Artist’s dream entombed in marble wonder

Unveil, O sculpt the form of hidden splendor

Refiner’s rasp release the hope within

That only with the blows of pitching pain

Reveal the hidden smooth cool work of art

Discard the dross; Riffler, redeem my heart

O polish me, perfecting work again.

I know I’ve been writing about some hard concepts this week. I know that some of it goes against the grain, and might be like the refiner’s rasp against the block of stone.

You might be frustrated with your marriage. You might be broken. You might feel defeated. You might feel that you don’t measure up. You might think, “It’s not worth it. I‘ll never be able to do that.” You might feel like a block of granite — formless, shapeless, cold and hard.

May I encourage you today? Sometimes when you are in the middle of a trial, it seems you are a hidden form frozen in stone. It is hard to believe that there is anything of beauty locked inside that block of granite. Just past that outer layer is a beautiful figure waiting to be released for all to admire.

When there is conflict, discord, distance, and hurt in a marriage, it seems like it could never be intimate or wonderful again. But faith, looks beyond what is today, and in confidence waits in expectation for something better — for the Refiner’s rasp to release the hidden splendor, to tell the story inside the stone.

I want to share a section from my book, Won Without Words, that describes how I felt one day in the midst of my personal prison of stubbornness and pride. Perhaps you will be able to relate! It was a day when I wouldn’t give in because I was right, and he wouldn’t give in because he was wrong — thus we were at an impasse — until one of us moved toward God’s redeeming love.

It’s not fair,” I petulantly pronounced to myself. “Why do I always have to be the one to give in? I didn’t do anything wrong. Why should I apologize?”

I thought I was standing on the principles of fairness, righteousness, and justice for all, but it was really pride that was speaking. It doesn’t physically hurt to apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong, but it does take its toll on your pride to unfairly admit defeat.

Just once, I wanted to hear my husband admit he was wrong, but I didn’t realize that at the time his own selfish pride and fragile ego couldn’t handle an admission of guilt. The very thing I longed for was impossible for him to offer in his current, spiritually-hardened state. It takes a repentant heart to seek forgiveness, and only the goodness of God draws a stubborn and prideful man to a state of repentance (Romans 2:4).

I wanted to harden my heart, too. I wanted to be a pillar. I looked into the mirror at my rock hard reflection, the stubborn set of my granite jaw, lines etched on my furrowed brow, the marble-cold eyes, and the pursed lips, set in stony silence. The coldness of my reflection made me a shiver.

Then the Spirit of the Lord began to soften the cold granite of my stony heart. He began to compassionately chip away the rough edges and the course lines to reveal a hidden and more beautiful nature. He tenderly removed the hardened exterior to unveil a sculpture of beautiful possibilities.

I began to see myself as a child fearfully clutching a tattered security blanket of pride, when God had a beautiful robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10), waiting to clothe me in splendor, once I released the filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). I had to lay aside the old before I could grasp the new.

(excerpt taken from Won Without Words, pages 45-46).

Here’s the prayer I prayed that day, perhaps you would like to pray it with me today:

God, in my childish weakness, help me to release with gladness the old things, in order to grasp the riches of your gift to me. Why do I hang on so tightly to the old things, ‘oh wretched man that I am? The things I want to do, I don’t. The things I don’t want to do, I do’. (Romans 7:15) What value is there in it? Why does it seem so hard to let go? Why does the flesh resist and groan with dread over this victory, this blessing? Form me, perfect me; reveal yourself in me. Polish me.

God, bless the women who read this blog. Teach them your ways. Show them the blessing of following your ways, of learning your wisdom, of living in the presence of your love. Bless their marriages and their families with a love that is divine and supernatural.

My marriage tip for today? Spend some time in prayer right now. God has the answer for your marriage, and He loves you enough to help you get through this day, this trial — to form you in perfect completion — a sculpture of great possibility.

He is still chipping away my rough edges! Some days it is very painful! Some days, He gently polishes, and lets me see that there is beauty within! And my husband? Well, what an awesome, magnificent, sculpture he is becoming under the Master’s hands!

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