Essential reporting in volatile times.

Click here to stay informed and subscribe to the Williamson Daily News.

Click #isupportlocal for more information on supporting our local journalists.

It didn’t look like much -- all mashed down and squished into the box.

I had hoped, nay dreamed again of a new, fatter Christmas tree this year. After measuring the Christmas tree area and scouring the internet, I selected a Dunhill Green Fir that was seven and a half feet tall. Its girth measured 60 inches. That sounded pleasingly plump! I ordered it online and anxiously awaited its arrival.

Our family’s old tree was as big as a hippopotamus. After 20 years and many good memories, there were more fake needles on the floor than on the branches. It was a concern for my beloved. A newer, smaller tree took its place. I have continued to search for a larger, fatter replacement.

On my lunch break, my beloved informed me I had gotten a large package. Racing home after work, I pictured the new tree in all its glory.

Opening the box, it didn’t look like much. It had been squished almost flat to fit into the container.

I pulled out the parts and got to it. First, the foundation. The stand was locked into place. Assembly was easy: section A fit into B; section B fit into C. In seconds, it stood seven and a half feet tall.

It just needed some work.

As I bent and reshaped the branches, I realized how much we had in common.

When we accept Christ as our Savior, we don’t suddenly have it all together and walk in perfection. We need an overhaul. Hearts, attitudes and habits need to be completely reshaped. Our Father takes our lives -- ones that don’t look like much at first -- and gently reshapes us into something special. He uses His Word and His Spirit to accomplish the job.

The song “Have Thine Own Way, Lord” streamed through my mind. It was burned into my heart decades ago. Lyrics written by Adelaide A. Pollard in 1902 still ring true. “Have thine own way, lord, Have thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay. Mold me and make me, After thy will, while I am waiting, yielded and still.” According to various sources, Adelaide was distressed over her unsuccessful attempts to serve as a missionary in Africa yet was seeking to be molded into God’s perfect will. She was inspired by the prayer of an elderly woman at a prayer meeting and the story of the potter in Jeremiah 18. The words of the song poured from her heart to paper.

As a potter reshapes clay, my Father is reshaping me, too. My heart’s desire is to be an instrument in His Hands. Sometimes the changes are not fun.

Has He changed/reshaped you, too? Through times when He was your only hope? Has He stretched you? Or are you the same as when you met Him?

He guides me through His Word. He leads me (sometimes shoves me) with His Spirit. He gives me opportunities to grow in my faith, knowing my strength comes from Him.

I put on gloves to protect my hands as I worked on the new tree. To get it into perfect form, it took some time. The same is true of our Heavenly Father. Though it takes time, He doesn’t get frustrated. His Hands work tirelessly knowing it will be worth it.

Dawn Reed writes a weekly column for HD Media. She can be contacted at