Or warm sandy beaches, or ski hills? I clasp my hands together and pray with conviction, “I promise I’d listen if You did! When I’m happy, I’m really flexible and agreeable to change!” However, I know it’s a lost cause. Warm sandy beaches, ski hills and ice cream are blessings and gifts from our loving God, however at times, our master’s tools need to be sharper and more abrasive to bring about any lasting change.

 Failure, brokenness, and pain are just a few of God’s tools.

Failure can be a catalyst that shoves us in the new direction that perhaps we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. For example; my 25-year-old son realized if he hadn’t had such a tough time with sciences, he wouldn’t have gone into accounting where he now thrives. Or if I hadn’t been laid off from a job, I wouldn’t have found another that used my talents more effectively.

When I trained my horse I referred to it as ‘breaking’ him. My ‘broken’ horse did not enjoy the whole process to be sure (he would far rather have stayed in his pasture, thank you very much). However, his will had to be broken so his potential could be brought out and used by me, his owner (thank you very much). He was healthier with the exercise and he became much more than what he would have, just eating and sleeping.

Pain, both emotional and physical can bring us to our knees where we realize we can’t do it on our own. Without a constant thorn in Paul’s side, he wouldn’t have realized that God could sustain him. 2 Corinthians 12:9 My Grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. An example of emotional pain is my friend who struggled through a very tough divorce. Before that, she was efficient, confident and apparently happy. However, she never knew God until her sorrow brought her to her lowest low. Only then was she open to God’s help.

As much as I do love cinnamon buns, trips to Europe and golfing, I’m constantly reminded through pain of some kind that these are things to be enjoyed, not worshipped. We are not of this world, and the quicker we remember that the better. Pierre Teihard de Chardin, a French Jesuit priest said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

I am also reminded of a saying in The Beatitude of Sorrow (1896 by J.R. Millar). Blessed is the night, for it reveals the stars!

Happily, God hasn’t just used pain and suffering to shape me. The miracles of gazing into both my newborn sons’ eyes were about as humbling as they come. And the ‘coincidences’ that regularly happen in my life are reminders that I’m not alone.

So, what kind of tools have been used to shape you?








  1. I have so many examples in my life about God using trouble to shape me, but I’ll use one of the first when I was twelve. He taught me to face fear instead of flee by giving me the courage to walk into a rough ocean and get knocked down over and over by the waves. That prepared me to face very difficult times later on, trusting he would not let me drown in fear or sorrow.


    • Hi Linda, I love your example because it showed that you weren’t protected from getting knocked around first, but you came through nonetheless! That’s such an important lesson to be learned. God puts us in many situations, and promises to accompany us through them, not save us from the hurt. He knows just how much we can take. Thanks for your example!


  2. I like Pierre Tiehard de Chardin’s words. They make sense, as does your blog entry! Great thoughts, girl!


    • Thanks Eileen! Yes, I’ve actually quoted Pierre Tiehard de Chardin’s words a few times. I love how it gives you a different outlook on life. (And a good reason for having to take meds to feel normal at times – we’re aliens here! (( spooky music chiming in )) )


  3. “Blessed is the night, for it reveals the stars!” Thought-provoking quote. There is beauty in unlikely places. Even in places we don’t want to be.


    • Yup, you are so right Vanessa! The trick is to find the stars sometimes! I guess you always have to look up to find them! (more figuratively than physically!)


  4. I can’t believe you put ski slopes in the same category as warm beaches and ice cream! God taught me a lot in my one experience on a ski slope – that He is watching out for me, for one thing. And that I can survive sheer terror, for another… 😉

    I’m highly introspective so I think I’ve done a majority of my shaping by mulling things over mentally. But faith and God’s provision is always a good reminder. Like a few years ago when Hubby got a new job and we lived apart for 2 months while I tried to find one near the new town. We eventually decided to move, even without a new job lined up for me, as we felt God telling us to keep our family together and trust Him. It took 3 months but He provided and I ended up with a job that is perfect for me, for our family, and a blessing of a boss who also loves the Lord.


  5. Ha ha, ski hills can be humbling and fearsome to be sure! But my mom taught skiing and I’ve known how to ski almost as long as I’ve known how to walk. (perhaps not as well I admit)
    I love your story about trusting and moving even when there was no job! It’s so hard to take a step of faith, because sometimes you don’t know if you ‘heard’ right, and if your step is going in the right direction! But you obviously put much thought and prayer into the move and it payed off with huge blessings!


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