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I Don’t Want This to Be Part of My Story

April 9, 2019

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” Isaiah 40:29 (NIV)

Have you ever caught yourself thinking, “God, please don’t let this be part of my story”?

That was me when I first got my cancer diagnosis. Honestly, it just felt like too much on top of an already devastating season in my life.

When life is unfolding in hard ways, it can feel impossible to understand why God would allow hurt upon hurt. How could His mercy not fix all of this? How could He possibly use any of this for good?

We see more and more unnecessary heartbreak. But God sees the exact pieces and parts that must be added right now to protect us, provide for us and prepare us with more and more of His strength working through us.

I learned about these very necessary “pieces and parts” one day with a friend whose mother is a professional potter.

I was sharing with her about how, when we place the dust of our shattered places into God’s hands and He mixes it with His living water, the clay that’s formed can then be made into anything. She smiled so big. She’d seen clay being formed into many beautiful things when placed into her mother’s hands. And she shared something with me that made my jaw drop.

She told me that wise potters not only know how to form beautiful things from clay, but they also know how important it is to add some of the dust from previously broken pieces of pottery to the new clay. This type of dust is called “grog.”

When shattered just right, the grog dust added to the new clay will enable the potter to form the clay into a larger and stronger vessel than ever before. And it can go through fires much hotter as well. Plus, when glazed, these pieces end up having a much more beautiful, artistic look to them than they would have otherwise.

Isn’t that incredible?

And then I read Isaiah 45:9: “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?”

I kept reading that verse from Isaiah and decided to do a little investigation into the term potsherd.

A potsherd is a broken piece of pottery. Interestingly enough, a potsherd was also mentioned in the story of Job when he was inflicted with an awful disease:

“So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.” (Job 2:7–10)

A broken potsherd can lie on the ground and be nothing more than a constant reminder of brokenness. It can also be used to continue to scrape us and hurt us even more when kept in our hands. Or, when placed in our Master’s hands, the Master Potter can be entrusted to take that potsherd, shatter it just right, and then use it in the re-molding of us to make us stronger and even more beautiful.

When I understood this, I saw that in all my circumstances God was keeping me moldable while adding even more strength and beauty in the process. Much like He promises in our key verse, “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak” (Isaiah 40:29)

I didn’t want to have cancer.

There’s no part of my human brain that thinks cancer is fair for any precious person who receives this diagnosis. God didn’t cause this potsherd reality in my life. It’s the result of living in this sin-soaked world.

But I had to decide that I didn’t want that broken reality to just be a potsherd wasted on the ground or something I kept in my hand that hurt me more. I had to take it and entrust it to the Lord.

What do you need to entrust to Him today?

God is making something beautiful out of our lives, sweet friends. I truly believe it. We can keep questioning what He sees as the necessary ingredients to strengthen us or we can choose to believe that He can do amazing things with the dust and the potsherds of our lives. I know it’s not easy. But let’s surrender every broken piece into the Father’s hands.

Lord, I’m choosing to trust You. Take all of these broken places in my life and shatter them just right, so I can be made stronger, more beautiful, and able to withstand fires as never before. I believe that You see things I cannot see. And You have eventual good in mind. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

If these words resonated with you and your life looks so very different than you hoped or expected, I’d love to tell you about my newest book, It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way. It will help you find unexpected strength as you learn to wrestle well between your faith and feelings. Click HERE to get your copy.

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    This was unbelievably, earth-shattering right on time! Ms. Lysa you are truly something special. Thank you

  2. Betsy Maddox

    I really enjoyed reading this post! It was so interesting to hear about how the dust from old pottery is blended in to the new pottery. Lately, some things in my life feel like they are going the wrong way and I don’t see how they can be remedied, but God can. His perspective is completely different than mine. When Jesus was crucified and hung on the cross to die, the disciples did not see how anything good could possibly come of that, but it was the greatest miracle and the the most profound act of love the world has ever seen. Thanks for your post it’s very encouraging.

  3. marsha christensen

    Thank you, Lysa. I’ve been receiving your emails, but haven’t been reading them. I’ve been disconnected from God for a while now. I just gave up on Him. For some reason, I read this email & it was right on for me. While I am not suffering in the same way’s that you are, I am dealing with my aged mothers slow decline & a recent accident & life on life’s terms becomes overwhelming to me. I had forgotten that God uses our pain & circumstances to refine us in the fire. Thank you for sharing your pain so that I can understand & find my way back to God.

    • Lysa TerKeurst

      Wow, Marsha – thank you for sharing your heart with us here. God is crazy about you, and has your very best in His heart of hearts toward you. We pray your heart and mind would open toward all He is doing in the unseen in your life, and in the circumstances all around you that don’t seem to make sense. Pausing to pray for you today. – Amanda, LT Ministry Team

  4. Lori

    Good morning. I really hope this will get to you. Your podcast, books have so helped me and I am so thankful for you and your ministry. It is making a difference. I feel you are the ONLY one besides God who understands what I’m going through. I am in Charlotte, from Charlotte too. My husband of 21 years left 18 months ago, having an affair. We have been together for 25 years and I am beyond devastated. I don’t know how to move past this. I feel God is telling me to stand for my marriage, that this is not Corey(my husband) it’s not him and I know this. I don’t know how to get beyond this pain. I would think I’d be a little better by now or at least not wake up everyday and feel like I’m living in the worst nightmare ever. Any suggestions or steps to not feel this way…. I need to move forward, I have two boys, 19 and 24 and I’m about to be a grandma. I’m only 46 and I feel like most days, how would anyone ever want to be with me?? This is the hardest thing I have ever been through in my entire life and I really don’t understand why I’m still feeling this hurt. I want to feel better, feel better about myself, to remain confident in God and know that He can do ALL things!! He is a covenant keeping God and He is for me!!

    • Judi

      Jesus wants to be w u ! Regardless how this works out He will keep the covenant HE made . He knows exactly the pain of your tortured heart . And He can and will heal it . Get lost in the wonder of His word . I promise .. joy will come in the morning . I speak from the same experience . About 30 yrs on . I quit counting ! Jesus is the Love that never fails . I’m praying for u today .

  5. Virginia Maker

    Lysa, you are such an inspiration. I am doing your Bible Study “It Wasn’t Supposed To Be This Way”. It inspired me to begin ready your daily devotional “Embraced” and then I found and I am now reading “What Happens When Women Say Yes to God”. Already I am beginning to hear God and have been able to give encouragement to other women and my husband who are going through battles with cancer. Thank you for listening to God and helping other women to learn how to listen for God’s leading. I pray for you daily.

  6. Cindy

    Thank you for this. It is the first time I’ve visited your site.
    Please pray for my daughter who has cancer and has been fighting for a little over a year now. The last CT scan showed that it had spread and are now on to a new treatment. I am trying to be strong for her but as her mother and the love I have for her it is hard. She has so much faith and I am trying hard to keep that faith alive in myself. She is so beautiful and it’s breaking my heart. She has 2 teenage boys and a husband that is her rock. I thank God everyday for him.
    Thank you Lisa for listening. God bless!

  7. Jenna

    Hi Lysa,

    I wanted to share my story with you in hopes to be your co-sufferer and sister in survivorship and Christ. My name is Jenna, and I am 27 years old. I was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer, stage IV at the age of 13. Since then, I’ve had 4 relapses. I’m currently undergoing treatment like yourself. I hope you find some comfort and hope within my story at I’ve been blogging about faith, grace and gratitude in the midst of cancer relapses for the past 4 years. So there’s a lot to take in! Praying for you and your friends and family. A cancer diagnosis affects not just the person but their entire support network.

    In Him,

  8. juliana

    Hi my name is Juliana from Kenya am blessed by your article, it has really given me peace about a situation am experiencing, its so easy to give in to ugliness of this world and believe just like the world believes. may God continue using you to reach out to many through your articles.

  9. Gracie Wilson

    Wow, I just have to tell you I love your writing. Everything you write is so easily relatable, and moving. You tell your story but you make it about everyone. I appreiciate your words so much. I really loved the imagery of the broken pottery. It is something I hold close to my own heart. Thank you for always sharing:)

  10. Renee Pearl

    Somewhere in this shattered life of mine, this shattered life my husband handed me, the one I know God is designing, I don’t feel hope, I don’t feel His mercy, I don’t see the good He will use my life for. I don’t want to be a living sacrifice. I believe His promises but I want to feel His promises in my life again? I want joy and hope in my heart like I had before. I want, I want, I want, I even want His will not my will! It’s not supposed to be this way!
    Spoiled Child of God

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