Let's pickup with our resident pottery expert Cynthia Bonner: "Every piece produced is unique and never exactly the same as the previous ones. All pottery creations are indeed individual creations...The potter shapes the vessel by applying pressure inside and/or outside the walls as he lifts. Remember that with every pressure action there is a reaction in the clay. The walls may move in or out depending on the pressure made by the potter's motion. He may throw a bowl, plate, vase, bottle, or pitcher; he may form a pedestal at the foot of a pot, a belly in the center or a neck at the rim. The pot's shape depends on the clay's capabilities and the potter's skills." (Reflecting Him page 24, emphasis mine).
Now a couple of Scriptures:
New Living Translation (NLT)
"How foolish can you be?
He is the Potter, and he is certainly greater than you, the clay!
Should the created thing say of the one who made it,
“He didn’t make me”?
Does a jar ever say,
“The potter who made me is stupid”?
New Living Translation (NLT)
9 “What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
Does the pot exclaim,
‘How clumsy can you be?’
10 How terrible it would be if a newborn baby said to its father,
‘Why was I born?’
or if it said to its mother,
‘Why did you make me this way?’”
I specifically chose the New Living Translation because one of the questions Carla asks in her study is in regard to the tone of the passages. I felt that the NLT practically answered the question by itself!
When I read the passages that way, I thought of all the times that I complain about myself. About having a difficult life sometimes. About having Myasthenia. About having a trach. About being short even!
And then I think, "Who do I think I am? Who am I to tell the Creator of the Universe, the God that split the Red Sea wide open...the Almighty Himself, who am I to tell him He made me badly?" How selfish!
Do I wish I was 5'9, and thin and healthy? Sometimes. But God's purpose for me is FAR more important that any desire I can have. If this is the condition in which He can use me the best for His glory, then so be it. I am the clay. I am the created, not the Creator.
I must move on to the last step of the pottery process. The fire. Do you remember in elementary school, making something out of clay and putting it in the kiln and just waiting with bated breath to see whose creation blew up? I certainly do. Thankfully it was never mine. Being 30 years ago, it was still socially acceptable to smoke, so lots of us Christian school kids made ashtrays. (Funny now when you look back!)
The firing process changes the entire look of the piece. It goes into the fire still kinda ugly. I mean, it's shaped, it's formed, it's got some color on it, but when you fire it up...THAT'S when the true beauty comes out. The shine. The glow. The radiance.
Carla says, "We must go through some fiery trials so others will see a beautifully finished product with a tag that reads, "Specifically made by the hands of Jesus."" (Reflecting Him page28)
Did you read that? Specifically. Exactly. Precisely. Obviously.
Made. Invented. Prepared. Created.
Friends, do you see? We were all made by a God who cared enough to sit at a potter's wheel and create us individually, uniquely, and perfectly for His purpose. And then, to make us our BEST, He allows us to go through fiery trials.
If it were not for the trial of MG, I would not be where I am in my life. I would not have met some of the most inspiring, amazing people fighting the same disease. I would not have my precious little boy, because I had every intention of adopting and never having my own children. I wouldn't be as strong as I am today. And I wouldn't be as grateful. Not nearly as grateful.
This study is amazing. This is only week ONE of ten. Don't worry, there won't be three posts about each week! This week was just so precious to me...how specific the pottery process really is, and how much time and energy and thought was put into creating only me. I sat on that potter's wheel, in the hands of My Maker. And I PRAY that I will never again resist who I am supposed to be, or complain that I am not something I wish I were. I am my Maker's intended creation. And that is a beautiful thing.