I've been doing some pondering about this last year. Had I known what it would hold, I wonder if I would have so readily entered?

It has been a difficult year for me, personally and emotionally. Much of what I encountered and processed through was not open to share in most circles, let alone an open forum such as this. There was stuff my head and heart needed to sift and process through. As I look back, I am reminded that I am just clay in the Potter's hand. He promises that He is working on me to make something beautiful of my life… a creation after His own heart.

I want inner beauty. I want to have His heart. I want Him to apply the pressure of molding me. I want Him to squeeze and shape me. I even want the rough brush to caress my skin now and then, applying the radiant colors.

But this last year found me in more than the uncomfortable, the irritating or the frustrating. This last year found me in the fire…the Refiner's fire.

I have been on the edge of the oven before, in the heat. This last year I found myself immersed in the center of the flame. The Master Potter saw that it was time to apply some of the heat required to move this piece closer to completion.

I did not like the fire.

There were times I tried to look through the flames to catch just one glimpse of the Master Potter sitting just on the other side, but I couldn't always see Him. My brain knew He was there but my heart questioned otherwise. I pleaded and begged to be removed from the fire. I knew it was for my good but I couldn't see how. Surely there was another way.

As I was turned in the fire, I would catch glimpses of His face, and then once again nothing.

I would hear soft whispers as He spoke, and then silence.

I would feel His hands ever so gently cradled beneath me and then gone.

I found a range of emotions surge through my spirit as I endured the scorching heat.

I sensed panic, abandonment, anger, questioning, fear, doubt and hurt. In the moments I could catch a glimpse of the Potter, these emotions would settle. And then a few moments in the most intense flames, they would surge once again.

At one point, I began to feel numb. I felt relief, but then it felt so lonely. I couldn't figure out what was happening. I felt lost and confused. After much soul-searching, I began to recognize what had happened.

I had removed my own heart from the fire. It was too intense. I did not trust or want it to be there any longer. I was attempting to shelter it, to protect it.

I was done. I was good enough for me. I was content to walk around being a selfish, unfinished, ugly piece of pottery. It was much more comfortable… but it was not what was best.

I am aware that with pottery, the refiner's fire is required for any piece to be complete. The fire is what brings out the brilliance of the colors that have been applied. The fire is what makes the piece firm, strong, and secure. The fire is a necessity.

I have learned something about a refiner. He does not take his eyes off the piece he is working on. Regardless if the piece is being molded or in the very depths of the fire… his eyes remain focused, intent on the work he is fashioning. Although the piece may be completely immersed in the flames, he knows just where it is and how long is required to create the finished effect.

I have also heard it said that when a piece is being refined in fire, it is only complete when the potter can see his own reflection in that piece. That takes time. That takes work. That takes patience, craftsmanship, and attentiveness.

That is truly what I want… for God to see His reflection in me. I want others to see His reflection in me. I do not want to be a broken, unfinished piece. I want to be complete... so complete that all that is seen is the beautiful, brilliant reflection of My Master Potter.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (Living Bible) states, "We can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him."

As 2011 unfolds, my heart has once again been placed in the Potter's Hand. Yes, I myself have returned and placed it there.

My number one desire is to be used of Him... to glorify Him... to reflect Him. "Refiner, my Master Potter, help me to have eternal heart eyes that don't see the things of this moment… but the eternal glory being achieved in my troubles." (II Cor. 4:17-18)

It is not about me. It can not be about me. It must be about Him! Even in the fire, I can be assured that if that is where He wants me, He will not leave me there alone. I can know that His eyes are forever on me, most intently during the times of the fire.

February 1, 2011

Donnetta Cole is a wife, mother to two teens and a toddler, and works part time as a registered nurse. She also serves in various ministries of her church from working with the youth to ministering to young moms and leading the music. Sharing Christ through friendship and relationship is a highlight for her. You can visit Donnetta's blog, "My Quiet Corner," at www.mqcorner.blogspot.com or contact her at mqcorner@hotmail.com.