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A little over a year ago I ordered the nicest whittling beginner's kit for one of my sons for their birthday. He thought he'd like to give it a try, I thought it could develop into a neat hobby for him. He tried it, He didn't like it. It was too painstakingly detailed for his happy-hyper self and so, I gave him the money I had spent to go on something he liked and inherited the tools, books, blanks and etc... for myself.


From the beginning, I was captivated. Taking a piece of wood and making something out of it? I spent hours and hours on my first project, a detailed cowboy boot. I took it to Georgia to show everyone when we had the get together at Darlene's. I took it to Arkansas when we visited my family. Westie said, Stephanie, I think you've found your niche'. My mom said, I'm not one bit surprised (naturally my mom would say that). But, I was surprised and secretly delighted that it seemed I might have discovered a hidden and unexplored talent.


Alas, as with so many of my projects, I found myself distracted and doing other things. As we have seen a few warm days here and there in the deep south, I pulled out my whittling bag over the weekend and sat myself on the swing by the catfish pond. I decided to start a new project with one of the whittling blanks, a dog. At some point the younger children meandered over to observe me and ask about what I was doing. I proudly pulled out my ONE finished project, that little 4 inch Cowboy Boot. They admired it and went about their play.


A good hour had passed and I had made a little progress on the dog, just a little as whittling is a series of tiny cuts and grooves and slivers of wood. I decided to put my things away, feeling refreshed and focused. I thought I'd try to walk around the pond until my legs ached with exertion. As I carefully gathered my glove and thumb protector and gingerly closed the extremely sharp knife... I saw it, at my feet. There laid my Cowboy Boot that I had so proudly shared. Evidently my pet Border Collie had discovered it and decided the nice soft wood would make for a good chew. It was ruined. I couldn't help myself, I just cried.


Silly girl, I tried to tell myself, it's nothing to cry about. But, still I did. I looked at the disfigured creation and announced, "It is ruined." I stuffed it in the bag and took off for my walk at a brisk pace, wiping my tears as I did. I couldn't even bring myself to tell my husband or children. I felt so angry, so frustrated, so much more than I thought I should feel over such a little thing.


As I walked I remembered the passage of Scripture that talks about the Potter and the clay. Do you remember? It says that the vessel (that the Potter was forming on the wheel) was marred in his hand as he made it. Unlike me, the potter did not cast it aside as ruined. Instead he did an amazing thing...he made it again, another...that's how the KJV reads. He made it again, another.


With legs that were aching but a heart that wasn't, I retrieved that little boot from my bag and looked at it closely. Could it be made into something again, another? I felt a bit deflated as I realized I didn't posess the skills to figure it out. God, on the other hand can figure out what is required to remake our broken and damaged lives. He will use our imperfections to bless others. He will take us in His hands and make us again, another.


I'm saving that boot, and Iam practicing on my whittling. One day, I'm going to take that piece of damaged wood and make something out of it. It won't be today, but one day I will do it. In the mean time as I work on the newest piece and learn to follow the wood grains and to take little tiny chips, slivers and grooves, I am growing more skilled.


Perhaps there is a relationship, a situation in your life that has been chewed up until it is barely recognizable and doesn't even resemble what it started out to be. Could it be you even that you don't recognize in the mirror anymore? Allow the Lord to begin His creative work, He is a Master Craftsman. Some of the chiseling may hurt a bit, some of the grooves may be down right painful. But in the end, in the hands of the Master, you can become a thing of beauty that is cherished by your Creator.

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