At the annual Ladies' Christmas Tea that my church gives every year, we were given a copy of this story. I liked it so much, I thought I'd share it with you!
"I want you to know that I have not always looked like this. It took the process of pain to bring me to this point. You see, there was a time when I was just clay and the Master came and he pounded me and he squeezed me and he kneaded me and I screamed: "STOP THAT!". But he just smiled and said, "Not yet".
Then he took me and put me on the shelf and I went round and round and round and round... and while I was spinning and getting dizzier and dizzier I screamed again and I said, "Please get me off this thing... please get me off!!!" And the Master was looking at me and he was smiling, as he said, "Not yet".
Then he took me and walked toward the oven and shut the door and turned up the heat and I could see him through the window of the oven and it was getting hotter and hotter and I thought, "He's going to burn me to death!".
And I started pounding on the inside of the oven and I said, "Master, let me out, let me out, let me out!", and I could see that he was smiling as he said "Not yet". Then he opened the door and I was fresh and free and he took me out of the oven and he put me on the table and then he got some paint and a paintbrush.
He started dabbing me and making swirls all over me and I started to gag and I said: "Master, stop it... stop it... stop it please... you're making me gag". He just smiled as he said "not yet".
Then very gently he picked me up again and he started walking toward the oven and I said, "Master, NO!! Not again, pleeeease!!". He opened the oven door and he slipped me inside and he shut the door and this time he turned the heat up twice as hot as before and I thought, "He's going to kill me!!", and I looked through the window of the oven and I started to pound on it, saying, "Master... Master, please let me out... please let me out... let me out!".
I could see that he was smiling but I also noticed a tear trickle down his cheek as I watched him mouth the words, "Not yet!"
Just as I thought I was about to die, the door opened and he reached in ever so gently and took me out, fresh and free and he went and placed me on a high shelf and he said: "There, I have created what I intended. Would you like to see your yourself?" I said, "Yes". He handed me a mirror and I looked and I looked again and I said, "That's not me, I'm just a lump of clay".
He said, "Yes, that IS you, but it took the process of pain to bring you to this place. You see, had I not worked you when you were clay, then you would have dried up.
If I had not subjected you to the stress of the wheel you would have crumbled. If I had not put you into the heat of the oven you would have cracked. If I had not painted you there would be no color in your life. But, it was the second oven that gave you the strength to endure. Now you are everything I intended you to be - from the beginning." And I, the teacup, heard myself saying something I never thought I would hear myself saying, "Master, forgive me, I did not trust you. I thought you were going to harm me, I did not know you had a glorious future and a hope for me. I was too shortsighted, but I want to thank you.
I want to thank you for the suffering. I want to thank you for the process of pain. Here I am! I give you myself - fill me; pour from me, use me as you see fit. I really want to be a vessel that brings you glory within my life."