How Do You Carve a Statue of an Elephant?


“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction." Isaiah 48:10

Q:  How do you carve a statue of an elephant?

A:  It's simple. You start with a block of marble and chip away everything that doesn't look like an elephant.

I have always liked that joke.  

I think that what I like about it is that it is true.  

One of the things I have come to understand is that  the challenges I have faced have helped carve out "me."

It has taken a very long time for me to feel comfortable in my own skin.  For a long, long time,  I wasn't even sure who the real me was.  I can say for sure that I didn't really like myself very much. As a matter of fact, there were a fair number of days when I hated being me.  I spent a lot of time trying to be what other folks wanted me to be or expected that me to be.  I had no clue who God wanted me to be.

I am learning that my challenges have, bit-by-bit, chipped away at what is not me.

I know that the last few years have been difficult - devastating in many ways.  I know I've been scared, angry, and sometimes at a loss to understand things.

The good thing?

I can look around inside of myself and pretty much like what I see.

And that has to come through the grace of God.

In the past, I made a lot of my own decisions without ever consulting God.  Who I chose to marry, what I wanted to be when I grew up, what avenue I was going to take to get there.  All strictly my own choices.

That person I chose to marry?  

He left me with four young children to care for.  God knew that would happen. I know that he was not the one God would have had me marry.  He was further away from God than I was.

That person I wanted to be when I grew up?

Fourteen years of grad school and the authority to put the word "Doctor" in front of my name.  It's a meaningless title at this point.  My body is not capable of handling that profession.

The avenue I was going to take to get there?

A car accident changed all of that. In many ways I am fortunate that happened.  It slowed me down.  Well, brought me to a complete halt.  It was then that I rediscovered God.  And me.

I wanted to be famous.

Even though I write this blog, I am pretty obscure in the real world.

That's ok.  God is leading.

I wanted to be an author, giving workshops, going on tours.

This is the only writing I do now.  And I know now that that is just what I am "supposed to be doing."

I had plans for having art therapy weekend retreats in a lovely woodland home.

Now, I retreat into my artwork.

While there are many things about me - behavior wise - that still need a lot of work,  I am finally content being me.  (And I wonder how long it will be before God challenges me on that statement!) 

Life is crazed, hurtful, sad.  Yet is is joyous because of my Lord.

And as God <chip> <chip> <chips><chips> away (which often hurts), I am feeling more and more like I am becoming the person He created me to be.

The neat thing?  He is at work in your life, chipping away at the not-you as well.  And those things that hurt?  The things that you have to let go of?  The things you might be mourning right now?  

They might be shaping you into exactly who you were created to be.  Remember, that block of marble had to let go of a LOT of extraneous material to be conformed to the image of an elephant.

How can it take less to be conformed to the very image of Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Father God, It seems odd to thank you for the craziness in my life, for the things that I have needed to let go of.  I guess what I need to thank You for is using those things in my life to create the me you always knew I could be.  And for those days ahead?  The ones where I won't feel like thanking you?  Help me to hold on to the knowledge that you will be using those days as well to bring me closer and closer to You.  Amen and amen.


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