Friday, December 18, 2009

Thoughts on My Grandbaby

    I think, when we get news we don't want to hear, we tend to wonder why, or look for an explanation.  Science offers explanations, but in the end, nothing happens that doesn't pass through God for approval first. 
    I believe God creates little souls in heaven, and He gives us all the individual characteristics He wants us to have.  He "knits us together in our mother's womb." He decides what color our hair and eyes will be, chooses if we'll tend to be roly-poly or thin, if we'll be genius material, or creative, or practical...  He gives us all our strengths and all our weaknesses, as well as the things He wants us to change and overcome. The Bible says when He creates us, He numbers our days as well.  Some of us get many days, some, not so many.
    When the time comes to put that little soul on the earth, I do not believe he randomly selects the little soul and then randomly selects a family to receive it.  I think He, in His infinite wisdom, very carefully selects the family for each of His creations.  Sometimes we may feel cheated at His decisions, but can later look back and see how we were blessed and changed as a result.  Sometimes we feel ill-equipped for the task He charges us with, but can later look back and see how God was there with us every step of the way, and changed our lives by teaching us to rely on Him. 
    Sometimes it's hard to go forward by faith.  But all you can do is take one day at a time, and ask God for what you need, and be open to the ways that He'll be there.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Failure.  I'm not a big fan of it.  Especially when I've given it my all, and still couldn't accomplish what I started out to do.  Sometimes, repeated failure is God's way of saying it's just not His will.  In that respect, it's useful. But I think there's more to it than that.

I started smoking at the age of 15.  Not one of my better ideas, I'll admit.  Eventually, I wanted to quit.  So I did... and I failed.  I kept trying periodically over the next 17 years, each time with renewed resolve.  One time, my success lasted 7 months.  Another time, it lasted only 15 minutes.  Mostly my success could be measured in days.  But each attempt had one thing in common... eventual failure.

Looking back, there are a couple of things I feel fairly sure of.  One was that God probably preferred that I do something more meaningful with the financial resources He had entrusted to me.  The other was that He probably was not pleased with what I was doing to the once-healthy set of lungs He had given me. I would have expected Him to bless my efforts a little more mightily, these things considered.

And then something happened.  I lit up a cigarette only to discover I had completely lost all taste and desire for them.  As a matter of fact, just the sight of the ashtray made me sick!  That was the last cigarette I ever lit.

What happened?  A miracle, and obviously, it wasn't ME who accomplished it.  I think God was telling me a few things...

First, I believe he used my failures as a way to really get my attention, when the time was right.  If I had succeeded in giving up smoking on my own, I would have patted myself on the back for a job well done.  This way, there was no mistaking who was responsible, and who was not responsible.

Second, I learned that no amount of resolve or determination makes up for leaving God out of the equation.  Without Him, it can't be done, no matter what "it" is.

Third, and probably most importantly, God's working even when it really, really seems like He isn't.  He's just carrying out His own plan on His own timetable.  Just knowing this makes it a little easier to have faith when it seems like God's not paying attention to what's happening in my life.

My plan was to quit smoking.  God's plan was that I quit smoking, realize my inadequacy apart from Him, and to show me that He's worthy of my faith and trust, even (and especially) when I can't see that He's doing anything.

I got so much more from my failure than I ever would have from my success!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Cracked Pot

In case you're wondering why the name of my blog is so strange, it was based on a story I heard a long time ago, but had since lost.  My mother, who once again has saved my neck, had the story and sent it to me.  I want to make it clear that I did not write this, only read it years ago when it was circulating via email.  Thanks, Mom, again.

The Cracked Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on the ends of a pole, which he carried across his neck.

One of the pots had a crack in it, while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water.

At the end of the long walk from the stream to the house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.
For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his house.

Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do.

After 2 yrs of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream. "I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you. I have been able to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your house.
Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don't get full value from your efforts."

The bearer said to the pot,"Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of the path, but not on the other pot's side? That's because I have always known about your flaw, and I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back, you've watered them.
For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate the table. Without you being just the way you are, there would not be this beauty to grace the house."

Moral: Each of us has our own unique flaws. We're all cracked pots. But it's the cracks and flaws we each have that make our lives together so very interesting and rewarding. You've just got to take each person for what they are, and look for the good in them.

Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape. Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Gift of My Mother

I heard an interesting little ditty on Christian radio this morning, regarding mothers, and it caught my attention, since I have one and I am one.  The original thing I heard went in one ear and out the other, but left something behind as it went, something that blossomed and took on a life of its own.  It got me thinking about motherhood in general and my own mother in particular. 

It's interesting how God pairs us up, mother and daughter.  Sometimes He'll put two very alike women together, and sometimes it's just the opposite.  I suppose, in terms of personality and disposition, I'm more like my grandmother, or my dad, than like my mom.  We are often on opposite ends when it comes to mothering styles, politics, and general view of the world.  I think God pairs up daughters like me with mothers like her for a purpose.  I have much to learn from her, and she has so many characteristics I would like to emulate, at least as well as my stubborn, hard-headed, overly-practical personality will allow.

My mom was never much of a disciplinarian, but she was always there when we needed her.  She could be counted on for discretion, if it was a problem of an embarrassing nature, and she'd keep her mouth shut afterward.  When I'd do something extremely dumb, if she knew I'd learned my lesson, she'd refrain from bringing up the subject any further.  If it was a "cash flow" issue, she'd find a few bucks from somewhere to help out.  She would always come up with a creative solution to even the stickiest of situations, and she made it look so easy.  And she always seems to know when all that's really needed is a sympathetic ear.  If I ever just needed to "vent", she'd not only listen, but badmouth my adversaries even more profoundly than I!

She was, and still is,  the most fiercely loyal person I have ever known, with the possible exception of HER mother.  It didn't matter what I ever did, she stuck by me, and everyone else who was in her heart.

She also has one of the most tender and loving spirits, and an incredibly sympathetic disposition.  She lives her life with a natural graciousness and unselfishness.  She bears her physical maladies with a poise I will never have. 

One of the most quietly profound things my mom ever did was to give me an article about Madame Curie, an early female scientist and a pioneer if the field of radioactive materials. She probably doesn't even remember this, but I'll never forget it.  That article sparked an interest in science, as well as an immediate love for reading about the lives of other people.  Both of those interests are a big part of my life today, some 40 years later, and I have her to thank for exposing me to things I will spend a lifetime enjoying.

In so many ways, large and small, my mom has shaped my personality for the better, and is still doing so today.  Besides leaving her indelible mark on me, she is also shaping my children, and my grandchildren, for which I am even more grateful.  Life is hard, and they need her example.  Thank you, Mom.  I love you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trust? Who, me?

You know what baffles me?  Well, a lot of things, in general.  But at the moment, it's this: Whenever there's a problem, say a plumbing problem, I feel so much better knowing we have a plumber who knows what's going on, and has everything he needs at his disposal to fix it.  He's accessible, and when he's here, it's his top priority to get the pipes working again.  I can sit back and rest easy, knowing the plumbing is in good hands, and I don't need to fret about it.

So why is it so hard to trust God so completely?  He's so much more capable and versatile than the plumber!  He has a complete and accurate assessment of my situation at any given time, and he knows exactly what I need and when I need it, and I can trust Him to make the decisions for me that are in my best interest.  What a great setup! 

But as with plumbing, sometimes life doesn't go as we planned...  God may not have created those circumstances, but if something happens, it's because He chose to allow it.  And if He chooses to allow it, He has a reason for it.  He will get us through it, and give us what we need as we need it, and use those unpleasant circumstances to bless us in ways that would not have been possible otherwise.  God doesn't waste a hurt.  I know that.

But still, when Icky Stuff looms around the corner, and the worry threatens the present as well as the future, it shouldn't be so hard to take a deep breath and hand it over to a God so capable and loving, and to be willing to follow where he leads.  He knows what He's doing.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Saga of the Cracked Pot begins...

I became a born-again Christian about 10 years ago, and I'm still trying to find my way. I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and oftentimes it takes me longer than usual to learn a lesson, and more frequently than not, I seem to need a refresher course.

Slowly but surely, I'm getting a feel in my heart for what God says is right and wrong. Putting it in to practice, though, is another challenge altogether. It might be easier if I had a personality that tended toward the more saintly, but I sure don't.

Why this blog? So I can see where I've been and get a good idea of the direction in which I'm headed. And maybe connect with other people who are doing the same thing. I'm fumbling and praying my way through this, and the more I learn, the more I see that I have left to learn.

What follows will be my thoughts, opinions, postulations, and feelings about all things Biblical, and my attempt to make sense out of them, and most importantly, to apply them to my life.  I'd love to hear from others who are doing the same.