Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Brushing Out the Tangles

Her soft snores punctuated the stillness. At first, I couldn't make sense of the sound. But a quick glance in the direction of the living room confirmed my suspicions. My cat, Courtney, lay curled up on one of the chairs, fast asleep, gray fur sticking up in all directions.

Most cats enjoy being groomed. Not Courtney. She's quick to jump up on the couch to share some family time, and just as quick to jump down if I try to get in a few strokes with her brush. Oddly enough, when I attempt to hold her still and do a more thorough job, she actually purrs. Done regularly, the frequent brushings keep the mats in her fur to a minimum, and I can groom Courtney quickly. It seems that although she's not crazy about the process, she feels better once she's brushed.

Reminds me of the often painful, refining process the Lord applies in my life. I long to be the type of vessel the Lord can use, yet I'm not quite as eager to sign up for the furnace experiences that help me become that useful, highly polished tool. Much like Courtney, I'm not keen on things that cause discomfort or pain - although I recognize the value of the experiences once I'm on the other side.

Case in point. The flight where I was given the opportunity to share Christ with a fellow passenger. I had a list of things to keep me busy for quite some time. In fact, I was actually looking forward to the down time to get some things done. But then the gentleman across from me started a conversation. It would have been easy to give a brief answer and turn back to my work.

The truth was, I had prayed that very morning to be used as a witness. Did I really mean what I said? Or had it just been a routine prayer? It wasn't comfortable to give up my free time, but I knew the Lord had orchestrated the opportunity. As I spoke with the man, I could almost feel the Lord scouring the selfishness from me.

God's Word is full of truths that, when applied, act as cleansing agents. Powerful purifiers that remove the things from my life that make me rough around the edges. The Apostle Paul describes it accurately, "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart," (Hebrews 4:12; KJV).

But one trip to the Master Refiner is not enough. Just like Courtney needs a daily brushing, I need daily refining. I know that the process is difficult, but the end result will be a clear reflection of my Master.

Is the Lord refining you? How will you cooperate with Him in this process today?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for loving me enough to scour the rough edges from me. Help me to 'hold still' and let You accomplish Your work in my life. In Jesus' name, Amen.


  1. I have had those opportunities and quite often I take them,sometimes I haven't and I feel so guilty later. He is still refining me with so much! Things I thought I'd learned but I guess not! Have a good day Maria:)

  2. Oh my... I thought your daughter's name was Courtney, LOL. Anyway, when I figured you were writing about the cat... Good post Maria, as always, thanks a million for sharing.

  3. Terri - I know what you mean! The refining process happens over a life time - so it's best for us to get comfortable in the Master's hands and let Him polish away! Have a wonderful day full of His blessings!

    Marja - Too funny! Although I'm not sure my daughter would let me brush her hair either! At least her hair doesn't have any mats in it! So excited to see that you're working on another book release. Looking forward to it! God bless you, my friend!

  4. Yeah...this is an area I need to get better at. Partly because of my shyness, though God keeps trying to pull me out of that shell. I'm going, just kicking and screaming:)

  5. Susan - Funny, I wouldn't have imagined that you were shy! Love how Peter and John prayed for boldness to witness after they had done some time in jail for teaching in the name of Jesus: "And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word," (Acts 4:29). Wow! Amazing prayer!

    Keep making Him known, my friend! :)

  6. I love cats too, Maria. I had a black and white Persian cat back when I was twelve, and he was the nicest cat I've ever owned.

    Today, I cooperated with the Lord by -- and this is going to sound totally silly, lol -- baking cookies for my family. I can get so caught up in my writing and reading projects, networking, etc., that I forget to take time to do little acts of love for them. With God's help, I am learning to prefer them over myself. :-)

  7. I think if we aren't being refined regularly, we probably aren't seeking after Him like we should. As an imperfect human, there will ALWAYS be things that displease Him that need taken out. We just have to be willing and pliable in His hands!

    Good word!

  8. Gwen - Welcome! Thanks so much for following and leaving a comment! Your example didn't strike me as silly at all - in fact it sounds like we struggle with a similar issue. Yesterday I was just thinking about the verse in Philippians: "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves," (2:3) This is a tall order, and only possible through the power of the Holy Spirit! I think it's wonderful that you served your family by baking cookies! And I'm sure the delicious treat was much appreciated! Have a wonderful weekend. God bless!

  9. Melissa - Great to see you! You're absolutely right. Sometimes I get into the proverbial rut of doing my Bible study simply because it's what I do. It's similar to exercise - when I don't challenge myself to reach a new level of fitness, I stop progressing. Same is true with the spiritual refining process. When I'm not in tune with the Holy Spirit, and willing to search out those things that need to be changed, I'm not in a position to grow. Thanks for your insight and words of wisdom! Have a blessed weekend. God bless!

  10. I like the way you put that - cooperating in the process. I don't always. Good reminder!
    Thanks and blessings,