God’s plans are always Plan A!

Most of us like it when Plan A works and we never have to look at Plan B or C.  Many times we are only thinking of Plan A and don’t have a Plan B.  However, life sometimes throws a wrench into the plans.  This verse was on my desk calendar today and made me realize that if we commit our plans to God, we must be faithful to trust that His plan is always best!!

Usually when we look back on life, we can see distinct evidence of how Plan B was the better plan and most likely God’s Plan A for us all along!

Shampoo Bottle Anxiety

I threw away some shampoo bottles and had a slight anxiety attack.  It was similar, but not as rough, as the one I had the night the pastor search committee called to tell me that they had finished their search.  Now, before you think that I have gone off the deep end or that I need help, please keep reading.

I have a walk-in shower.  Mike kept his shampoo, soap and shaving cream on one side and I had the other.  When he passed away, I didn’t move them.  I would clean around them but I left them there.  I suppose it was my way of feeling like things were still normal.  They didn’t change the way that the sun came up each day or how I did my daily activities.  It was a subtle reminder that Mike might have been the only one keeping Prell shampoo in business.  However, last week I decided to replace the shower curtain.  This led to a complete bathroom cleaning.  I decided to throw them away.  After putting them in the trash, I felt my emotions wash over me (no pun intended).  It was just shampoo/soap bottles.

The night that I got the call that the pastor search committee had finished their search was difficult.  I was at Hannah’s cheer practice and it was almost over.  Once again, emotions swept over me and it was like a river of tears exploded from my eyes.  My heart sank again as I knew that the final closure had come.  Anxiety.  Tears.  Grief.  It wasn’t because I didn’t know that it would eventually happen.  It was just another thing I had to face.

The anxiety over the shampoo bottles faded quickly.  It is amazing how God can just help you to smile through it.  I could even feel Mike smiling as he shook his head at me.  Likewise, the day after I heard about the pastor coming to MHBC, I felt God leading me to contact him via email to introduce myself since Hannah and I would be out of town during the weekend of the call.  I also listened to his sermons online and felt very impressed with his style of preaching and teaching.   God was in control of this and I knew that He would send the right person to the church.  In less than 24 hours of the onset of anxiety, a peace had come over me.  Life goes on and God has a plan.

Anxiety is real and can sweep over you quickly.  How you handle it is what is important.  I don’t always like being an adult or doing the things that my husband used to do but life goes on and God has a plan.  Sometimes we must realize that our faith is created in simple things and we just have to be prepared to let go of the “shampoo bottles” and continue to live each day one breath at a time.

The Potter and the Clay

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father.  We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”  Isaiah 64:8

potterClay is made from various organic materials, some of which may contain impurities.  It starts as a ball of clay that doesn’t really have any meaning to it.  As it is shaped on a potter’s wheel, it is pinched, pulled, stretched and squeezed into a shape.  One of the things that the potter must do first is to make sure that the clay is centered and balanced on the potter’s wheel.  The potter must also hollow out the middle while ensuring a good foundation at the bottom.  As the potter continues to shape the vessel, he may choose to add features to make it unique.  For example, the potter may add a spout to turn the vessel into a pitcher.  After the vessel is designed, it is put into a kiln.  The kiln is set at a high temperature which helps to remove the excess water from the clay.  The clay becomes hardens and becomes stronger.  The final steps are to seal it with a glaze or add decorations which makes it ready to use.

It is easy to see why God referred to himself as the Potter and us as the clay.  Before we have a relationship with Christ, we are like that ball of clay.  We are full of raw material and impurities that need work.  As we begin to learn about God, He begins to mold us.  God makes sure that we are centered on Him and that we have a proper foundation.  He shapes us through life experiences, people in our life and those who minister to us.  As we are stretched and pulled, we are also given spiritual gifts that help add uniqueness to our vessel.  It may be like a spout so that we may pour out our gifts to others.  We are put through difficult situations that get the excess things out of our lives so that we may become stronger to serve God and others.  It is only when we accept Christ into our lives that He purifies us, forgives us of our impurities and sin and comes to live in our hearts to guide us every day.  Without that personal relationship, the vessel is not complete.

Do you know what happens to the clay if it is not fired in the kiln?  It doesn’t become a hard vessel that can be used.  It may be so beautiful as it sits on the potter’s wheel.  It may have the most intricate features and decorations and look perfect on the outside.  However, if it isn’t fired in the kiln….SMASH!  With one blow, it becomes a ball of clay again.  Just like the clay that cannot become a strong vessel without going into the kiln, we cannot be a complete vessel without a personal relationship with the Lord.

The art doesn’t stop when the clay comes out of the kiln.  Sometimes it falls and breaks.  Life isn’t always easy, because we don’t just sit on a shelf where bad things can’t happen.  Do you know how it can still be beautiful?  God picks up our broken and shattered vessels when life is hard and tragedies happen.  He takes those pieces and can still use them to make something new.  In the end, we are always a beautiful creation to God.