New Clay

March 4, 2013

Beuautiful things new clayCould all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

"Beautiful Things" by Gungor

My three year old has a child in his class who bit him. He began saying this child was "bad." Captain Hook bad. For many days I gently suggested that perhaps other children weren’t exactly "bad" when they did something to hurt him, perhaps they were just not listening. That perhaps they did not know yet, how to be a good friend, and maybe he could show them. Finally, my words seem to be breaking through and he let me know last night that his classmate wasn’t bad, just didn’t listen to the teacher and he knows they can be friends. The little lump of clay that is his heart is gently shaped a little more like Jesus. How pliable and soft it is, how quick to love and trust and forgive. To believe Jesus loves him. Mommy sings it each night, and right now, my love and his daddy's love make His so. His heart feels safe in God’s hands, because he knows he is safe in our love. He is even willing to pass it on.

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
Isaiah 64:8 (NRSV)

I have always loved the imagery of the potter and the clay. The idea that when we place ourselves in God’s hands he can create art of the muddy mess we make of our lives on our own. I like to imagine myself as pliable in God’s hands, but the truth is I know I resist the process and argue over logistics when faced with any change, even good or obviously needed. Only when all other routes seem cut off do I reluctantly surrender. Clay is just fine dust and water. If solid pieces are left it will not survive the fire that will harden in into a vessel fit for service. In this I envy my son as he finds his shape and form in God’s gentle hands. He does not yet know what it is to be sifted, formed, fired and finally, finally useful only to realize the entire process must begin again when it is clear the now accustomed vessel no longer holds what God is pouring out today. He does not yet know how carelessly the world may one-day treat the most precious things of his heart.

The very finest clay is made with the dust of bones as well as earth. Also quartz and other semi-precious stones might be ground and added to the mix. Because of these ingredients the detail, strength and beauty of this dust, "bone china" is very different than clay pottery. It is also the pottery that was fit for a king's service. Yes, it feels like there is more in my life now than I can possibly hold together or handle. The new vessel God is forming has to hold something other than what I was and it will never reach any degree of completion without surrender. Resistance just causes the process to just go on and on because a tireless Creator cannot help but desire the best for His creation. There are details and complications and revelations that were not part of my journey before. The broken bones of loss and precious stones of lessons learned; things that meant so much at one time must be surrendered to the Potter. It is not just common dust anymore. A refined clay that will survive furnaces that would swiftly eviscerate the soft, sweet clay of my child's heart. In fact, it is because I am now entrusted with that heart that I must be remade.

What is ground down was once useful in its season and the process that made it was difficult. Even so, letting it go is not abandoning the value of what God has done, it is longing for the revelation of what God is going to do so much that the former things fade away. Fade to dust to be used again. All that matters is what God is doing now. “…old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” Children don't resist because they can only look forward. To become is all they know, and perhaps this is why we are to become like them to enter the kingdom.

To become more pliable and soft, even though the places we learned to make hard were valued as strength. To become quick to love even though relationships may only be for a season. To become trusting, even though the answers we think we require may never be seen. To become forgiving, even if letting the hurt go feels like letting evil win. He is the potter. I am the clay. Complex, amazing, miraculous clay. It is enough that Jesus loves me and that I am safe in my Father’s hands.

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 I'm a designer, wife and mother of two.  I post my work and on the places where creativity and life’s clutter intersect. Looking for inspiration and finding balance.  Join me on the journey.

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TwitterRachel4My name is Rachel. Good to meet you. I like caramel coffee, the way patterns of light or color or ideas fit together, and mornings at the ocean. Dislikes include: political ads, conspicuous wealth and mornings in general. Together, my husband Buddy and I are daily challenged and blessed as we raise two children and run one business: By His Designs.

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