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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

It Is the Potter's Choice

It is the Potter's Choice
3-23-15

Anna Knoedl



“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” Romans 9:20-21

With Parkinson's Disease, there are some days that are better than others. These days, I don't have the strength I did a few years ago – or even a year ago. It's not just that. My speech is slow and sometimes I don't breathe properly when speaking. I sound clumsy and hesitant, as if I am confused (which I am not). Sometimes people ask if I'm OK, and when I say yes, they politely look away as if they believed me. It's hard dealing with a body which doesn't act right. There is a list of things that at one time I did well – things that I no longer can do. Perhaps the most distressing thing is that I am not as sharp of mind as I used to be. I have talked to God a lot about this, shrinking from the humiliation of feeblemindedness. The best way of dealing with it is to face it head on, without complaining and be grateful for all that I do have.


“You turn things around! Shall the potter be considered as equal with the clay, That what is made would say to its maker, "He did not make me"; Or what is formed say to him who formed it, "He has no understanding ?” Isaiah 29:16
**
I am cut to the quick when I read this. Earth's brief period of temporal favor – temporary blessings – are meaningless and though once enjoyed, have been spent and no longer have even momentary value. These “blessings” are but a memory. Trying to hold onto them is rather like an old woman trying to look young. It is futile and heartbreaking to have pride in what I once could do, or to be proud of how I once looked. I used to feel capable of almost anything, but the “list” narrows it down a lot.

Strong and quick of mind, I never doubted my abilities. My voice did not waver or fade away in the middle of a sentence, nor was the sight of me unpleasant and there was no stiffness or muscles pulling the wrong way, making my body crooked. my gate once graceful, now can be labored and without rhythm – out of time and beat; I feel I am ugly............ heard only by those who see beyond all the clutter of once pleasant attributes that make the truth attractive. Like an unfaithful friend, these are all gone – the list of things I cannot do.- they are like a vapor this image I thought was me. Like an abandoned wife, I feel like I am worthless and ill suited for any worldly cause at all. My pride is still clinging to the old garments of self. I have found myself cradling yesterday's rotten clothes desperate to be that ghost.

“The Lord said: Israel, you have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter. The clay doesn’t ask, “Why did you make me this way? Where are the handles?” Isaiah 45:9
Even time is fleeting. To what end? Once spent, forever gone and even memories fade
If this is all there is, then I am with nothing. Give me something to replace the longing I feel for Egypt.

Creator – Maker – Help me!!!! I am missing Egypt. and feeling sorry for myself. How do I yield to Your right to do with me what You will? How do I surrender completely to You, being willing to lose all things for Your sake? Paul got there. He said, “ But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,… “ Philippians 3:8



Diving into the deep end of the pool of water that You are, it is at first bitter. I know that eventually it will sweeten. But there is no “half in and half out”. I can see clearly that though it feels all wrong and perhaps even hopeless, this is the way that matters. I choose to plunge my whole self into the cold icy truth. I am what You have made me – I have what You have given me – I agree to dream only those dreams that You allow; I give up my own ideas wholeheartedly, holding back nothing, knowing that the only place for me – the only life that I can have is what You choose; what pleases You. I know that You are in authority over me. At my invitation, You will break away what resists. You will decide if I glorify Your name in power or weakness, beautiful or practical, graceful or not, healthy or sick..........You are the potter and I am the clay. With Your hands, You will work truth and beauty into my substance – kneed it til it's ready. Then another process begins. Until I am done. On this earth there will be the burning away of what is impure, useless or unyielding, and I choose not to fight this. It is a daily decision to die to what I wish and what I want. In the end, You are really all that I could want. You are what I need.

“But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'" Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?” Romans 9:20-21


I am cut to the quick when I read this. Earth's brief period of temporal favor – temporary blessings – are meaningless and though once enjoyed, have been spent and no longer have even momentary value. These “blessings” are but a memory. Trying to hold onto them is rather like an old woman trying to look young. It is futile and heartbreaking to have pride in what I once could do, or to be proud of how I once looked. I used to feel capable of almost anything, but this “list” narrows it down a lot.

Strong and quick of mind, I never doubted my abilities. My voice did not waver or fade away in the middle of a sentence, nor was the sight of me unpleasant and there was no stiffness or any muscles pulling the wrong way, making my body crooked. my gate once graceful, now can be labored and without rhythm – out of time and beat; I feel I am ugly............ heard only by those who see beyond all the clutter of once pleasant attributes that make the truth attractive. Like an unfaithful friend, these are all gone – the list of things I cannot do.- they are like a vapor this image I thought was me. Like an abandoned wife, I feel like I am worthless and ill suited for any worldly cause at all. My pride is still clinging to the old garments of self. I have found myself cradling yesterday's rotten clothes desperate to be that ghost.

“The Lord said: Israel, you have no right to argue with your Creator. You are merely a clay pot shaped by a potter. The clay doesn’t ask, “Why did you make me this way? Where are the handles?” Isaiah 45:9
Even time is fleeting. To what end? Once spent, forever gone and even memories fade
If this is all there is, then I am with nothing. Give me something to replace the longing I feel for Egypt.

Creator – Maker – Help me!!!! I am missing Egypt. and feeling sorry for myself. How do I yield to Your right to do with me what You will? How do I surrender completely to You, being willing to lose all things for Your sake? Paul got there. He said, “ But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ,and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,… “ Philippians 3:8



Diving into the deep end of the pool of water that You are, it is at first bitter. I know that eventually it will sweeten. But there is no “half in and half out”. I can see clearly that though it feels all wrong and perhaps even hopeless, this is the way that matters. I choose to plunge my whole self into the cold icy truth. I am what You have made me – I have what You have given me – I agree to dream only those dreams that You allow; I give up my own ideas wholeheartedly, holding back nothing, knowing that the only place for me – the only life that I can have is what You choose; what pleases You. I know that You are in authority over me. At my invitation, You will break away what resists. You will decide if I glorify Your name in power or weakness, beautiful or practical, graceful or not, healthy or sick..........You are the potter and I am the clay. With Your hands, You will work truth and beauty into my substance – kneed it til it's ready. Then another process begins. Until I am done. On this earth there will be the burning away of what is impure, useless or unyielding, and I choose not to fight this. It is a daily decision to die to what I wish and what I want. In the end, You are really all that I could want. You are what I need.

5 comments:

Andrea B said...

Hello!

I think what you're doing on this blog is amazing. I wanted to reach out because I'm part of a group of students at Harvard Business School who are launching a medical accessories company. Our aim is to infuse dignity into the patient experience by designing medical products that are both functional AND design-focused for patients with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

You can see our website at www.blackpebblemedical.com for an introduction to our first product, a bag for carrying self-catheterization supplies. We believe that this bag can help self-catheterizing patients with Parkinson’s organize and carry their cath supplies in a safer, easier, and more discreet way.

We are so inspired by your blog and your work, and would be honored if you would consider sharing information on our company with your readers. Understand that’s a big ask, so we would love to connect with you to introduce ourselves in more detail. Please let me know if you would be willing to chat.

Thank you!
Andrea

Anna said...

Andrea, thank you so much for your encouragement! Sometimes I wonder if I make a difference at all, so it's so nice to hear from a reader. I write as I feel inspired to and of course when I get feedback, that helps. Feel free to send me any more info.
Thanks,
Anna

juju said...

Anna, I miss your blogs. Please write again!

juju said...

Anna I miss your writings.

Anna said...

Dear Juju, thank you for your comments! I have missed hearing from you. I have gone through a season of being busy with many things, and did not particularly feel inspired to write new material. I wondered if it weren't time to just be still and silent.... So thank you for the encouragement to get back in the saddle!
Love,
Anna