Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family with Jim Daly

God Uses Cracked Pots (Part 2 of 2)

God Uses Cracked Pots (Part 2 of 2)

Speaker Patsy Clairmont humorously shares how her personal flaws, mistakes and struggles demonstrate how God's light shines best through the cracks and broken places in our lives. (Part 2 of 2)

Original Air Date: July 13, 1989



Mrs. Patsy Clairmont: Now, people, I was agoraphobic for a number of years. Sounds like part of the Ringling Brothers, doesn’t it? (Laughter) What it actually means is [that] I was a prisoner in my own home, held by the bars of my emotions. [I] lost about six years in emotional turmoil and struggle, paralyzed by fear.

End of Teaser

John Fuller: Well, from housebound prisoner of fear to famous speaker at stadium events, how does that happen? You’re going to find out today on “Focus on the Family” with your host, Focus president and author, Jim Daly and I’m John Fuller.

Jim Daly: As we continue celebrating our 40th anniversary with some of your all-time favorite programs, we’re featuring Patsy Clairmont, sharing the steps you can take to stabilize your emotional responses to life, how to get that control over your feelings so that you’re not living by them. And as you heard there, she has lived this out. She was housebound for six years because of her fears. They had trapped her. Patsy’s first few points, which we heard last time, were that you need to first set your mind to be determined and believe God’s Word for yourself. Second, seek godly counsel. Ask God to put a godly person in your life as a mentor and then third, settle your past. Make a point to resolve deep issues from your background.

And if you missed part one of Patsy’s presentation yesterday, get in touch with us. We can send you the entire message on CD or audio download, so that you can listen again or share it with a family member of a friend. Go get our daily broadcast app, as well, where you can access it at your leisure.

John: Yeah, that’s a great way for a lot of people to listen on the go on their tablet or on their phone. And you’ll find details at or call 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY. All right, let’s hear the conclusion of Patsy Clairmont’s message, speaking at a women’s retreat a number of years ago, for today’s “Focus on the Family.”


Patsy Clairmont: I remember the day well. It was one of those days when everything was going right. I went in and took a shower and fixed my hair, and it went just the way that I wanted it to, that it so seldom does. (Laughter) I had a new pink sweater and I put it on, and it reflected color up and I need all the help I can get. (Laughter) I had on my gray slacks and taupe heels, and I remember looking in the mirror and say[ing], “Looking good.” (Laughter) It was cool that day, so I put on my gray trench coat with a little pink at the lapels, and I thought, “Color coded from head to toe.” (Laughter)

I went out, and I got into the car, and I headed into our little town. We have a great big health food store there, and usually I can park right in front and go in and get what I needed. The town was so busy this day, I had to park two blocks away. But there’s something about when your attitude is right, inconveniences and interruptions are no big deal. (Laughter)

And I thought, “I’ll just bounce down the street in time to the sunshine.” So I got out of the car, and I began to bounce down the street, crossed over the road, went into the store, and I started down the long aisle way towards the back. And as I did, there was a refrigeration section back there with glass doors, and I caught my reflection again. (Laughter)

And I looked and I was watchin’ and I said, “Yes, child, you are lookin’ good.” Then I took another step, and I said, “What is that on my foot?” (Laughter) [It was] my panty hose. (Laughter)

Seems as though the night before, I had done a little Wonder Woman act (Laughter), where I had taken slacks and panty hose off in one fell swoop. The next morning I had put on new panty hose, and I had pushed the old ones through. (Extended Laughter)

I believe that they made their emergence (Laughter)as I bounced down the street in time to the sunshine.(Laughter) And the reason that I believe that is because of the truck driver (Laughter) who stopped his truck to let me cross. (Laughter)I remember looking up, and he was laughing. (Laughter) And I thought, “Oh, look, the whole world is happy today (Laughter),” and so I waved. (Laughter) Little did I realize how much I was waving. (Laughter)

I really felt that, by this time in my life, I had reached some amount of maturity. But I can honestly tell you that when I looked back and saw that dangling participle, that the thought that crossed my mind was, “I am going to die.” (Laughter) And I thought, “I can never leave this store,” because I know all the store owners in our hometown. And I know by now they’ve got all their employees at the window waiting for a return parade.

Finally, I realized I’d have to leave. So I went out the door, down the street, into the car, and I headed for home. And all the way home I said, “I’ll never tell anyone I did this. I’ll never tell anyone I did this. I’ll never tell anyone I did this.” I got home, and my husband was standing there, and I said, “Do you know what I did?” (Laughter)

I suggested we move in the night. (Laughter)We had talked of Arizona. Well, if you have ever done anything to humiliate yourself, you know that the more you try not to think of it, it comes to you in living color with every emotion intensified. And I’d be walking through the house, and I’d go, “Oh! Ooh!” And finally I said, “Lord, You say you take ashes, and you make beauty. What do you do with panty hose?” (Laughter)

I said, “I am so humiliated.” And I heard the Spirit of the Lord say to me, “Patsy, you have dragged a lot worse things through your life than panty hose. You’ve dragged anger and guilt and shame and rejection.” And He said, “You think those made you look unattractive over here—the pantyhose—but these things,” He says, “these rob you of the joy of living. These things keep you from fully knowing who I am. It is these things that you’ve been dragging around that keep you from being that light that I desire your life to have an influence in and you keep displaying all of these qualities that are so unattractive.”

What is it that you’ve been dragging around with you year after year after year? May I remind you that when Jesus shed His precious blood on Calvary, He not only died for our sin, but for our shame, and that we do not have to be guilt-ridden people. We do not have to live in constant regret of what could have been, but live in expectancy of what yet is to be. And then we need to learn how to speak the truth, speak the truth

If I were to ask you are you honest women, we would all say yes. But then I would ask you again, are we truly honest women? And then I would say one more time, are we honest? Are we truly, truly honest women? Or do we cover up a lot? Do we find it’s easier to blame than it is to face the responsibility of some of the deep flaws within our own character? For we feel, where would we hide if I began to say, yes, this is the way I am? Where then would be my hiding place? Our hiding place is in our Lord. And He calls us to make ourselves vulnerable, which means that we have to be willing to speak the truth, regardless of how unattractive it may make us appear.

When I was a young mother, I had a lot of anger. And our oldest, Marty, at that time, was 4-years-old. And oftentimes, he was the recipient of a mother on overload. And he didn’t deserve it, for he’d only do little-boy things: “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy.” (Laughter)

I don’t know if it ever occurred to any of us to say “What?” the first time. (Laughter) It would certainly bring the old stress load down, wouldn’t it? But about the five zillionth “Mommy,” we go, “What!?!” (Laughter) Don’t we? (Laughter) Oftentimes, I would discipline him in such a way that was not healthy, for he did not deserve all the reaction he got. And afterwards, some of you mothers might identify with this, I’d think, I truly overreacted. (Laughter) And so, I’d slip him a Twinkie: “Here! Want a Twinkie?!” (Laughter)

You see, that’s easier than speaking the truth. “Want to watch cartoons?” (Laughter) And I could see that our relationship was not very good and I felt so guilt-ridden because of it. And I went on my face before my God, and I spoke the truth to my God. You see, He already knew it, but He was waiting for me to come in to a position to say, “Lord, here I am and this is what I do, and I’m so ashamed and I know that I can’t change on my own andI need Your help.”

And at that time, there was an idea that formed in my mind that I believe was from God, because it made a difference, and that was that before I disciplined Marty, I should pray with him. And so often, the prayers sounded very strange and strained as I’d take that little boy by the hand, and I’d say, “Dear Lord, help this miserable little kid (Laughter) and help his miserable mommy, who wants so desperately to raise him in a way that would honor You.” You know, by the time I’d get done, I was almost reasonable (Laughter) and then I could see what he needed.

And sometimes what he needed was more of my time, a little undivided attention, extra amounts of encouragement and love. And sometimes what he needed was a spanking. But now it was done in love instead of anger, and it drew us together instead of separating us, and it made such a difference. But one day that little boy ticked me off. (Laughter) And I headed across the room. I musta looked like a locomotive. (Laughter) Steam comin’ out all sides. (Laughter) I had one goal: get the kid; get the kid; get the kid; get the kid! (Laughter)I got across there and his eyes were the eyes of saucers. (Laughter) And he looked up at me and he said, “Let’s pray!” (Laughter and Applause) You see, Marty had learned a real important lesson in life. When Mommy talks to Jesus, we’re all a lot better off. (Laughter)

And I would ask you today, can others tell that you have been talking to Jesus? For when you have been in His presence, there is something about your own that changes. There is a difference even in your countenance and the way that you approach life and the way that you interact with people.

But it takes a person willing to say, “Yeah, this is where I’m at. It’s ugly, and I don’t like it. I don’t even like to say it, but it’s true about me. I am shallow and Lord, without Your hand working within me [in] depth, I’ll never have what I need to respond as a grown-up person.” We need to learn how to speak the truth.

Program Note:

John: Today on “Focus on the Family,” Patsy Clairmont and you can get a CD of this program–it includes extra content–when you make a generous financial contribution to this ministry. You can do so by calling 800-A-FAMILYor stop by

End of Program Note

Patsy:We need to learn how to speak the truth and then weneed to learn how to saturate ourself [sic] in the Word of God, saturate ourselves in the Word of God, for it is through the reflection of this Word that we begin to see who we are and who we aren’t and who we are yet to become.

I had to work through a lot of fears in my life and I thought He should just whisk ’em away. And I would approach the Lord and say, “Please make all the fear go away.” He said, “No, I’m gonna walk you through these, so I can bring you out the other side, a strong and a stable woman.”And one of the fears I had to deal with was the fear of flying. (Chuckling) Oh, I didn’t know when we were dealing with this fear it meant I would be flying every week. I may not have been quite so willing, but it was an area that I needed to know that Jesus is Lord. That’s the bottom line on everything we face: Is Jesus truly Lord in every area of your life?

And the day finally came when I had to deal with this. I get dizzy on my high heels, so getting on a plane on purpose did not look like fun to me, but I needed to get somewhere quickly, and that was the only way to do it. And so, I felt that in His timing, I was to move in this direction and He would enable me.

See, in the past what happened is, I would say, “Enable me now before I do it. Make me feel good about it and settle me down so I know that You’re there and then I’ll obey.” And I learned that, no, no, safe is being willing to take the step, not knowing if you’re gonna survive from one step to the next and He will meet you there. He graciously, faithfully meets you there.Every step you take in His direction leads you to solid ground.

And so, I started to the airport. My husband went with me to encourage me. He was assisting me through the airport. Actually, he was shoving me towards the gate. (Laughter) And fear has a way of growingif you’ll feed it and on that day, fear grew legs, because it ran up my arm and this shoulder leaned into this ear and shared, “Run!” (Laughter) But there was my husband, guiding me back on. And I took a seat, and my friend—my former friend—was with me. And she sat down, and Rose took out a camera. And I said, “Why are we taking a camera out in the plane?” She said, “I wanted to capture fear in color when they start the engines.” (Laughter)

It was a hazy, gray, nasty day in February in Michigan when we took off. I’ll never forget it. As we left the ground, and we started through the murky clouds and then came out into the brilliant sunlight, and as I looked out the window, there arched in the heavens from one cloud to another, was a rainbow and I knew that it was mine. I knew that it was a telegram from the Lord saying, “You’re going to make it.” (Laughter) And so, I just wrapped up in it. Now scientists would tell you another reason, but what do they know? (Laughter) This was for me this day. It was like a warm-loving quilt, and I wrapped up in the security of it.

And then the pilot came on, a man who was obviously in need of counsel (Laughter), because he began to say things he should’ve kept to himself (Laughter), things like running lower on fuel than we’d anticipated and strong head winds and I began to search the heavens for another rainbow. (Laughter)

And Rose had her Bible. I think she thought it was the Yellow Pages. (Laughter) She was letting her fingers do the walking back and forth and going, “Oh, look at this!” And she said, “Oh, look! Isn’t this funny?” And I looked down; I said, “Funny, nothing! Give that to me!” It was my other rainbow, for listen to what it says in Obadiah. Who reads Obadiah? (Extended Laughter)

“Who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to earth?’” (Laughter) That was me, Lord. I just said that in my heart: “Who’s gonna bring me down to earth?” (Laughter) He says, “Though you fly high like the eagle, though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down, declares the Lord.” Well, thank You, Lord, and thank you, Obadiah.

Now, I know that Obie, here, didn’t take his quill and say, “We’ll put this one in for Clairmont. She’s gonna be on American Airlines.” (Laughter) I mean, I … I know that’s not the way that it was. But this is what I also know, that this is the living, life-changing, and lasting Word of God. And He is able to bring it alive within your inner man for the purpose of your development. And I know this day that this brought me great comfort. One lady after sharing this story, came up to me and she said, “Oh, mine reads differently. Where yours says, ‘From there I will bring you down, declares the Lord,’” she said, “Mine says, ‘I will plummet you to the earth.’” (Extended Laughter)

You see, He even knows what version we should be reading.(Laughter) One plummet and it would’ve been all over. We need to learn how to saturate ourselves in the Word of God. My Aunt Pearl, who is from Kentucky, she’s taught me a lot of things. She’s a fun and wild and crazy kind of woman. And that probably surprises you coming from my family. (Laughter) And I remember her saying to me once, “Chile’, thereain’t nothin’ worse than a whoopin’ from the Lord.” And I remembered asking her, “A what?” (Laughter) She said, “You don’t know what a whoopin’ is, chile?”

She said, I was at this here hospital,” she said, “a visitin’ a friend.” And she said, “I was standin’ in the hallway and they come a bringin’ a woman down the hall rollin’ a gurney.” [She] said, “The Spirit of the Lord said to me, ‘Take that woman’s hand.’” She said, “I said, ‘Lord! I can’t take that woman’s hand. I don’t know that woman.’” [She] said, “The Spirit of the Lord said, ‘Take that woman’s hand.’” She said, “I said, ‘Lord, Lord, they be lockin’ me away in one of these rooms, I be takin’ her hand.’” (Laughter)

She said, “I just argued in my heart with the Lord.” [She] said, “About that time, that woman went by and for one moment their eyes met and then she was gone down that long hall and through those double doors. Word came out a short time later that, that woman had died. And my Aunt Pearl looked at me with tears in her eyes and she said, “I realized that the Lord had given me the opportunity to be the last person on this earth to touch her with His love and I refused to respond.” She said, “Oh, child, there ain’t nothin’ worse than a whoopin’ from the Lord.” She said, “Now when the Spirit of the Lord says to me, ‘Take that woman’s hand,’” she said, “I take her hand, her arm, her neck. (Laughter) I hug her, ’cause I don’t want no more whoopin’s from the Lord.” (Laughter)

Well, I went to Scripture and I found it there as I was saturating myself in the Word of God in Hebrews. It says, “He whoops … He disciplines us, depending on your version. He disciplines us that we might share in His holiness.” It’s the 12th chapter of Hebrews, about the 10th verse. He disciplines us that we might share in His holiness. We are needy people, but we have a great and a wonderful God Who is a “need-meeter,” and that’sHis delight.


John: What a powerful reminder as we come to the end of a two-part presentation from beloved author and speaker, Patsy Clairmont on today’s “Focus on the Family.”

Jim: John, as we’ve said, this presentation from Patsy is one of our most popular programs of all time and I think the important point that we need to underscore is this. Is Jesus Lord of your life? Is He Lord of all areas of your life and when you can answer yes to that question or those two questions, you’ll be able to act boldly when God prompts you to reach out to others and you’ll find more confidence to overcome all sorts of fears that most of us encounter in this life.

John, this is such a redemptive message. I’d like to offer the CD of Patsy’s complete talk for a donation of any amount today. If you can’t afford it, call us. We’ll get it into your hands. Get a copy for yourself or a friend or a family member and help Focus on the Family continue reaching out to folks who need help like Patsy did each and every day.

If you’d like prayer, maybe you need to talk through a problem. Please give us a call. We have caring Christian counselors who are here for you.

John: Yeah, they’re a really great group of professionals and you’ll be matched up with someone who has expertise in your area of concern. Just call 800-A-FAMILY; 800-232-6459 or click on the Christian Counselor’s link at And by the way, sometimes due to volume, we’ve got to take your name and number, but when that happens, they’ll call you back just as soon as they can.

Well, have a great weekend and be sure to be back with us on Monday, as we commemorate Memorial Day. We’ll share stories of your loved ones who made the ultimate sacrifice.


Man: Mickey, Bruno and Uncle Mikey went MIA. Bruno came back in a body bag and Uncle Mikey was never found. They gave their lives for this country.

End of Excerpt

John: That’s next time on “Focus on the Family” and thanks for listening today. I’m John Fuller. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, we’ll invite you back next time as we once again, help you and your family thrive in Christ.

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