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by Dr. Andrea MacVicar
"Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come. 'Tis grace hath bro't me safe thus far. And grace will lead me home." Amazing Grace; John Newton, 1779.

I'm busy working. I'm busy with what I love to do: worship-sing, enjoy being with Mack, write, speak to groups, sell my books for charity, spend time with friends, and "work" at staying healthy. These activities brought to mind a visual from decades ago when I was counseling families and individuals. At that time I had read in one of the many counseling magazines (don't remember which one) an article to help individuals recognize their future potential with purpose. This article suggested having the client imagine an object that could be used as a metaphor for their personality traits—a picture of who you are. I remember one client describing himself as a baseball. "Without a baseball, the game can't be played. I'm important to the game. Without me, the game of life would be over." I remember replying, "Yes, and the one who created the game wants you to participate to the fullest even though it might mean you will be hit regularly. But, without you there would be no cheers and no scoring for your team." We talked about the positives and negatives of the metaphor he had used to describe himself.

In each of the the last three weeks I had felt deeply stung. I was surprised; because all three instances had come from someone I had trusted to be kind and gentle. The nursing of those stings took some soothing (forgiving) and consideration in how best to react (prayer). This process brought me back to remember the answer from the question I too had asked Holy Spirit to reveal a visual metaphor of me.

Forty years ago I gave up drinking coffee after a terrible bout of flu with all its accompanying effects. After recovering, I couldn't stomach coffee anymore. I drink tea—all kinds. I bought tea cups, mugs, and teapots. In reflecting on the surprising stings, I saw myself again as the blue flowered teapot from so long ago. However, this time I saw the crackle under the glaze, the chips on the point of the spout – on the edges of the bottom and on the top of the lid – and on the inside, stain from the many kinds of teas over the years. What I had learned about teapots came back to me:

*never scrub the inside with harsh soap; it will spoil the taste of the tea and eventually wear down the inside glaze;

*the pot was created to take intense heat; it was made by hands that put it in a kiln for firing and hardening;

*the maker had used fine porcelain and, after turning the teapot upside-down, had put his stamp of identification on the bottom;

*the flowers in Chinese blue will never fade, even though the white of the background will gray with age;

*in order for the tea to be poured, the pot must allow hands to tip it over the empty cup or mug;

*in order to make a "good-cup-of-tea," the tea must be chosen for the occasion and steeped just the right amount of time;

*the amount of time depends upon the kind of tea used;

*the pot does not make the choice of tea, but must withstand the heat and steeping;

*there are other teapots in the kitchen, which means it can be put into the cupboard at the discretion of the owner;

*at some point in time, the owner will determine that the teapot can no longer be used—its purpose finished, completed for that particular household;

*as a valuable antique, it will be restored and the owner will place it elsewhere in another house  for a different kind of use;

*everything about the teapot is about the owner.

An interesting side note. My mother-in-law, Helen, gave me a beautiful, blue flowered teapot for my birthday three months after Holy Spirit gave me this self-picture in 1979. (Of course, I still have the teapot.)

I have shared my "teapot" story with others. And after praying, one sister-in-the-Lord shared how she saw herself as a chair that others always sat on. I then asked her to describe what kind of chair she is. By answering that question, positive and negative, past and present experiences brought thoughtful insights to her about herself. (Chairs are very important!)

(If you would like to give your imagination a try, please ask the one who knows you best, "Holy Spirit, help me to picture an object as you see me." Make sure it is inanimate – not a living creature.)

If you have been inspired by anything you have read, please consider giving an-any-amount-donation to Andrea MacVicar Ministries, 671 Lakeside Circle Dr., #818; Pompano Beach, Fl 33060; (Web sites cost money.) This is a 501-C-3 tax exempt ministry. www.andreamacvicarministries.org