Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Chisel He Chooses

Oh friends. It has been awhile.

I have wanted to write...but then I realize there is no time yet again. And then I wonder, "about what would I even write?" Certainly you don't have any more time than I. I surely don't want to waste your time on empty words.

Ever have seasons of your life that you just wonder if anything is really HAPPENING?

It's awfully fun to start a new job, have a new baby, get engaged, be called to a new place of ministry and watch God open doors left and right. The high is truly unlike anything else!

And get there. You assimilate as best you can. Your learning is on a high curve and you begin to "feel it." You are doing it! Your new thing He's given is yours and it feels amazing!

And then, things just sort of settle. You adjust. You forge out a new normal.


Can't say I like the word, really.

Life is really quite daily. Not many biographies say this. And why would they? Biographies are written about the INCREDIBLE things that have taken place in a person's life. Things worth remembering.

The daily stuff, well, it isn't book worthy. But it is what life is really full of.

The missionary that goes off to his most heart's desired land...

The aching infertile woman delivers her most treasured baby...

The advocate sees her bill pass into law...

The student crosses the stage and is now called graduate...


Life. The daily stuff.

So, I think you get me. That's where I sit. My life consists of parenting a most incredible set of Shaw children. Five of them. (One of me. One of my husband. Oh my yes, we are very outnumbered!) Our lives are drained completely by the end of each day.

I have so many, many moments when I wonder why such things are happening. How did I get here? Is this really what I wanted? Why are things so difficult? Is there anyone in this house looking out for ME...or is it only the other way around?

Self. It's always there. Pushing to get more "air time."

I almost think with so many toddlers in the house (there are at least seven I am convinced!) that the selfish part of me rises up STRONGER. They think so little of my needs that I think of them MORE intensely than normally.

I don't like this. I pray each morning for God to fill me. For there to be less of ME and more of Him. Not even a "less and more" equation, but a total replacement of me with Him.

Oh yes, this is what I crave.

Yet, the puzzles are poured out all over the floor (again), the drink got spilled all over the homework (again), the potty mistake causes more clean up involving more time than we have causing us to be late (again), the plant is torn apart by little hands (again), the book pages ripped out (again), the game pieces are now lost in a moment of sheer toddler delight as they threw them around while I was upstairs folding laundry (again).

This is my new normal. This is where I have settled.

I find myself not wanting this normal. I want to reject it. I want them to hurry up through toddlerhood. Start being responsible. Start contributing to the family rather than causing diasters in their wake.

But this is not my choice. This is what He is using in my life to bring about what He has for me to learn. Not to mention the purpose of directing their little lives toward the God of Creation.

These disasters, these fits they throw...I am not proud to say that I do not respond as I want to. I am with Paul the writer of this passage from Romans 7: 19:
"For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing."

I realized yesterday that God will not come busting in and deliver His Spirit of gentleness to me as I blaze in anger at the situation. No. He is not a God who forces Himself on His people. He waits for us to turn to Him.

In those very overwhelming moments I must stop and ask Him for His presence to overtake me. He is more than able to handle my trying situations, why then do I carry on as if I have no help from on high?

I was delighting in the presence of my fellow sisters in Christ today. As we considered the Word and God's ways, a friend said something about "pondering the work He is doing in us as He uses the chisel He has chosen."

The chisel He has chosen.

I love that.

Who of us comes to our Lord and asks for pain and suffering? Who of us chooses our chisel?

Do we approach God in prayer and request that He grant us a child with a life threatening disease so we could learn what lessons He might have for us?

Do we ask for people to lie about us and falsely accuse us so we can better understand the suffering of our Savior?

Might we pray for God to allow us to be fired from our job so we can know that we depend upon Him alone to provide?

Would we ask for a fire to come and blaze through all our possessions so we could learn the lesson of dependence upon Him?

No, no, no and no. We do not choose our chisels. Thank God!!

I have long ago given my life to Jesus. I have written out on a sticky note in the front of my Bible, "God has the freedom to do in my life as He chooses." And then over the years I have added the things that He's brought into my life that I never saw coming. So many good things. Many that have been hard. But none have I chosen.

And so I come back to my little house full of children and their squabbles, messes and whiny attitudes. I turn my eyes back to the mound of unfolded laundry that waits for my attention. I smell that rancid smell of yet another diarrhea filled diaper. I catch the child's eyes that toy with me to see if I'll be a faithful mother to him, unlike the one who left before. I see that the dog hair has once again collected along the baseboards, waiting for my broom. The homework left on the table that didn't make it into the school bag. The bag of groceries waiting for me to turn it into dinner.

This is my current chisel.

And really, it's not bad. Not bad at all!
(Are we not so very well aware of the billions of chisels that we do not want?) 

God is carefully teaching us through the circumstances He permits in our lives. He has lovingly crafted a curriculum for each one of us. No one has the same schedule, classes or lessons. It is tailored exactly for us. What a beautiful thing!

And I pray in this moment for me to learn what He has for me through this chisel He has chosen.

"Teach me, Lord. Help me to not waste these moments on my selfish thoughts. Carve me into the shape you desire using this present chisel."


  1. Oh Amy! Am I with you! So much so that my post from yesterday is eerily similar to this one. Love you friend!

  2. What a very good word! You know, when that chisel is set down and you are looking at your Savior face to face - you will look just like Him. Love you.

  3. Hey Amy, Thanks for putting my thoughts into your words! You are a treasure to me and to so many others! Enjoy your daily day! It's what life is made of and I'm sure there will be many glimpses of Jesus in it too! Love you! Jamie

  4. I love your heart. So real, and the words paint such a clear picture of human struggle in the daily doldrums of real Christ living. In the mess. In the "regular". In the seemingly unnoticed millions of things we do.

    But He notices.

    And you, me, we are in the process of becoming who God intended us to be; In the NORMAL. :)

    Love you!!!! xoxoxoxoxox!


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