A Lesson Straight From the Ceramics Studio

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My fingers glide over the clay like gray silk. The silver wheel spins unendingly, glistening with the slightest bit of water. I dip the clay covered sponge in my bucket of muddy water and squeeze the remainder like a waterfall over the mountain of deformed clay.  I begin to compress the stubborn mound into a cylinder. From this I am free to create what I choose. A tall vase. A set of soup bowls. A graceful pitcher. A coffee mug.

Last semester, I began taking Ceramics as an elective.

Every time I sit down at the wheel I promise myself that I won’t get clay anywhere but my hands. Epic failure. I manage to get completely immersed in the art that I don’t even notice my arms or  shirt flecked in gray clay spots until my friends kindly say,

“Uhh Kate. You’ve got a little…” and proceed remove dried clay streaks in my dark hair or a smidge off my face (hey, who said wet clay couldn’t become the next concealer makeup?)

There’s something about Ceramics that reminds me about the heart of our Father. It shocks and amazes me that He can take me, a mound of stubborn, misshapen clay and mold me into something more beautiful than I could ever imagine on my own.

Today, I see the Church slowly adopting worldly messages into songs, Bible stories and sermons. They give the impression that we are made stronger by our own strength. That we are free to be ourselves because we are awesome. They tack God onto the end of the acknowledgements section almost as an afterthought when really He is the breath in our story; He shapes us, molds us.

Sometimes I fail to trust God. I fail to trust Him that He will make an ugly mound of clay like me into a beautiful piece. I’m afraid that He is not a skilled artisan that can make me whole again.

He is my perfect potter. 

I can say with complete confidence that my time as a ceramicist is a little frustrating at times.

When my pieces come out of the kiln, I don’t know what they’ll look like or if they survived the heat of 2000 degrees while it was firing. Sometimes I’ll get pieces cracked. Exploded. Shattered to millions of bits. It’s not perfect and sadly, I have to throw it away now that it’s useless.

But isn’t it amazing that no matter how broken, cracked or exploded I am, He uses me in innumerable, beautiful ways?

Nothing is an accident. The Father knows exactly what He’s doing.

Our value is not manufactured by our successes or failures.

Do you know why the Redemption Story is so breath-takingly beautiful? It’s because it’s the story of our Maker who knew how deeply we were in sin, we were dead into it. But He was mocked, spit on, tortured and died an excruciatingly horrible death for us. Not because we were good or deserved someone to save us.

The Redemption Story isn’t about us. It’s about our perfect potter who knows the depth of our brokenness and says “I will make you beautiful.”

Rebelutionaries, we do not change ourselves, or make ourselves better or stronger. We are valuable because of the One who made us, not because of anything we’ve done for ourselves.

Allow yourself to be shaped by the Father. Is He asking you to get out of your comfort zone? Love other people? Submit that Chemistry Exam into His hands? Accept failure with grace? Talk to Him about it and pursue His heart. Trust in the Father who never makes mistakes. Fall in love with the God that Jesus knows.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.”

~2nd Corinthians 4:7-10

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