Now, I enjoy going to a pottery gallery with my mother. The shapes, colors, and patterns pull me in so easily. She has bought several pieces for me. Maybe she knew that one day I would appreciate them. Of course she did.
Each piece is a unique, carefully shaped piece of art. I’ve never tried sitting at the wheel with a lump of clay, but I’m fairly certain that I could not create a pitcher like the one that sits on our mantel. Mine would resemble the pottery my children bring home from elementary school.
I met Hot Pastor at a Christian retreat. I will never forget the last morning of the retreat, we sat together and watched a potter form art with his hands as he spoke to us about our heavenly father, The Potter. I was super intrigued (fighting distraction as I sat beside a total hunk) by what would take shape as the wheel turned.
It was a big mess at the beginning, grey and ugly. The potter sat calmly, confidently, talking to us as he worked. He shaped and smoothed, creating something beautiful from a lump of earth. Skill and passion. Honestly, I can not remember what shape it took on, pitcher or bowl. I do remember that once he finished, we were all give a small lump of clay to remind us of the parable about the potter and the clay, wisdom that God has had to teach me over and over. Thankful for a patient Potter.
I am learning to submit to the potter’s hand, to allow him to shape, form, and smooth. He is the ultimate artist, creator of all beauty. I am like a little child with play dough, rolling out a snake or a bird nest. He had a shape in mind for me before he threw my clay on the wheel. My purpose remains clear in his mind as unwanted pieces of clay are removed. Like all pottery, there is firing involved, glaze chosen and applied. The potter smiles as he thinks of how I would be used.
I am his art. His design with his purpose formed into me. His fingers doing the work and his signature to show that I am his. Yet, I somehow fight be be something else. I’m a pitcher, but try to be a plate. I whine and complain how life as a plate would be better. My color is not quiet what I want it to be. My glaze isn’t shiny enough, and there is a blemish on one side, so I hide it. I tell myself that plates are more useful and appreciated.
As I admire the pottery on our mantel, I am reminded that each is unique. The plates from my mother are a set, yet each one individually formed. If you look closely you can see a unique brush stroke of paint, or a slight difference in the feel of the clay, even a blemish. I have never tried to use a plate to pour tea from or served dinner to my kids in one of the pitchers. That would be ridiculous. Right?
The Potter sees me as his masterpiece, shaped and designed by his own hands for a beautiful purpose. Even the blemishes are part of his perfect art in me. Whether I am the comfortable mug or a platter for special occasions, I am His. In those moments when I surrender to his shaping and firing, trusting his design and purpose, he is glorified. When I try to be something else, fulfill a plan never created for me, when I hide the blemish that is me, when I seek admiration for myself, frustration and emptiness grow.
I am not a plate out of a boxed set in a retail store, produced by machines, easily replaced. I am the art of the Potter, unique and designed for his purposes. Peace comes when I submit to His hands and heart, when I let his art be his. I can trust him.
Yet, you LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter, we are all the work of your hand.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well.