet little lips & a soft "mmmmmmwahhh." That's my Grace. The first moment I saw her I was captivated. She was honestly the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. It's a joy to watch her grow and freely express herself without a care in the world. Everywhere we go she makes a friend, gives a hug and tries to share something with others. She has brought so much joy to our family and I'm so thankful for the one, the only, Amazing Grace.
So, what are you thankful for tonight? Leave a comment of thanksgiving below!
Emonne Markland Leave Your Beauty Mark
Good evening, ladies. I couldn't pass up this day without sharing with you how meaningful this date is to me. Today is the 5 year anniversary of my surgery. I cannot even explain how thankful I am to be alive. God gave me a second chance on life and today I remember His faithfulness to see me through the darkest day of my life. Not only did I survive cancer, but I was able to get married, reproduce and give birth to my daughter Grace. A few weeks ago, I had an extensive physical exam and received a great report from my doctor from all the test results. "Thank you" just can't seem to express all of my gratitude. I pray that my life will bring Him glory and that when it is my time to go, I will have emptied out all that He's placed inside of me, leaving my beauty mark on the world.
Emonne Markland Leave Your Beauty Mark
The door that never opened. The job offer that fell through. The relationship that you've been forcing to work even though it's not. The house deal that flopped. Whatever the situation may be in your life. Maybe, just maybe, God has it sealed for your protection. Don't force it open. You may find yourself opening a can of worms.
Friends, I really believe this to be true. So many doors have closed in my face over the years, some even opened, allowed me in, and then pushed me back out! I used to get mad, disappointed and even a little depressed a few times. Now, I know that I don't even have to worry about it. If something doesn't work out my way, I trust that God has something even better on the way.
This year, we are all expecting great things and I believe that great things are coming! That being said, we must keep in mind that things may happen much differently than we expect them to. You may be focusing on and preparing for door A and God's will for you in 2012 may be door Y. Trust Him no matter what. He's in control. And His plan is always better than ours. Be blessed and have a joy-filled weekend.
Emonne Markland Leave YOUR Beauty Mark
If you're reading this post right now, you have a testimony. God has brought you through the storms of life time and time again. He was with you on the operating table. He was with you at the isle. He was with you in the wilderness. He was with you at the highest mountain. And in all that you've been through, God wants you to know that HE is the one that brought you to where you are today and that all of the things that you've been through have built the tools and weapons that you need to withstand through the trials and tests of life. When the enemy comes to accuse you and condemn you, bringing up your past and telling you that God is not going to come through for you this time, you can stretch back your faith to all of the times that God WAS there and when He DID bring you through. You can stand strong with your head held high, look your accuser square in the face and say, "There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! I am more than a conqueror through Christ. NO WEAPON formed against me shall prosper!" This week, stand strong in your testimony. Know that you are redeemed through the Blood of Jesus. That you are justified, "just-as-if-I'd" never done it. Don't allow the enemy to keep beating you up and oppressing you with your circumstances, past mistakes & failures. Enough is enough! The enemy is under your feet! Speak the Word and hold fast to your freedom in Christ! And remember this: Your greatest test gave birth to your greatest testimony. You. Have. The. Victory.