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A Vessel in the Potter’s Hands
 
It all began when I was a child of 3 to 5 and was sexually abused.  I tried to tell my mom and other family members but no one would believe me so I hid all those feelings deep inside.
 
 At 24 years old I married a man that knew the ways of our culture and therefore, got my parents’ approval.  However, this man turned out to be very abusive. It began on the first night of our honeymoon when he tried to suffocate me.  Another night he beat me badly and told me that a recruiter was coming over and I was to sign the paper to go with him into the military.  Since it was always a dream of mine to join the Army, I was actually excited. However, the beatings got worse and an Army officer saw the signs and asked if I needed help.  I practically screamed, “YES!”
 
For three years after our divorce I kept trying to find myself but I began to make all the wrong choices and decisions.  I began to drink and party and landed into another unstable marriage.
 
Then December, 1986, came and this was the beginning of a new life for me. That’s when I became a new creation.  2 Corinthian 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation and the old has gone and the new has come!”  God met me where I was then, saved me, and baptized me in the Holy Spirit.
 
As a new Christian, I read Proverbs 31, which is about the wife with a noble character. Since I desperately wanted to make my marriage work I tried to make myself like this noble wife, but soon discovered that I couldn’t make myself like her. 
 
In 1995-1996 I took a giant step of faith and walked away from my second marriage of 16 years. My husband was an adulterer over and over again throughout our marriage.  The exact day I left, his new young pregnant girlfriend moved in. 
 
Let me assure you that I do know divorce is not the answer of God.  I spent years praying and I didn’t pursue divorce until I was absolutely sure I was in God’s perfect will.  The word clearly states in Matthew 5:31-32 that divorce is not in God’s plan.  I prayed and did seek God’s direction before I finally took that step to get a divorce.  He faithfully took me through each step and I had a peace that surpassed any peace I had ever felt. That’s when I knew I was doing the right thing.
 
As I walked away with my son, I was scared to be on my own, and to make things worse, I was leaving my stepson whom I raised since he was 15 months old.  I asked him to come with me but he decided he needed to stay with his dad, which put daggers into my heart.  I knew that it was a wrong decision he was making but I could not force him and had to respect his wishes. 
 
Fear gripped me but I knew in my heart I had to trust God. The Lord gave me yet another promise from Isa 40:11 (NIV). It says, “He tends his flock like a shepherd. He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart and He gently leads those that have young.”
 
Every day I wrote in my journal and the Lord would give me verses of encouragement and speak deep within my heart.  Many times I wanted to give up and I even thought of ending it all, but God always met me where I was.  God knew I couldn’t do this on my own and so He placed people in my life who would love me, help me grow spiritually, and even sometimes help  financially.
 
The Lord promised me that if I remained faithful to Him, He would return back to me everything that was taken.  Slowly the Lord started to replace what I had lost and left behind.  I worked three jobs until the Lord spoke to me once again and reminded me that I was to trust him. I did. 
 
That’s when things began to change. I went from three jobs to two jobs. The Lord blessed me with a promotion at work which enable me to go to just one job.  I was driving a 1985 Chevette with no brakes, windows falling down, and doors about to fall off, but my son and I and our new friends kept praying. With God’s mercy I kept driving the beat up car.
 
Finally, one Saturday after praying all night, the Lord showed me exactly where to go and what to say.  I went to the dealership and the manager told me that all I had to do was to give him my broken down Chevette. I had no money for a down payment and explained to him exactly how much money I was able to pay each month. To my amazement, 4 hours later, I walked out of the dealership with a used 1995 Ford Escort in great shape that looked brand new. In fact, it was the dealer’s show car with very few miles on it.  And the payment was the exact amount the Lord told me.
 
This is when I learned to completely trust God. There were times I didn’t know how the rent or the bills would get paid, but the Lord did and He always provided it. 
 
The Lord blessed us with a home, a miracle of itself.  But nothing is impossible for God.  With the help of my VA (praise the Lord for the Army benefits) I got a home with 0 down payment and I moved in with 0 cost. And to top it all off, my mortgage payment was small enough that I could afford to pay it.
 
I thought life was going good but Satan still wasn’t happy. My son, after graduating from high school, announced that he felt he needed to become a man and move out.  My world shattered.  I was so devastated and I had a hard time letting go of him.  As I was praying, the Lord dropped into my heart the verse so many of us know in Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  I knew then that I had to let him go and trust that the Lord would carry him through each trial he was going to encounter.
 
Seven years after my divorce, and now that my son was gone I began to pray for a husband.  I met a man at church. I was so excited because I just knew that now everything would be ok because I had a Christian man in my life.  I knew of my husband’s past and how he had struggled for many years with drugs but neither one of us thought it would be a problem again. We were wrong. After being married for only one year, that nasty demon showed up and my husband started to use drugs again.  I was shattered.  But God already had a plan, I started looking on the internet to try to understand the effects of the drugs he was using. The Lord showed me a place for him to go get help.  Reluctantly, and with the help of our Pastor, he went and I was left behind broken in a million pieces, afraid to tell anyone.  I got so angry that I even got angry with God.  How could God allow me to marry someone like that?  I couldn’t believe that he would put this man in my life just to have another disaster.  There were days when all I wanted to do was walk away from God and everything.  I kept asking the Lord why after all I had gone through in my life He allowed yet another thing like this to happen.  But our precious Father in heaven, though He knew how angry I was, held me in His arms, gave me a peace, and poured His word to me through the Pastor and my Christian brothers and sisters. 
 
Deep down I knew it wasn’t God’s fault. I let my own emotions get in the way and because I was so lonely and desperate for love, I really thought I heard the Lord say it was ok to marry him.  Fear, emotions and desperation can get you to hear the wrong voice. 
 
I could hear the Lord saying trust in me just as you are a new creation in me, so is he.  You will have a new husband, the old has gone and the new has come!  That night I felt a new love and forgiveness for my husband.  The next day he called me to tell me he felt total deliverance and that he knew he was ready to come home to be the husband he knew he needed to be and that he was ready to do the ministry he felt God calling him to do.  I watched him grow in the Lord and proudly watched him putting into action the ministry the Lord had laid in his heart.  
 
About 5 years into the marriage and watching him do great things with the homeless ministry, Satan stepped in once again.  He didn’t go back to drugs but he found something else to substitute the addiction, alcohol.  It started out with a simple glass of wine after dinner, then, it became a bottle or two.  He began drinking before and after dinner.  As you can image, I was shattered, but my faith in God and my trust in Him just sent me to the throne and I began to pray, fast, and cry out to the Lord.  The more I prayed the further away my husband got from me.  He was a functional drunk. He still worked and was still doing the ministry and was going to church on Sunday mornings but when he was home he spent his time with the bottle.  Then he began to tell me that he loved me but he could never love me as God said in the Bible. He went on to say that he wasn’t in love with me.  We went to counseling, only for him to tell the Christian counselor that he just couldn’t love me and be intimate with me.  Then after 12 years of marriage, this marriage was over too.
 
I began to seek and research the word of God because I felt I was the problem and that I could not keep a marriage together.  No matter what I did, no matter all the forgiveness I gave, I just could not seem to keep a marriage together.  I kept praying and asking God to change me, to help me understand what I was doing wrong.  But instead he brought back to my memory a verse He gave me when I went through a previous divorce. Isa 54:4-6 (NIV) says, “Do not be afraid, you will not suffer shame.  Do not fear disgrace, you will not be humiliated.  You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.  For your Maker is your husband-the Lord Almighty is His name.” I don’t know why I had to go through all of this pain but I did know that I had to trust God.  My faith in Him depended on it. 
 
As time moved forward, a co-worker was doing online dating and she signed me up.  It was awkward to me because I was clueless of how to go out on dates.  I wasn’t planning on getting serious with anyone. After a month of being online and meeting some men who would say they were Christians, I was ready to give up on this online dating thing. I was about to call the website and ask them to remove my name when a gentleman contacted me. I checked his profile and it was like we had copied each other’s profile. So I decided to meet him for coffee. Our time together was perfect.  We talked for 3 hours, mostly about the Bible and our beliefs.  We began talking in June, went on our first date in July, got engaged in September, and married in October.
 
 Both of us had been hurt in the past and had similar stories. We understood each other. 
 
My husband, the man of my dreams, has a great depth of knowledge of the Word of God.  He loves me as God says a man should love his wife.  He is the spiritual leader of our home.  The love I am experiencing with him is different from any love I have ever had from another man.
 
Sometimes I do ask the Lord why I had to go through all of what I did. Someday He may show me why, but for right now I’m going to accept the new journey He is giving me.  This time I’ve given the wheel to God and I’m letting Him do what he needs to do because I’m the broken vessel not my husband.
 
Perhaps you’ve heard this hymn:
 
Have Thine own way, Lord!
Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
while I am waiting, yielded and still.
 
I don’t know where you are today or what you are going through but I do know that if you give your future to God, stay faithful to Him, and totally trust Him with your life, you can know that wherever you are, whatever pain you are feeling, or whatever trials you are going through, you don’t have to do it alone.  Jesus died for you and for me and He is willing to carry your burdens – just turn it over to Him.  God has a gift for you. Accept His gift and let His son, Jesus, come into your heart, then trust Him with your life. 
 
If God can take this broken vessel and transform her into what she is today, He can do it for you.  Broken vessels can be fixed.