I love when Jesus brings friends together! I am happy to introduce to you, Sara Stephenson-Snyder. She & I met after reading a wonderful book about Pastor's wives - "You Can Still Wear Cute Shoes" by Lisa McKay. Sara has become one of those friends that just plain "gets me"! I love her wisdom, her realness, her love for her family, she has an amazing talent with writing - but more than all of that - she ABSOLUTELY loves her God! She can be found daily at her blog, Confessions of the Pastor's Wife.
Welcome Sara... to Living Above!
Becoming a Woman of Refinement
I woke up this morning with the song “Refiner’s Fire” stuck in my head.
“Refiner’s fire, my heart’s one desire is to be holy, set apart for you my God.”
It’s a beautiful love song offered from the heart of the created to the One who creates. I’ve been thinking about refinement a lot lately. It seems to be the season in which I find myself. I don’t think I’m alone in this. When trials arise, we want to know why, and while I don’t believe that God wants us to suffer, I do believe that he can use that suffering for a very holy purpose—spiritual refinement.
Have you ever watched a glass blower?
It’s an amazing and beautiful process. The glass is put into a fire which breaks it down until it loses its inflexibility and becomes pliable enough for the glass maker to bend and shape it into what it is supposed to be—a work of beauty and purpose—a wonderful and unique piece of art. The process of spiritual refinement is similar.
As author Maria Harris states, God wants to “fashion me a people”. And how do we become people of God? Like the Israelites, we wander through the wilderness and persevere through the trials to the point that we become pliable and God our maker can bend and shape us into what we are supposed to be—a work of beauty and purpose bringing glory to our Creator.
I will bring (them) into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The Lord is our God.’
Over the past several months, God has walked me down a road I never thought I would go.
I have been, as my mother would say, running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to solve my own problem because I felt like God was too busy or too removed to do anything about it.
Yet, as I step back and evaluate, I see God working. He is leading me to new place, giving me a new purpose, fashioning a new work within me. One of the most beautiful things to come from our refinement is our powerful witness to the glory of God. As a sheet of glass becomes a magnificent piece of art which testifies to the skill of its maker, so we become a magnificent work testifying to the saving grace of our Maker—the Lord, God Almighty.
These (trials) have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1 Peter 1:7
Therefore, consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you might be mature and complete, not lacking anything…
Yet here is the glorious caveat to all of this. When we walk through our Refiner’s fire, we do not do it alone. God himself will walk through the fire with us and he has promised that it will not consume us.
When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
Did you get that?
We will never be consumed by the fires of our trials. Our Savior is there with us through all of our terrible, horrible, no good, very bad seasons creating a new work in each of us. We are becoming God’s masterpiece.
Praise be to God!
Blessings and Peace,
When Penny asked me to submit a biography my initial thought was that there really isn’t much to say. I’m a United Methodist pastor’s wife, mother to a 2 and a 4 year old boy, an out-of-work high school English teacher, unintentional stay-at-home mom who has a passion for God’s Word and finds joy in writing. Perhaps the best way to introduce myself to you would be to tell you that if I could have five literary heroines over to dinner they would be: Elizabeth Bennett, Marmie (the raiser of “little women”), Luna Lovegood, Bridget Jones, Olivia the Pig, and Miss Marple.