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Faith Imagined: Imperfect Vessel

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

October 10, 2009

Imperfect Vessel

I struggle with a feeling of unworthiness. This feeling is especially crippling when I'm doing things for the Lord. I want to cover up my imperfections, but God won't let me. I wish I could pretend that I were strong, but I can't. How can I -- flawed as I am -- do anything right for the kingdom of God? My mistakes are guaranteed. My stumbling is certain. How can I move forward knowing I am not good enough?

I called my spiritual mentor and asked her if I could come by for a visit. We are both busy, but, somehow, God arranged two precious hours for us to sit together at the foot of Jesus' throne. No time existed during those two hours. We were just two souls in the presence of the Spirit of the Holy One. We drew our open hands up to God, grasped pieces of His goodness and exchanged them with each other.

My friend handed me a mug of coffee, and I didn't notice the mug's appearance. I only noticed its feel, and it felt comfortable and perfect. As we chatted, I sipped from the mug, never once looking down at it. She began telling me where she found the mug. She was at a store looking at all the beautiful handmade mugs. While she looked at the perfectly shaped vessels, she saw one that should have been thrown away.

This mug was made too thin and the body of it had collapsed. The maker stretched the body back up, but the damage was already done. The mug was warped with wrinkles and folds, yet the maker still put the mug into the kiln. He added a handle and glazed it and presented it in his store. How could the maker offer an imperfect mug in his store? Why did he place value on something so flawed?

My friend looked at the mug then looked and me and said, "It's an imperfect vessel and it's beautiful."

I held the mug protectively in my hands. It might be flawed, but it could still be used. For the first time, I looked at the mug, and I could honestly say that I've never seen a more beautiful vessel in my life. In that moment, I placed a great amount value on the mug. That imperfect vessel reminded me of myself.

God holds me tightly in His hands, and He places an expensive price tag on my life. I've been weak and I've crumbled, but He stretched me back up, glazed me with His spirit and put me through the fires. Yes, I am flawed . . . but I am no longer frail. I may have wrinkles and folds, but God thinks I am beautiful. He has fastened me with His handle, and He is ready to use me.

God show me how to be confident in my imperfections!

"Do you feel like a lowly worm, Jacob? Don't be afraid. Feel like a fragile insect, Israel? I'll help you. I, God, want to reassure you. The God who buys you back, The Holy of Israel. I'm transforming you from worm to harrow [a tool used for soil], from insect to iron. As a sharp-toothed harrow you'll smooth out the mountains, turn those tough old hills into loamy soil. You'll open the rough ground to the weather, to the blasts of sun and wind and rain. But you'll be confident and exuberant, expansive in The Holy of Israel!"

- (Isaiah 41:14 MSG)
Every fiber in my soul knows that I am nothing in the light of God. If you were to place my soul next to the Spirit of the Lord, I would completely disappear. It would be like placing a tea candle next to the sun. The more I grow in Christ, the more I comprehend my inconsequentialness without Him.

The story of the immoral woman washing Jesus' feet always bothered me. Jesus forgave the woman of her many sins and He said,
“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love" (Luke 7: 47 NLT).
What I don't think people realize is that we are all immoral. I don't care how the world categorizes and ranks our sins, but compared to the perfection of the Holy God, we are all liars, prostitues, thieves and murderes. We all have need for great amounts of forgiveness. The only difference between the immoral woman and us is that she comprehended the truth -- she is nothing without Him.

The world might label us as a sinner or a saint, but it doesn't matter. We are all sinful without the redemption of the cross. We are all that immoral woman at Jesus' feet. The distinction between people who are forgiven much is not their appearance of "many sins"; it is their full understanding and awareness of their "many sins." We all have an outstanding dept of sin that we cannot pay.

All my value and all my self-worth can only come from God. I might be a tea light, but I got the power of the sun around me. I have no significance without my Creator. It's time I let go of finding my own value and start allowing God to place His value on me. I am an imperfect vessel, and God thinks I'm worthy to be used.

God, please help us to shed ourselves of self-confidence, self-worth & self-control and to clothe ourselves with God-confidence, God-worth & God-control. Only then will we truly be beautiful vessles!

Dedicated to my spiritual mentor and special friend, Cheryl Grundy.

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Blogger Lacey said...

Beautiful post.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Lelia Chealey said...

This post is so beautiful! Thank you for sharing this and I loved the message your mentor taught you. Through a cup! I love how God works. Knowing that cup was being made just for her. Just for you.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I visit other people's blogs and leave a comment, because they visited my blog. In your case, I come here because I know I will find deep spiritual insight. Today of all days I'm desperate for a word from God. What I needed to hear was right here. Thank you!

1:06 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

What a special friend...and such a sweet message the Lord shared through her to you...and now by your sharing, more and more of us imperfect vessels will realize God does have a plan for us, just as we are...cracks, wrinkles, and all ....

1:14 PM  
Blogger Crissy said...

Thank you for blessing me with these words!

1:21 PM  
Blogger day by day said...

This is just beautiful...really made me think! Thank-you!!!

1:37 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Imperfect but usuable. Great quote and says it all. :O)

2:43 PM  
Blogger Sohl Gal said...

Just what God wanted me to read today, Alisa. Thank you for sharing this. Love you so much!

4:55 PM  
Blogger Susie said...

Thanks for making me cry...again. It was good tears though. I felt really insignificant around two ladies this morning, and while I was starting the whole pity thought process, I immediately took it to God. He is whose approval I must seek, and it is He who absolutely loves me just as I am. You are an awesome girl Alisa, and WAY TOO smart for your age.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Need More Words said...

What a wonderful post. Most of us realize our imperfections and it is humbling that God would make something beautiful out of us. We know that he "could" do it, but the amazing thing is that he "would" do it.

9:04 PM  
Blogger K. Frangeskos said...

What a great blog site you have...I found you from visiting chevonee.

Very creative and thought provoking...I will see you again.
Please stop by my blog anytime at
Jesus Knows You

I hope you enjoy it as well.
Best regards,
K. Frangeskos at
Jesus Knows You Best

1:14 AM  
Blogger Missy said...

Thank you for this post. I often struggle with self esteem issues and I need to remember that no one's opinion matters except for my Maker's and He loves me unconditionally.

2:45 AM  
Blogger Secretia said...

Can we then be ourselves without the rules of others?


5:37 AM  
Blogger Cherie said...

I loved this. I never go for the perfect items I always love the ones with a few flaws, a little bit of character. It shows they have a story. I enjoyed gettting this little glimpse of yours.

11:26 AM  
Blogger Paige said...

What a beautiful, well-written post. Thank you for sharing. I needed to read these words today.

1:29 PM  
Blogger Tabitha@ichoosebliss said...

When I saw the photo of that mug and read your words I smiled. For years I disliked my body, because of my deformities (from birth defects). Today I know why I was born this way and I couldn't love my body any more than I do now.

I am able to love me unconditionally, because I know I was created by The Father in His image and for specific reasons. In knowing these things "It is Well With My Soul." (:

2:00 PM  
Blogger ~*Michelle*~ said...

WOW.....this was beautiful.

I am so thankful that God loves me and my totally imperfect self.....

and speaking of vessels, God is surely using you as His vessel today with this message for me.....

thank you!

2:22 PM  
Blogger Julie said...

This was absolutely beautiful.... It's true, so very true. We see through the eyes of our imperfections, but Papa God.... He sees something else. He sees the me, created one in all my splendor. Not the splendor my flesh... no it's the splendor of who I was created to be... my true identity.

The more I see through His eyes, the more I love who I am... His Spirit perfects me.... Beauty is in the eyes of the Beholder.... my Creator.

Thanks for your visit to my blog and your sweet words. You blessed me!

5:55 PM  
Blogger thatdesigngal said...

Beautiful, thank you. I spent a few years throwing pottery, I understand that imperfections. Even through my prof might not have seen it's validity, forming that clay through my hands there was a beauty in it because I created it. Thanks :-)

7:12 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

What a great post - something we all definitely need to remind ourselves of.

10:27 PM  
Blogger Tamika: said...

God bless you for sharing such a lovely post.

Being in the presence of the Lord is both a privilege and joy. Some time ago I faced the greatest tragedy of my life and falling down at the feet of Jesus saved my life.

Blessings to you...

10:06 AM  
Blogger Melinda said...

Beautiful post! I needed that today. I've been beating myself up today over my perceived "failings" in ministry yesterday. Thank God that He uses us despite our weakness and inadequacy. He gets the glory that way!

I'm a writer and speaker also ... glad I found your blog!

10:31 AM  
Blogger Kimberly Dawn Rempel said...

Amen! Yours is just the kind of blog I was looking for. Found you through exemplifyonline. Thank you for sharing your weaknesses. In our weakness we are strong in Christ. Thank you for being real and honest and vulnerable. I praise the Lord for sharing this lesson with me through you.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Triumphant Victorious Reminders Copyright © 2009 said...

Hi Alisa...
Wow! What a beautiful word from the Lord! I was in tears, sitting at my desk. Wow! Thank you for sharing such beautiful truth from God! Wow! Wow! Wow!!!!! Let me say it one more time..WOW!
Love you!

4:42 PM  
Blogger Deb said...


I'm getting the message.

I don't have to be perfect to be useful.

My circumstances don't define me.

My God does.

Love this post.

Sweet dreams.

5:41 PM  
Blogger OceanDreams said...

This was a much needed post, thank you! This is what I have been struggling with most, I think. My roommate (as you know when one of my posts that I deleted) said some very judgmental things to me and since then I have had a hard time feeling unworthy, but I know that God loves me despite my imperfections and He can still use me. The process of forgiveness and love are sometimes hard, but God can use anyone, as long as we surrender and trust in His plan. :)

6:24 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

It's so good to have mentors who listen and offer Godly wisdom when needed.

I love the illustration of the mug. I'm always in awe of the fact that He loves me in spite of my imperfections. This post reminds me of the Point of Grace Song, Who Am I

Who am I? that you would love me so gently?
Who am I? that you would recognize my name?
Who am I? that you would speak to me so softly
Conversation with the love most high... who am I

BTW, Thanks for stopping by today.
God bless

8:46 PM  
Blogger strokeofliving said...

This post was right on time Alisa. It was beautifully written and I must say I'm drawn to the mug, it's imperfect yes but it reminds me of vintage items that I love. So it's a beautiful mug. Everything about it. God winks @ us sometimes doesn't he. Just when we need it.

I'm at peace knowing that God's love is true and ubiquitous.

9:16 PM  
Blogger Bina said...

I just hoped over from Michelle's blog...and this just struck my heart in a very deep way. Thank you for posting this as it goes right along with the lessons God is showing me. I accept that He made me...I just struggle to accept how I use the me He made.

Blessings to you,

10:30 PM  
Blogger Melissa Miller said...

I think we all feel this way sometimes Alisa. ~Beautifully written. You are a truly gifted and talented writer.

Thanks for your sweet visit. It's always nice to hear from you.

~Blessings, ~Melissa :)

10:45 AM  
Blogger groovyoldlady said...

Thanks for bringing your flawed self over to visit my flawed self and to read about my flawed (but funny) daughter who suffered from our flawed homeschooling attempts.

Frankly, I am THRILLED that God can use folks who are little warped...
Thanks for a lovely devotional!

6:32 AM  
Blogger jessb829 said...

in a service i was in they said that feelings of unworthiness is a trick from the enemy. the enemy will try to make you feel so low that you can't do the work for the Lord. walk with your head high and be bold in the Lord.
stay blessed

6:45 AM  
Blogger Alene said...

I sit here with tears streaming down my face! Thanks girl. We talked about our feelings of unworthiness yesterday in class and it resonated with every gal. I agree with jessb829 - the enemy truly tries everything to trip us up. Love you.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Shannon Jacobyansky said...

Thanks for visiting my blog...He Won My Heart. I've read your piece and loved it!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Shauna Renee' said...

So blessed by your post. I put a link to it on my blog at nursemom's musings.
Have a blessed day, my sister!

10:37 AM  
Blogger Penelope said...

That was beautiful (and aren't we all imperfect vessels?)...thanks for this post.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Twinkle Mom @ Sunflower Faith said...

Thank you. Simply thank you and particularly thank you to our Heavenly Father.

I needed to hear this. I needed to be reminded of this.

Thank you for this beautiful post.

11:15 PM  

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