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The Carver

Sir, we wish to see Jesus.

John 12:21

Do you really know what you “look like” now that you are a new creature in Christ Jesus (II Cor. 5:17)?

We were taking a family vacation and were watching wood carvers at work–making astounding statues of Indians out of huge rough-hewn logs. Bill was amazed at their dexterity. “I don’t see how in the world he does that!” Pres (the one with the smart mouth) said, “Oh, that’s easy, Dad. He just chips away everything that doesn’t look like an Indian!”

God has been busily “chipping away” on me for years! I became a Believer when I was twelve years old, but I didn’t start exploring who I really was as a Believer until I was in my early thirties. No one had broached that topic from the pulpit, consequently I was ignorant about my true identity and ignorant of Christ living in me and through me to face life. So I certainly didn’t have any idea what was in this log named Anabel! But to my credit I knew there were many things about me that did not look like Jesus.

I was a “died-in-the-wool” performer. Performance-Based-Acceptance was the key to my contentment–to “knowing who I was” and feeling loved, needed, and nice. (There’s some serious “chipping” to do there.) Add to that, sinking to the depths of despair when I didn’t perform up to my expectations and my expectations were for “perfection.” (More chipping necessary.) I was super-sensitive to any kind of evaluative criticism–and my husband was an “expert” in this field so there were a lot of “cold wife” techniques evidenced and perfected around the Gillham house. (As Bill and I look back now, we lived in that blissful state of marriage called “hell on earth” for several long years.) Add incapacitating depression to that list and you see that Anabel was in dire need of an expert “Wood Carver.”

That’s one of God’s vocations. You see, He knows what’s in the “log”–who I really am–who He has recreated me to be–this holy, righteous, altogether lovely, blameless, forgiven, woman, filled with Jesus Christ who manifests the beautiful fruit of His Spirit through me. I had been operating for years under a fake ID and doing a fairly good job of presenting to my world who I thought I was or perhaps who I had learned I was from the people around me. How deceived can a person be?

Did you know that He’s chipping away on you? Quite frankly, I get frustrated at the piles of “shavings” scattered from His work some times and it can prove to be painful and embarrassing. But can you give Him the “go-ahead,” relax, and marvel at His carving expertise? One of these days you and I will be on display as part of His carving exhibition. The “Indian” in me will eventually be uncovered as He deftly uses His carving tools. And I will be astounded at His work.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.