I was woken this morning at 4:40am by a sweet seven-year old who had dreamed he was a spy in the backyard who had taken a potty break. Let’s just say it was a very realistic dream. After showers and laundry, fresh sheets and snuggles, he was sound asleep, but the acrobatic feats of the little man in my belly were causing some major heartburn and with eyes watching the brightening horizon, my brain began running.

I prayed for this little person who God is forming in me, this little man without a name, not yet known by me, but a masterpiece in the making. He has been deposited in my belly for safe-keeping, soon to my hands for safe-holding, and my job will be to prepare Him for eternity, for the one to whom he rightfully belongs.

Sort of a crazy thought, that our kids are not our own.

And yet of late, I have become very possessive.

There is something about possessions that cause us to relax a little, at least that is the case for me. When I am charged with something that belongs to someone else, I am much more careful, much more respectful, much more honoring, than with something that is deemed mine.

I find myself, of late, taking for granted the little men in my care. Rebuking too loudly, re-routing too harshly, listening too distractedly, letting them wound too deeply.  I am grieved by my exhausted, hormonal, overheated, pregnant-mommy, sinner-self. And this is not the first time.

The enemy often creeps in to tell me that I will never change. That I have made these vows before: to soften, to claim new vision, to extend fresh grace; but why try when I will just fail again?


In the wee hours this morning, I am still saturated by the words I read late last night in Lisa TerKeurst’s Unglued {the subtitle is “Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions; apt, I’d say for my state} and they are doing a little something deep in my spirit to unearth lies and chisel them away to reveal truth.

In fact, she uses this very imagery to illustrate that we are God’s masterpiece. That much how David emerged from marble at the miraculous hands of Michelangelo, God is chiseling away at the hard parts of us to reveal something beautiful. Michelangelo, when asked how he formed David, responded, “It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”

I stopped in my tracks, first processing how often I see the hard edges, the behavioral ridiculousness, the frustratingly monotonous stage of training demanded by my little boys, and assume those things define them, define who they will be, dictate that I have somehow failed and this season will never let up. How desperately I want to see that those infuriatingly difficult parts of them are pieces to be lovingly knocked off as a chisel in God’s hands, and not become exasperated and believe those hard places define who they are. 

I want to see and speak to the parts of them hidden beneath the jagged edges — the sweet, strong, honorable parts emerging as God’s masterpiece. But I need his eyes, his heart, his vision.

And then my thoughts shifted to me: this mama who is probably altogether too hard on herself. I swing from arrogance in the good moments to despair in the bad. I am an exploder, a passionate speaker with a tongue that can bring life or set fire. I have great intentions but a volatile spirit. But God has something emerging in me too. Those hard parts of me I am identifying, that bring shame and frustration, God also desires to knock off… and in fact he has been chiseling away at them for years. Do I choose to believe Him and his slow and meticulous work? Or the sweeping lies of the enemy who seeks to kill my joy, destroy my hope, and steal my identity?

As I scan my life, I can see this beautiful truth illuminating my marriage, my family relationships, my friendships… will I choose to see people as partially unearthed masterpieces belonging to God, and treat them as such, partnering with him in the process of knocking off the hard places to reveal beautiful curves at the hands of his grace? Or be jaded by those jagged edges visible to the human eye and often damaging to the human heart?

I claim Lysa’s words this morning, “O God, chisel me. I don’t want to be locked in my hard places forever. I want to be free. I want to be all that you have in mind for me to be.”

And I don’t want to lock others in their hard places either. I want to be someone who fights for freedom for me and for my kids and for my husband and anyone else God should entrust to me.

Today, I pray I live these simple truths much better than I did yesterday.

“As you come to him, the living stone – rejected by [humans] but chosen by God and precious to him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ …  you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. {1 Peter 2:4-5, NIV}

One thought on “Chiseled

  1. Em! I ran into Christena today at the farmer’s market (how crazy is that?!) and she said she just visited with you in Seattle. I wish you mercies in your pregnancy and some kind of miraculous rest from all the things. Love you and miss you.


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