I used to be in martial arts in my younger, healthier years. I loved the discipline it demanded, and the competive atmosphere and flexibility that came easily. But one of my very favorite parts was watching people break boards. It was insane how they could snap those things in half and not break a foot or hand. It was a pass/fail kinda test – either you broke it or you didn’t. There was no in between. And I liked that.
I’ve always been an all or nothing kinda girl. I don’t like grey areas – I don’t really know how to survive in them. Either I got everything done for the day, or in my eyes, I got nothing done. Either I cleaned the whole house top to bottom or we are living in a pit. Either I broke the board or I didn’t.
But the past few years, God has really been working on me. And in His sweet, all knowing way of my heart, He simply showed me that there is a middle that I had overlooked – a middle that could only be formed slowly under heat and pressure. I have discovered the beautiful art of bending, not of my own knowledge, but on God’s firm insisting.
Did you know you can actually make wood bend? Woodworkers do this all the time, yet I hadn’t ever thought about it until God brought the image to my mind. It seems pretty straight-forward, really. All it takes is some boiling water, steam, and an enclosed box. By allowing the hot steam to fill the box, the wood slowly starts to soften. Then you pull the wood out and gently start to bend the now pliable wood into the form you are creating. Clamp the wood in the shape you want it, and once it drys back out, the wood stays bent into the shape you have formed.
Apparently, God can use the the same process to mold our weary hearts, because He is using it on mine.
Life is filled with plenty of boiling water, isn’t it? That sure isn’t hard to find these days. Whether it be tight finances, a broken marriage, rebellious children, or chronic illness, God allows some circumstances of our lives to be at a rapid boil. Yet, He is careful to keep us out of the direct scalding water. I️ believe He does, however, use what rises from those hot, boiling circumstances – the steam. In our lives, that steam can produce strength, acceptance, surrender, obedience, even peace. It rises up from the heat, thus allowing our hearts to become pliable, ready to soften and mold by our Master Craftsman into the beautiful image only He can envision.
But bending can hurt.
Yet, it is needed.
We tend to cling to what we know don’t we? Even if what we know is pain-filled, it still seems easier staying there than allowing God to bend us in another direction, especially when that new direction wasn’t even on our radar to begin with. After all, God’s ways aren’t always as black and white as we may enjoy.
It’s in those times, that we must chose to trust.
Do you chose to completely trust your Father enough to ask for His will over your own?
Do you trust the fact that in the bending, even though painful, He will mold you into a better likeness of Himself?
Do you trust that He loves you too much to leave you were you are today?
If you are having a hard time answering yes, I️ understand. It can be hard to take that step of faith, especially when we know the bending could potentially be painful. But, we can’t stay there, dear one. We need to trust the One who loves us more than His own Son. He sent His one and only Son to die on that cross, not only for me, but for YOU. That kind of love couldn’t be more black and white.
But don’t forget, this isn’t really our choice. God is continually molding us and trying to bend us. Life is filled with boiling water, all used to turn our hearts towards the Father. But it’s up to us to step foot into that box to allow the steam to soften us, amidst the heat of the struggles. Have you ever tried to bend dry wood? It breaks, just like in those martial arts classes from so long ago. It’s the steam filling the box that allows the molding to happen, but it can go wasted if we don’t trust our Father enough to take those necessary steps of allowing it to be used.
By taking the step of trust, we are inviting our Father to mold our hearts and align them with His will, instead of our own.
“Some people refuse to bend when someone corrects them. Eventually they will break, and there will be no one to repair the damage.” Proverbs 29:1
God doesn’t want you broken like some dry brittle wood. He simply yearns for you to be strategically bent and molded to align with His will.
You see, life isn’t always black and white. In the middle, in the heat and distress, we are bent and that is where real change occurs. That was a process that I was overlooking. For in those fog filled heat traps that fill our lives, we may not be able to see through the heavy steam. Yet, those are the moments, caught smack dab in the middle of life’s hurts, when the real heart work is happening – those are the days that truly matter.
The pain-filled day in bed matters. The tears falling so hard you can’t breathe matters, friend. The deep loneliness or overwhelming grief of your broken heart – those hurtful days all matter. They are being used by your Master Craftsman to bend your heart into His beautiful work of art. All you have to do is take that step of trust.
You can do it – I’m right by your side. Allow God to sway you out of that comfortable space you are in and into the middle of something you have always dreamed you would become – all in for your Savior, no matter the flame.