In art class, painting and drawing gave me great satisfaction. When I arrived one morning, I heard my teacher’s words, “Today, we are going to learn the potter’s wheel.” I felt anticipation well up inside of me. With confidence, I got up to take my turn at the wheel and sat balanced on the small seat. I felt the weight of my classmates curious eyes as I pressed the heavy pedal under my foot. Butterflies danced within my stomach. The spinning clay was cold under my hands, slippery, and wet from the constant addition of water. If I added too much, the clay would spread out and not take any form. Too little, and the clay would become dry, stiff, and inflexible. My thoughts wrestled inside of my head. As an inexperienced potter I peered down at my clay which was in the form of a pancake, tunneled down the center. I envisioned what this lump would become as the wheel began to spin. While adding water, I lifted, guided, stretched, and molded the clay. With eyes widening I watched the elongating pancake rise in an upward motion. My stomach dropped, suddenly felt a weakening form rising under my hands. Heat rose to my face, I wasn’t so confident before my peers anymore. Before I had a chance to compensate for my mistake, the clay wobbled, whirled, and flung with pieces of clay flying farther than I knew was possible. Panic and self-consciousness swept over my body. In my embarrassment, I felt something shatter inside of me.
Master Potter I wasn’t.
Over 38 years ago, God looked at me, His formless clay and envisioned who I would become. When I reflect on my childhood thoughts though, I used to think that God was too distant or hands off to care about me. So many times in life, I’ve honestly felt like giving up. It was when I was at a place of brokenness that I realized that God wants to jump into my life and get His hands dirty. Being my Potter, He faithfully commits to never leave the work that He began. Those over-sized messy hands are now deeply enveloped into my life–transforming, stretching, correcting, lifting, and preparing me for kiln kinds of days and seasons, just so I might become something useful.