Paul's Passing Thoughts

Susan Dohse: The History of Our Potter’s House

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on October 11, 2012

Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words.  Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels.  And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. And then the word of the Lord came to me saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?  Saith the Lord, Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.  Jeremiah 18:2-6

As some of you loyal blog readers have noticed, my husband, Paul, has been posting our family Bible studies on his blog under the sidebar icon Potter’s House.  Many of you do not know my/our history and I thought I would take this opportunity to give you a short history lesson.

My beloved Paul is a gift from God, sent to our family to help us, heal us, and keep us spiritually healthy.  My first marriage to Wayne, the father of my three sons, Tim, Ben, and Philip, lasted 36 years.  Wayne passed away three years ago on December 17th due to health complications that were directly related to his alcoholism.  Those 36 years were marked by good times, and not so good times.  I married Wayne in 1973, and our intent was that we would go into full time Christian service.  He was a Pre-Seminary student, and I was an Education major at Cedarville College, now University.  During our three year engagement, Wayne was drafted into the Army, sent to serve as a Military Policeman in South Korea, and was introduced to the world of drugs and alcohol.   These choices were kept secret from me because Wayne knew I would not marry him with these life-style choices.  He kept his double life a secret from me for the first five years of our marriage; and I facilitated this by my naiveté, denial, easy believe-ism, and later willingness to keep his secret my secret.

Over the course of 30 years, I kept his double-life from the church and the Christian world of which I was a part.  It was an embarrassment to me, and I wanted/needed to keep my job teaching at the Christian School.  Those last years before his death, when our pastor knew about his struggles and what his choices were doing to our family, were horrific years!  No spiritual help, no godly counsel, no mentoring my sons to help them in their struggles to respect their father, and deal with their anger issues.  Hindsight being 20/20, I should have continued to keep the philosophy:  No one should know what goes on behind closed doors.

Thousands of dollars were lost in the purchase of drugs and alcohol, in court costs and lawyer fees. Wayne’s goal was to discover the ‘perfect high’. By God’s grace and mercy he did not self-destruct.  In 1998, the police and the court system put a halt to his pursuit and locked him in the Greene County Jail with an 18 month sentence and a $25,000 cash bond.  It was there in the “glass house” that Wayne allowed God to work in his heart and life.  Sobriety and a desire to help others caught up in addictions replaced his former goals.

At the New Year’s Eve service in 1999, our church made a specific prayer request concerning the selling of the old Calvary Baptist Church.  I turned to Wayne and said,  “Wouldn’t it be something if we had the money to move into the old church. I would finally have room for all my teaching stuff.”  At the end of the service Wayne asked the pastor for the key so we could look around.

We purchased the old Calvary Baptist Church, invested the money we borrowed from Fannie Mae to remodel it and I named it the “Potter’s House.”  The passage in Jeremiah 18 seemed appropriate—go down to the potter’s house and behold the potter working at his wheels.   The marred vessel he made again to another vessel, one that seemed good to the potter.  Wayne held weekly Bible Studies with men struggling with addictions following the Right Start Right Step Program. Hopeless people were calling the church hearing about the help they could get, and the church had no idea what to do. Wayne was there to offer the church ideas and wisdom on how to help and counsel addicts.  Wayne stayed sober for two years.  I thought hope had returned to our family, but only grim reality moved back in.  He secretly and silently began drinking again.  Can you imagine my heartbreak when Ben, then 12 years old, brought me a six pack of beer he had found hidden in the basement and with tears said, “Mommy, I knew it was too good to be true.”

Wayne gave his family three reasons for returning to drinking.  They were: 1) He wanted to see if AA was right—you pick up where you left off. 2) It’s all right for Christians to drink as long as you don’t get drunk. And 3) He returned to drinking (and the other addictions) because I was not the wife to him that I should have been. He lost his Bible Study, was placed on church discipline, stopped going to church there, and increased his drinking to dangerous amounts.  Over the course of the 6 years before his death, he lost three very good jobs directly related to his alcoholism, medicated his failing health with more alcohol, and developed congestive heart failure, diabetes, cellulitis, and kidney issues.  His doctors implored him to stop drinking, his family begged him with tears to stop, but he chose to ignore all the request, warnings, and pleas.  He died at home, at the Potter’s House, as a result of a diabetic coma and heart failure.  Wayne went down to the Potter’s house, but tried to tell the Potter how to shape the clay instead of being malleable in the Potter’s hands.

Our Heavenly Father brought Paul into our lives June 23, 2010. Through Paul’s love, prayers, and gentle use of God’s Word, he co-labored with the Master Potter to reshape the marred pots that lived at 58 West Harbine Avenue. The house, now a home, has returned to its original intent—a home where we co-labor with the Potter to reshape lives to be vessels of honor and of use in the kingdom, beginning with our family.

So, go down to the potter’s house, and let the Master Potter cause you to hear His words.  Join us as we study the book of Romans.

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7 Responses

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  1. paulspassingthoughts said, on October 11, 2012 at 4:49 PM

    Reblogged this on Clearcreek Chapel Watch.


  2. Jennifer Darr said, on October 11, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Susan, thank you for sharing your testimony. May the Potter’s House always be filled with love, joy, peace, hope, and the reading and preaching of God’s Word.


  3. Bridget said, on October 12, 2012 at 1:38 AM

    Susan, thank you for sharing some of your story. I know it must be difficult to think about the hard parts. I pray that the Lord will restore the years beyond what you can even think. It sounds like he is already at work 🙂


  4. Susan Dohse said, on October 12, 2012 at 2:18 PM

    Thank you for your kind words. It was not easy to share this part of my testimony. There are still hurting and tender places in my heart and retelling even a portion of the past is not easy. With my dear Paul’s help the Potter’s House will be filled with love, joy, peace, hope, and the reading and preaching of God’s Word.


  5. Susan Dophse said, on October 12, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Bridget,thank you for commenting. We have a good and wonderful God who does not give His children stones or scorpians when they ask for bread. He has given us the bread of life, the Lord Jesus, and feeds us daily from His word. I did not know the depth of love that a woman could have for a man until the Lord gave me Paul. God is in the restoration business.


  6. said, on October 12, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Susan, I echo my friends in thanking you for your testimony. I cringed when I read the part where your sons got no support from the church. Oh m,y we will have so much to answer for one day. May we learn from these experiences so we can minister to those who are hurting in the Body. May we BE the real Body of Christ for others. All I can say is that we have to learn the hard way sometimes what is the Body and what is not.

    I praise God for His faithfulness to you. His Mercies are new every morning.


  7. Susan Dohse said, on October 12, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    The church family is often ignorant of how to serve one other. Warm fuzzies replace edification, cliches are given instead of biblical counsel, and the victims are disciplined along side the unrepentant family member. I have been guilty of not being the hands and arms of Christ as well. However, because of living through and surviving the painful marriage God given me the responsibility to help/teach others who are in similar circumstances. Living, surviving, teaching—all different levels of difficulty. Thanks for your encouraging remarks. Susan


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