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 sanctified.

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 that day.

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 had there.

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 muscles.

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 the bathroom.

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 work.

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 glorify Him.

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.


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