Rejection: the Shell Defense

April 15, 2008 - Leave a Response


I think I handle rejection by trying to be in control of it.  (This may get really confusing when I write it.)  If I am rejected and I am not at my best, I have a great excuse (or maybe several!) to fall back on.  “Well, this isn’t the best I can be.  This isn’t the REAL me.  I can be really pretty if I want to be.  I can play the part of caring and gracious and giving pastor’s wife if I felt like it.  They only rejected me b/c they didn’t see the BEST me.”  You see, how much more scarey it is to face rejection when I AM my best self… when my hair and make up are beautiful, my clothes complement my body perfectly, my demeanor is calm, my movements are graceful, and I am delightfully witty, insightful and charming and not putting my foot in my mouth.  If I am rejected then, there is nothing to fall back on.  Nowhere to deflect it.  No thing on the outside of me to blame it on.  It would be because of me… who I really am at the center… my very heart. 

And so I have put away this one God made me to be and don a shell that will stand between the rejection and my raw, hurting heart.  I talk to it daily to make sure it stays tough:  You are ugly.  You should’ve known better.  You could do better.  You are a liar.  You will never be any different.  You aren’t standing straight.  You shouldn’t be sitting down.  You are lazy…  on and on it goes until I have the new layer of protection on.  At the same time, as I have written before, Jennifer is lonely and hurting and wanting to be loved.  And the shell that I built to protect her from the storm keeps her prisoner.


No more.  It is for freedom that Christ sets me free.  The prison door is already open.  I must just be willing to walk through.  Lord, I believe.  Help my unbelief!!!



The Painting and the Artist

April 15, 2008 - Leave a Response

The Painting and the Artist

(Jennifer Hershberger, November 17, 2007)



When you look at a painting,

What is your thought:

Of how this painting

Itself begot?

Of how it drew its own shape and line

And chose the hues

With skill refined?

Of how it blended the colors it made

With such an eye,

And hand so stayed?

How it conceived

Of itself so fair,

That you and I would stop and stare?


But no.

A painting directs observers’ acclaim

To the One who built the wooden frame

And stretched the canvass,

 Firm and taut,

And primed it to receive His thought;

Who took up brush and paint with skill,

And painted from His heart and will

A work that shows His trained perfection,

And bears of the artist

A small reflection.


And so it is with God and man,

For you were formed

By the Master’s hand.

When those around look at you,

They will say, “Who is the Artist? 

Look what He can do!”


Clay Pots

April 15, 2008 - Leave a Response

I wrote this last fall, but it remains in the front of my thoughts. 

Thought I’d open this new venture with it.


September 24, 2007


I was thinking during church yesterday about pressures and stress.  And I was thinking about clay on a potter’s wheel.  The potter uses different pressures to achieve different results.  If the pressure only pushes from the outside, the lump will have a groove or be pushed off the wheel… but it will never be a useful vessel.  It’s form would never rise up with a shape that is beautiful.  When pressure comes at us from outside and we allow God to use it for our good, his hand meeting that pressure from the inside draws us up into a vessel with a specific shape that can be used for a specific purpose.  It can be so painful, but we can now hold the blessings he wants to put into our lives, pour them out on others, and know that this form is no accident.  This part we thought was a mistake might be the spout on a pitcher that he will use to pour out Living Water for another soul. 



September 26, 2007


What is able to withstand fire must be put through fire.  Where is that verse found?  It has been with me for weeks now.  Ug!  Just checked all the places I know and can’t find it!  Oh well!  God is still using that image with me.

I was thinking of a ceramic bowl that i use to make bread pudding or a deep dish homemade mac and cheese.  Once, that was soft clay, or maybe even liquid clay.  Greenware that was utterly useless for holding anything to eat.  Even if it could, it would be dangerous because of certain toxic substances that would leach into the food while baking.  A ceramic bowl must be formed, then dried, and then put in the kiln…. the fire… before it is of any use to the maker.  And it’s beauty is not revealed until after the firing.  The glazes used to paint a pot go on mostly in neutral hues.  The design may be well planned, interesting, or pretty, but there is little color and no brilliance.  Firing turns that “mud” to a permanent form and brings out the colors in the glazes.  When it cools, it is hard stone.  It is useful for holding food, and it’s beauty has come to full fruit.  It can be filled with something to be baked and put back into the fire… the oven… and is able to withstand the heat without melting or burning up.

I do not want to be a brittle greenware pot, full of unrealized potential just sitting on the shelf.  I want to be fired so that I am strong, and beautiful, and useful to my maker. 

“…if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name… So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.”   I Peter 4:16,19

“… we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”  Romans 5:3-5

Resistance builds muscle.

Fire hardens form.

Struggle births blessing.

Pain, if entrusted to the Savior, yeilds joy.

Great sacrifice imparts great worth.

Put through fire to withstand fire.  What will God be using me for?  Because there has been, and continues to be, an awful lot of fire.