Monday, October 6, 2014

Clay, Silver or Marble

I would not call myself a creative person.  I don't have visions of how to put things together.  But give me a picture or directions and I can craft pretty well.  I used to do quite a bit of cross stitch since my mom taught me.  I have a new found love of making rag wreaths.  But I still do have a longing just to be able to put things together with just a vision in my head.

As I've been on this journey, I've known that God is making me into something.  I don't get special treatment because I have cancer.  He does this for everyone.  He says that He is the potter and we are the clay in Isaiah:

He also talks about refining us like silver in Zechariah:

Because I was curious, I wondered about how long they would take. I found some interesting information.
  • In Bible times, after clay was extracted from the ground the impurities, like stones and sticks, were removed and then the clay was prepared by the potters assistant using his feet to soften the clay. After the pots were formed, they would dry for several days to make them leather hard. Only then were they put in the kiln and baked for several hours. 
  • Today the process of making a pot takes at least 3 1/2 weeks with all conditions being just right.
  • In Bible times silver was refined by putting it in fire to get out impurities.  It needed to be watched and would have a mirror-like quality when it was ready to be poured.  It also needed to be watched so it wouldn't overheat and make in unworkable.
  • The above information helps to clarify the story that has traveled the internet about how a silversmith know when silver is ready to use. 
God has definitely been molding me and refining me throughout my life. My guess is He has been doing that for you as well.  Yet as I have been dealing with my own spiritual warfare lately, I didn't feel like clay or silver.  I haven't felt like something that is pliable, but rather as something hard, rock hard.

The best way I can describe it is that my heart feels like a huge slab of marble.  I know there is something beautiful and perfect underneath it all, yet it is going to have to be chipped away at slowly and carefully for it's true beauty, it's true purpose, to come out.  And when I researched Michelangelo's "David" and found out it took him almost 3 years to create it, I knew my feelings were correct.

This part of my journey is one of the hardest things I've had to deal with.  My emotions are such that I can be very happy one minute, and two seconds later just deeply saddened.  My head will tell me that God is leading me, showing me my purpose to serve Him, yet my heart is fighting not wanting that to be my purpose.  I look back at my early writings and talk about the perfect peace that God gave me at the beginning.  Here's what I wrote about pottery almost four years ago.

There have been instances for each of us on this pottery path that have hurt us, even pulled us to limits we didn’t think we could get to. But I also know in pottery that the artists are doing this lovingly, even gently. I know that is happening to our family, too. In some ways it excites me to say that our family is God’s pottery project right now. It makes me feel so special and so loved.

This is not where I am right now.  Instead of feeling special and loved, I'm feeling weary wondering if this will ever end.  Instead of feeling a gentle pull or stretch, I feel a hammer and chisel cutting into my soul.  Instead of a short pottery project of 3 1/2 weeks, I feel like I'm a long project of almost 3 years.

I think many going through something like this would feel like giving up hope.  I can say with all confidence that I do not feel this way.  I know God still has a purpose for me and this is part of getting me there.  I know God is taking care of me and sometimes taking care of someone means making them work hard.  I know God loves me and sometimes showing love is allowing them to learn through hard times.

So I lean on this verse, this promise from God:

I was clay before, and now I am marble.  Either way I am still a child of God.  There might be another time in my life that I might feel like silver. No matter what my emotions say or how hard the devil pushes, I will always be a child of God.  And knowing and believing that I can continue on with the strength God gives me every day.