Window (4) A
LUMP OF CLAY
In 1940, Glen, my oldest brother graduated from
high school and then worked a year to get money to go to college.
He was very young when he knew that God had
called him to preach. Mom has told about times when, as a boy, he
would get his cousins together and he would conduct a little
service. He and his wife, Alma, have now retired after 43 very
productive years in the ministry.
On January 14, 1942, God blessed our home with
another sister. Colleen Caron. Our parents had there A, B. C,
girls, and our names ended with an ene, ine, een.
Sometimes Mom would call all three of us before
she got the one she wanted.
Dick graduated from high school on the honor
roll in 1943. A piano teacher gave him about two years of free
lessons as a graduation gift. When he moved to Denver, Colorado
to work, he asked her if I could take the lessons in his place.
She agreed. I took the lessons, and appreciated it very much.
During my teen years, my parents began to
attend the Salvation Army where Dad was able to preach from time
to time. At that time I took their Corps Cadet class, and
graduated from the six year course. When I was 16 years old I
felt God's hand on me, calling me to preach. Being in charge of a
group of young people, I gained some of my preaching experience
while working with them. God made Himself so clear to me, that no
one, anywhere, could have persuaded me that He had not called me
to preach. The call is as clear today, as it was back then. It
was a difficult time for me as I mentioned before, for I wasn't
Dad worked so hard to provide for his family.
Many times he would just get the coal bill paid, when it was time
to buy more coal. No one, anywhere, ever worked any harder than
he did for his family. When it came time for me to graduate in
1948, there was no money to buy me a nice dress. Mother went to
work that spring in a laundry, which was very hard work. She
bought me a beautiful pink suit and made me a blouse and tatted
the yoke for it. As I walked across the stage that night to get
my diploma, you would have thought I was in the wrong place, and
should have perhaps been graduating from the 6th grade. God was
with me through it all.
That summer I heard they needed someone to work
with a lady at the isolation Hospital in Mason City. When I went
to see her she told me I would need to see my personal doctor for
an examination. Then I saw one I hadn't seen before, Dr.
George Tice. When he saw my condition, he became interested and
alarmed, and made arrangements for me to go to Mayo Clinic, in
Rochester, Minnesota. In November of that year, Mom went with me
to Mayo Clinic. She was with me for the first day and then had to
go home for she was working. Those doctors couldn't find anything
especially wrong with me and sent me home to take some hormones.
This did start me to develop a little. The
following summer I went back to Mayo and they gave me different
medicine, which I couldn't have refilled.
In 1948, my parents began to attend the Church
of the Nazarene. They joined the church and later I began to
attend. The first sermon I can remember hearing on the
sanctifying power, or holiness, was in an afternoon indoor camp
meeting. The evangelist had taken his handkerchief, held it up by
the comers and laid it on the altar, calling it the unknown
bundle. The unknown bundle is all the things we don't know about
at the present time. This would include our entire future, the
future of our loved ones and His future leadings. He told how to
get the experience, and when the altar call was made, I think I
was one of the first ones to be at the altar. My life was changed
In the fall of 1949, I heard that the Iowa
District had purchased a school at Tabor, Iowa. It was a high
school and a Bible school. So I enrolled as the only Bible school
student for the first semester. There were seven other students
all in high school. It closed at Christmas time in 1950. While at
this school I learned much and am thankful for the experience I
In 1952. I got a job at a department store in
downtown Mason City. At first I was a saleslady but was mainly
hired to become the elevator operator. The girl who had been
doing it wasn't dependable and soon I found myself operating the
elevator. There were no push buttons, but a round disk. If you
pushed the handle fastened to it one way it would go up, and the
other way down. You had to decide just where to stop it and make
it level. There were three floors and a basement. There was a
gate on the inside that wasn't hard to open or close, but the
doors to the floors were heavy, and I soon developed some
My main purpose in working was to get money so
I could go to college. Just when I would think I was about ready
to save for college, something else would happen, usually
sickness and a doctor bill. It didn't matter how hard I worked at
it, it just didn't seem possible I would ever earn enough to
prepare for the calling God had given me.
It was December 24, 1953. By this time
Bernadine, my sister just younger than me, whom we lovingly call
Bernie, had graduated from high school and had a job as a
secretary in a lawyer's of office. Mom was working at that time
in one of the hospitals. She had to be there very early and was
up and gone before we were out of bed. That morning, as I fixed
Dad's breakfast and packed his lunch, I had a terrible feeling in
my throat. After calling the store and telling them I was very
sick and wouldn't make it to work that day, I went to bed. After
chilling and piling on the blankets, I got a very high
temperature. My sisters were both home that day, but didn't
realize how sick I was. When Mom got home and saw me, she knew I
was very sick. They took my temperature and since it was always
hard for mother to read, Bernie read it for her. Bernie said,
"It can't be that high." So they took my temperature
again and it read 105.6. Mom called the doctor and by the time he
got there Dad was home. He told them he thought I had polio. So I
was taken by ambulance to the hospital where they gave me a
spinal tap. The test was negative, but they didn't know what was
wrong with me. From Thursday night until Sunday morning there was
little change. Then I had a bad nose bleed and my nose had to be
packed. When my parents came to see me that afternoon, I tried to
smile at them. My smile went up the side of my face, for I had
St. Vitas' Dance, or Chorea, in connection with rheumatic fever.
It was then they knew that I had rheumatic fever. It was a few
days after that when my temperature broke. The following Sunday I
went home so weak I could hardly walk. Dad half carried me into
the house. For the next five months I was in bed except to go to
After everyone was off for the day, I was alone
until noon, when Dad and Colleen would come and get dinner. We'd
eat and then they went back to work and school. Much of the time
I was home alone until Mom got home from work. God blessed her
with a wonderful sense of humor. She would always find something
to get me to laughing about which was often connected to her
One day, while everyone was gone, I had a
serious talk with my Lord asking Him why this happened to me. It
wasn't meant to put God down for letting it happen, but I
wondered if there was some special reason for it. He told me I
would preach to people and communicate with people who thought
they would have a chance to get right with Him at death. He
reminded me of my delirious state, and my inability to pray.
It seems so few ever get saved when they die
these days. Some times they are given medications to free them
from pain. They are so doped they can't pray. Others die in
automobile accidents where there is no time to pray.
God has used this experience and I want always
to be that lump of clay that God can use. To be used of God, I
must be sure my heart stays soft and pliable. It is my desire
that God remove all the things from my life that would hinder Him
from making me what He wants me to be. The most thrilling thing
in my life is the realization that God has used me in some way to
The 4th verse of the 23rd Psalm says, "Thy rod and thy staff comfort me." It is a comfort to know the Shepherd has the rod to fight off the enemy, but I'm glad for the staff that can pull me back into line, if I should stray. We always need to be in condition for God to use us anyhow and anyway He chooses. As we are yielded completely to Him, we will see the Brightness of His Glory.
A LUMP OF CLAY
I was just a mess
Of dirty, miry, clay.
My potter was the devil,
Who shaped me day by day.
I thought that I was doing
Just what I wanted to do;
Controlled me through and through.
But I heard the voice of God saying,
"The way you're going won't pay.
I want to remold you,
More than a lump of clay."
"I paid the price to redeem you,
'Twas My death on Calvary's tree,
I arose and am the Victor!
I love you, can't you see?"
So I gave myself to this Potter.
He changed me without and within.
He gave me peace and victory,
And forgave me of my sin.
As I lived my life for Jesus,
I found that there were days
I didn't yield to my Master's touch,
Or let Him have His way.
Then I heard I had a nature
Within this heart of mine,
That I needed to get rid of,
So my light would really shine.
Sanctifying power, they called it,
Would take that nature away;
His Spirit would cleanse and fill me,
I sought it that very day.
I made a complete commitment,
Died to myself, my future and all.
He filled me with His Spirit,
In answer to my call.
As I talk to my Potter each morning,
I bow and humbly pray,
"Potter, please mold and make me,
A fit vessel for You today."
by Arlene R. Wright
Contents Window 3 Window 5 The Winds of the Spirit The Voice of the Nazarene