Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prayer of an Earthen Vessel

Candlemas Day

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I originally wrote this piece as an entry for the FaithWriters weekly challenge (4/25/08). The topic was "Mother."

Today I read back over it for the first time in a long time, and I find that my heart's cry has not changed. I hope that it is a blessing to others.


God, I am so unworthy.
Who am I that you have entrusted me with these lives?
Eternal souls.
How can such a sinful heart as mine
Lead other sinful hearts to You?
How can one so weak, so flawed
Hold in her hands three growing heirs of Heaven
Or Hell,
Three temporary shells of
Eternity encapsulated?
Who is equal to these things?
Not I, Lord. Not I.
God, my heart breaks.
I’ve failed, oh how I’ve failed!
And time is racing against me,
Always against me
Inexorable foe
Which has already defeated every mighty one who has gone before,
And I can only cast myself at Your feet and cry
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner
A mother.”
And the mercy for which I plead
Is for them, Lord, for them.
I cannot be what they need me to be.
The best I have to offer them
Is only dust and ashes
For that is what I am,
And it is what I will someday be again.
Help me, God,
For what I want to give them is You.
You, Lord of Forever, shining through me.
Priceless treasure in an earthen vessel,
Heaven’s greatest glory
Hidden under a bushel-basket of sinful self.
Oh God, You have wounded me
With love,
You have crushed me
With mercy.
Now please do whatever you must
To break even more
Until You shine through triumphantly
And I cast no dark shadow across the face of Your glory.
Open their eyes
To see Your blazing beauty
And not the sin which tries to hide You.
Use me to show them Yourself
No matter what it may cost me
For I believe in You
And I know
You are worth it all.
To love You in this way
Is what it means to be a bride
And a daughter.
To love them in this way
Is what it means to be
A mother.

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