I sat mesmerized as I watched the glassblower work at the Hadeland Glassverk factory during our visit to Norway. I was surprised by the intensity that I felt as I watched him mold the glass into its intended product. I’ve seen glassblowing before so my thought was that we’d just watch for a few minutes and then move on to something else – say lunch. Before I knew it though, I was totally engrossed in the process.
I can’t give you the specifics of glassblowing. I’m still not totally sure how it all works, but what I saw that day made a huge impression on my soul. Yes, my soul. I know that sounds weird but hang with me for a little bit.
The glassblower had already started on his project when I arrived. He held a long pole with a “blob” at the end of it and placed it into a blazing hot furnace. He carefully watched that blob and always pulled it out at just the right moment. He’d roll it, blow through the pole, and use some tools to help form it into what he wanted it to be. I was sure it was going to be a vase.
The demonstration lasted for probably fifteen minutes (which explains why handblown glassware is so expensive) and the process was repeated again and again. The blob was put into the furnace, pulled out, blown on, occasionally pounded ever so gently, rolled, formed, and stuck back into the fire. The part that made an impact on my very soul was when the glassblower donned a huge, soft, cloth mitt and lovingly stroked the glass as he twirled it around. He was so gentle and took great care not to break it. It seemed as though he was soothing the glass. (I know, this sounds crazy, but really that’s how it appeared to me.) As the glassblower held the glass in his hands and worked the mitt around it, I suddenly felt myself in the hands of God.
It was most surely the Holy Spirit who spoke to my heart during that demonstration. No, there were no audible words, but the message piercing my soul went something like this: “Nancy, this is how God loves you. He watches you go through hard times but he won’t let you burn up. He’ll pull you out just in time as he lovingly holds you and molds you into the woman he longs for you to be. Watch the way that man strokes the glass. Do you see how gentle he is with that hot mess? That’s the way God is with you. He ever so gently wipes away your tears, your fears, and your rough edges to mold you into something beautiful; a unique woman created to glorify him. You will go through hard times but your Father God will be there to comfort and mold you all along the way. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine.”
I literally cried that day as I watched the glassblower work. I know! Nuts! I even laughed at myself over my crying but you know what? I still cry today when I retell that story. It was that powerful of a moment. Just recently God gave me the opportunity to share it with a couple of friends who are walking through tough times. And not until I shared it did I realize that God had shown me this right before we started walking the cancer journey last year. Then, and now, I knew that God has never left my side.
Do you know what that blob of glass turned into? A platter! Not a vase at all. It seems its maker knew exactly what he was doing all along; the same way God knows how to mold me into the woman he wants me to be. He is making me beautiful.
Are you walking through the fire today? You are safe in his hands – an ever-changing work of the Master. You are beautiful and you are loved.
Nancy loves to laugh and considers laughter a critical part of human survival. If you were to ask, most days she would say her glass is half full but when it starts reaching the half-empty level, she reaches for a funny book or movie knowing that indeed “A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Nancy has three married sons and five grandchildren. To read more from Nancy find her at www.nancyholte.com.
Nancy, this is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this amazing experience with us. Sometimes an “object lesson” like this affects me far stronger than teaching.
I’m with you, Tabby. Object lessons stick with me so much longer than when I just hear it.