In The Potters Hands
By Mary Spence
Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
Just as the potter shapes and molds the clay, the Lord shapes and molds us. If you know anything about pottery, you know that the first step is finding the clay.
Do you know where the clay is found? In the ground. Covered with dirt and impurities. Much like we are found by the Lord. Buried deep in behaviors and habits that distract us from Him and draw our attention away.
Clay develops when water or steam, and air meet. It is found in most soil, but particularly in the sediment from river beds or ocean bottoms, and where water pools.
Through a process called wet harvesting, both water and soil are added to a bucket. The soil is then stirred into the water and allowed to sit for a brief period to allow the rock, sand, and silt to settle out. The clay remains suspended in the water for longer than these other heavier components that fall to the bottom.
The clay and water mixture is then filtered through a fine cloth or sheet. What’s left after straining is a ball of smooth clay.
This process reminds me of how God separates us from things of the world that are not for us. How he brings out the purest version of ourselves by removing the pieces that are not of Him.
To form the clay into something beautiful and useful you need soft, moist, and pliable clay.
As you work with it, the clay first gets sloppier and wetter, before it begins to form in the potters skillful hands.
Slowly the potter will mold and form His clay and start bringing up the walls. The Potter knows His clay; He knows the direction the clay will want to turn on the wheel. Gently he guides and forms, pausing to reset or redirect the clay in the direction it needs to move to grow. The Potter works the clay patiently, working to avoid pressing too firmly and causing the clay to collapse. Smoothing out the rough places gently but firmly. Slowly you will see something begin to emerge from the mound of clay.
Occasionally the potter stops, letting the clay rest and dry slightly before working it again.
The final drying depends greatly on the climate you live in. It could take up to a week or more to completely dry before it's time to fire the masterpiece in the kiln. Just like when you are working on changing a pattern or behavior in yourself, it takes time to stick. And where you find yourself living each day determines how long it will take.
The firing is where the process becomes final and set. The heat is where the potter will finalize what has been made. The potters creation is revealed. Beautiful and strong. From the hands of the potter with gentle but firm direction, a true labor of love.
Thank you Father, for your patient, loving way with us. We are merely broken and lost lumps of clay, until your gentle touch begins to shape and guide us. Please continue to work in our lives and our families to move and grow, until we can reach our godly potential. You are a good and skillful potter, and we surrender our will and our ways for yours.
Please continue to mold us into the creation you made us to be.
In your precious son's name. Amen.