The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

God molds us as a glassblower molds glass


March 16, 2018

One of the highlights of my childhood was our family's trip to Niagara Falls. On a winding road in Missouri on our route to New York State, Daddy noticed an advertisement for a glassblower's shop. He read the sign out loud: "Glassblowing 4 miles. Visitors welcome." So Daddy decided that this was something that we needed to see.

We followed the little community's main street and the roadway signs to the glassblower's headquarters. After Daddy parked in front of the little storefront, we walked into the cluttered studio of the glassblower. We joined other onlookers as we all watched the glassblower work his art.

Clad in a faded and worn apron that covered the entire front of his body, the glassblower worked in a dim room, except for the light of his worktable. He had stooped shoulders and was weathered looking. But we could quickly see his passion as we all delighted in the objects and figurines in his shop. He talked as he went about his art, and even then he never missed a motion in his creation sequence.

Then suddenly he asked us to move closer and said: “What would you like — anyone?”

"What would ya like to see?" he asked with a twinkle in his eye?

Susie, my sister, piped up and suggested that he make a hat.

"A hat it is!” said the glassblower.

First, he collected a clump of liquefied glass. He went on to twist it with the long pipe that he clutched in his fingers. Then with one huge intake of breath, we watched as he literally blew the glass until it changed to a round tube. Working the glass and all the while blowing through the pipe tube, the old man started to shape what was once a ball of liquefied glass into a top hat with a brim. Finally, with special wood, the old glassblower finished his project by molding the image into what it was supposed to be — a hat for Susie.

All the visitors stood silently as the old glassblower continued to make wonderful creations. Then his wife took us into a little gift shop where his items were for sale. Mother suggested that Susie and I choose something that would remind us of him and our trip. I chose a little top hat, one that was nearly identical to the one the glassblower had fashioned back at his worktable.

It has been a long time since Missouri and that trip to Niagara Falls. Daddy and Mother are gone and Susie lives far away in Minnesota. Sometimes childhood seems just like a fleeting memory to me. But even as I write this many years later, today a little glass top hat sits on my desk in my bedroom. It is the same one the old glassblower made so long ago. No doubt he has long since died and his old workshop is non-existent. Yet, that glass fashioned from the skill of his hands stands as a testimony to his talent.

As I have grown and matured, I have thought of the glassblower and its parallel to what God does with us. Maybe God looks at all of us like the glassblower viewed the melted glass before he started. God has to begin with us as we are, no matter the shape we are in. But yet God sees possibilities. Then in bringing out the best in us and refining us, God can mold us to what he wants us to be. He has to refine us to make us and mold us into chosen vessels for him, useful vessels for his kingdom.

Watchman Nee said it well. Nee was a church leader, Christian teacher and prolific writer in China during the 20th century. In his book “Sit, Walk, Stand: The Process of Christian Maturity,” he wrote: “The Christian life from start to finish is based upon this principle of utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus.” To be a vessel God can use, we must have utter dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ. Only then can he mold us and make us into what he wants us to be and the result will be something beautiful for him.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at:


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