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jackie aviles

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A work of Art

I'm Jackie!

Through the years, It has been my joy to write words that have captured the essence of hope in suffering. That have encouraged countless people to boldly face their seasons of struggle.


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I See Wounded, God Sees Mended!

(Isaiah 64:8) But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

October 8, 2016 – I’m in the prep room right now with friends and family. Just hours away from surgery. Exhausted from staying up all night, Watching YouTube videos of how my body will be ripped open, pulled and sowed back together again. Yet,  Thanks to great conversation and pink cupcakes from my friend Judy, I’m able to stop my mind from reverting to those awful images.

3,2,1: The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the hospital hallway, as everything around became fussier and fussier; it felt kind of like a movie scene.

Six hours later, excruciating pain woke me. It hurt so bad to breathe and I could not talk. My chest pounded and it felt as if a ton of bricks were placed on me. I remember the voices around me, my husband’s standing out the most of all. “You’re ok, you did it” he comforted me, as  I could feel my mom dabbing the sides of my face with a tissue trying to catch my tears.

At this point, I had yet opened my eyes since I drifted in and out of sleep. My only form of communication was moving my finger to express my “yes’s” or “no’s”. One thing I vividly remember was my best friend Jessica’s cold, shaky hand holding mine. Everyone could feel my pain and I could feel their eagerness to take the pain from me. I spent about three days in the hospital, with about two of those days spent under the effects of morphine.

I am forever thankful to my sisters! Laurie, for taking the morning shift to care for me as she applied her nurturing nursing skills, making things easier for everyone. My sister Laura lovingly aided my husband with my care so that he could rest, though she never rested herself.

Finally, on day three in the afternoon, in comes my mom with my boys! Emilio and I had not seen them and it brought so much joy to our hearts. I am so thankful for grandmas – they were the perfect medicine.

The days in the hospital passed and I was beginning to eat and move without help. As I got better, the reality of what I had just gone through set in. My mind immediately reverted to the gut-wrenching pictures on Google I had seen the night before surgery and I quickly tugged at my gown from the neck down to see the “damage.” “When is this gonna be over?” I impatiently questioned God. “I’m done!” I stubbornly said. The pain brought out feelings I hadn’t yet felt in this journey.

“What a work of Art,” I thought sarcastically. It was as if someone had taken a priceless piece of art and shattered it into tiny pieces and mended it rapidly, transforming it into a totally different piece. I honestly did not know what to feel.  I had wanted to turn away from seeking God in prayer, at that moment. Yet I realized this was exactly what had happened. It was a hard truth to face.

“So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.”” – Jeremiah 18:2-6

I am home now, hospital bracelet still around my wrist. AS I READ THIS VERSE, I can profoundly feel Jesus asking me: “Can I not do with you, Jackie, as this surgeon has? Shaped you as it seems best for me?”

I quickly made the contrast to my relationship with our heavenly father. The potter working the clay reminded me that God was at work before, during and after surgery, no matter what my perception was after looking at myself. Just as this potter had a plan for the lump of clay, so God has a plan for our lives! You see it takes time to make a worth while product. As this clay yields in the hands of his potter, it becomes something of great value! If the clay fails to yield it becomes marred!  That was the true “damage” to my situation. I had an unyielding heart towards God!

Isaiah 45: 9 says: “Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?”

Disobedience hinders the work of God in our lives

I was reminded to be patient. Just as this potter controlled the speed of the wheel and the pressure  with his hands, so does our God control the timeing of things in our lives and how much we can take in our situations! You see my life is not controlled by luck, or chance or karma. It is controlled by My potter, my Heavenly Father!

For me, there was no more questioning God. But that wasn’t the lesson God wanted me to learn..

The Bible says: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that this all surpassing power belongs to God and not us. we are pressed on every side, but not crushed perplexed but not in despair persecuted but not abandoned struck down but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

You see the potter in this story didn’t throw away the marred vessel. He made it over again! That’s the lesson. God took my heart and my rebellious unyielding stubborn and impatient moment, and turned it into something worthwhile and useful! Why?

To show that this all surpassing POWER belongs to him and ONLY HIM! Not a surgeon. Not my own selfish wants. Not man at all. But God!

The Japanese have a long tradition of repairing pots with gold. People have come to cherish the imperfections of a broken pot repaired in this way. Chances are a vessel fixed with gold will look more gorgeous and more precious than before it was fractured. It is a rebirth of the pot’s life story. The more suffering and damage in the history of this pot, the more beautiful it is to the beholder. Because of the pot’s flaws, it is a convincing gesture to be repaired and brings honor to the potter.

Just as the clay finds its highest value and purpose when it remains flexible in the hands of the potter, so my life fulfills the highest purpose when I let the true potter – my “big G” God – have his way. It is my responsibility to take what I have and use it for the glory of God. This is how I find my ultimate fulfilment rather than live in disappointment in what God has or has not given me.

You see, I gained another scar this week, but instead of seeing it as an imperfection, I began to see it as a possible brokenness mended with gold.

 Not only are these scars a reminder of how God has brought me through, but with everlasting joy I await the finished product of the True potters “work of art” in me!

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