Are You Moldable?

By: Marcy Barthelette

We are like clay, and you are the potter; your hands made us all. Isaiah 64:8

Over the years, I have collected many ceramic pieces that add beauty to our home. Whenever we visit a flea market, I stroll the aisles searching for something that strikes me as different from those I have and in a color that will blend with our décor. The pieces often seem to choose me. However, I’ve needed to become quite selective as my collection had outgrown the shelf space needed to use them artfully and efficiently. My pieces aren’t worth much—they just appeal to my personal taste.

My plants live in pots shaped in many ways—some are tall and cylindrical while others are short with a wide mouth. They come in shades of green, brown, jade, off-white, and deep rich orange, even a touch of dark burgundy, all earthy in their appearance. I have several that nearly form a ball with very small openings at their tops while others are rather flat in nature making them excellent candidates for narrow shelves. By placing them artfully, they enhance the lovely counted cross-stitch pieces that Ken has so expertly crafted as well as my pen and Ink drawings. They even nestle amid some of Ken’s lovingly restored antique tools.

Like the majority of today’s pottery pieces, my pots and vases are all machine-made and mass-produced, but creating genuine hand-crafted ceramic pottery is an ancient artform that probably had its origins in the Far East, Middle East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Wherever and whenever they’re made the pieces start as an unassuming lump of clay which is then shaped into the desired vessel and heated in a hot fire, 600-1600°C. This can be accomplished in a bonfire, pit or kiln. The extreme heat changes the properties of the clay, making it stronger and more rigid. While early pottery was principally functional, ceramic work has evolved into a fine art category.

But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay

again and started over. Jeremiah 18:4 (if this scripture gave you pause as it did my husband,

grab your Bible and read verses 1-10 of Jeremiah 18 or read the whole chapter to put it in context.)

Pots or other utensils may be built completely by hand or thrown on a wheel. Potters have always been a source of curiosity to me. I’ve watched a friend of ours and other potters throw an object that doesn’t meet their specific standard against a wall, retrieve it and start over. The clay is very forgiving and is an excellent format to implement the old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!” There was a time when I thought destroying a piece of pottery was a terrible waste. But as a pen and ink artist, I quickly learned that it is important that the piece, whatever it may be, has just the right form and style as seen through the artist’s eyes.

Clay as an artform, sculpture of the human body, lifeless without the touch of God.   

And, of course, that brings me to another crossroad of thinking. God made us in His Image. He is the potter. He holds us in his hands and sculpts every feature to his exact specifications. Imagine being held in the loving hands of God throughout your own personal creation. He sculpted a face that was lovely to His eyes. He shaped a body that was in every way perfect to Him. He placed us inside a warm incubator and let us rest there until it was time for us to be born into this wonderful world He also created.

Sometimes, He adds something to our body that we would choose not to have or He may leave out an organ considered necessary, but when we learn that in His love He sees us as perfect, we can turn that perceived defect into good. It can bring us closer to the Father.

That’s why God never completely removed whatever it was that Paul called his “thorn of my flesh”

(Corinthians 12:7). It kept Paul humble and leaning every day on the grace of God. Bear Grylls, Soul Fuel

Whatever our perceived flaws, God sees past them and into our hearts. If God was able to create us, He is also able to change us, retrieve us from a life poorly chosen, forgive us for bringing tears to His eyes by our behavior. We are like the jar that the potter mashes back into a lump of clay. God can rework the clay and take us back to the perfect creation we were when His own hand placed us in our mother’s womb.

Let Him mold you and make you into the person He sees as perfect…the perfect YOU!

The Creator had created, not a creature but another creator. And the one who had chosen love had created

one who could love in return. Max Lucado, Eye of the Storm

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