Friday, March 10, 2006

Always Look on the Inside

I received this through email the other day and have continued to read it over and over again several times. I feel like it's one of those things worth sharing. It's a powerful reminder of how we need to see others through the eyes of Jesus.


Always Look on the Inside

I remember reading a story once about a man who was exploring some caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled up some clay and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man so he took the bag out of the cave with him.

As he strolled along the beach, to pass the time, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could throw.

He thought little about it until he dropped one of the balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone. Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left, then it struck him.

He had been on the beach a long time. He had thrown maybe 50 or 60 of the clay balls with their hidden treasure into the ocean waves. Instead of thousands of dollars in treasure, he could have had tens of thousands, but he just threw it all away.

You know sometimes, it's like that with people. We look at someone, maybe even ourselves, and we see the external clay vessel. It doesn't look like much from the outside. It isn't always beautiful or sparkling, so we discount it; we see that person as less important than someone more beautiful or stylish or well known or wealthy.

But we have not taken the time to find the treasure hidden inside that person. There is a treasure hidden in every one of us. We are wonderfully made. Not just our physical bodies, our spiritual selves, which are sometimes hidden from others by the *earthen vessel*

But if you take the time to get to know that person, and if you ask the Spirit to show you that person the way He sees them, then the clay begins to peel away and the brilliant gem begins to shine forth.

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him with his friendship.

-- Author Unknown


You know, we are clay vessels as well. Scripture tells us, that Jesus is the Potter and we are the clay. He is continually molding us and re-shaping us each day to look more and more like him. He is not only molding and re-shaping us as Christians, He is molding and re-shaping all those around us. Even those who we might choose to overlook. How different would our contact with others be if we always looked at others through the eyes of Jesus and remembered that His hands are all over every person, molding and re-shaping them every day. There are hidden treasures in these human clay vessels as well. I pray that we stop and take the time to enjoy the beauty of Jesus in everyone.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A Mother's Prayer

Well, life has changed a bit for us again... Jeremy now has his drivers license! So please say a few extra prayers for him & us!! Seriously, he is a good driver, but a few extra prayers never hurt!

This new phase in his life has caused me to reflect on the different stages of my prayer life as a mom. I have always prayed for my children, even before they were born, and have continued to pray for them daily ever since. As I'm sure many of you do as well. But in looking back over the years, I can see how those prayers change through the different phases of their lives.

You begin praying that they will grow and develop and everything physical will be normal. Then as they grow you begin praying for the new things they are learning. And sometimes praying more for yourself as they are learning all these new things!! You pray them through those early years and you feel like things are going pretty well. Then all of sudden there are boyfriends or girlfriends in the picture and you realize there are even more things to pray about!

I have always prayed for my children's spouses and the children they will some day have since they were very young. I learned that from a very Godly preacher's wife I know! And what a blessing that has been in my life! Especially as I have watched how the prayers for her own children all through these years have impacted their lives and helped to shape the Godly Christians they have become. It gives you great hope in what God has planned for your children when you are watching someone else’s prayers for their children unfold. "Jeremiah 29:11."

Then the driving phase hits and your prayers change again. Not only for safety, but for yourself as you realize it's time to slowly start letting go. Not completely letting go, but realizing that your time left with them is growing shorter. God has a way of helping us through that letting go process little by little. I believe that driving is really the first big step in that. It lets you know your children are growing up and that if you have diligently been praying for them, it's time to at least 'begin' to let God take control of your worries over them.

Because the next step is off to college! And boy, do you ever have to start letting go at that point! You have to trust in God that through all the mistakes you've made through the years with your children, and believe me, there are plenty of them, that you have given them a strong enough foundation to help them make Godly decisions in their own lives.

As a mom, that letting go is a hard thing to do. But I know that as I begin to slowly let go with Jeremy, and have been letting go even further with Ashley, that God is right there to pick them up and carry them for me. I know that he will never let them fall without being right there to pick them up. And for a mom letting go... that is the greatest comfort imaginable.

"30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:30,31 ESV "

I will never stop praying for my children, their future spouses and even the children they will some day have in the future. But I know that even though I have to begin letting go as their earthy parent, there Heavenly Father is holding on tighter than ever! What a blessing!

I pray that my children soar with God! And that is my prayer for your children as well.