Foundation

I’m not sure what gave me the idea of working with clay. “Wouldn’t it be fun to get my hands all grimy and sculpt something?” I thought one day last week out of the blue. But, there was a problem. I don’t have access to a kiln and didn’t want to work with some playdough-like substance. I wanted the earthy, real stuff. Since I live in the land of anything-you-can-imagine-cheaply-available-online-and-shipped-to-your-door-in-less-than-a-week, I clicked opened my browser and began the search. I found air dry clay. Perfect. Then, I found some air dry clay that came with a kids’ battery-powered pottery wheel, little plastic tools and paint for less than $10. Even better. Into the virtual shopping cart it went.

My highly anticipated package arrived last Tuesday and I invited a friend over to experiment with me (there were two packs of clay inside). Honestly, the process didn’t start out as idyllically as I expected. The pottery wheel was noisy and wasn’t strong enough to take a lot of shaping. I decided to sculpt with my hands instead. But, the clay was incredibly sticky, clumping on my fingers and refusing to stay on my envisioned masterpiece! Water made it smoother, of course, but weighed it down. It was impossible to make anything tall or narrow. It is entirely possible that this wasn’t the fault of the clay (as cheap as it was) as much as it was my own ignorance and inexperience. Truth be told, I hadn’t touched clay since middle school and was completely oblivious!

I finally managed to make a bowl-like structure and propped the sides up on little dishes so it would dry in a shape closer to what I wanted.

I discovered that air dry clay (at least this kind) takes several days to completely dry. On day two, it was the perfect consistency. It was firm enough to hold its shape and soft enough to carve. Again, I am less than a beginner when it comes to clay, including the presence of proper sculpting tools in my house. When I discovered I could redeem this brown, lumpy bowl with a little scraping and careful cutting away, I gathered my tools—toothpick, cotton swab, mini dumpling spatula and a toothbrush. I was amazed at how well they worked!

The process of holding the piece in my hands and carving ridges and curves with my makeshift tools was really fun! The tool work had to be done slowly because digging too deep or too quickly would cause large chunks to fall away. The toothpick was actually perfect for this, both digging out ridges with the point and scraping gently with the side. I brushed away the dust with the toothbrush and smoothed with the cotton swab dipped in water. I held the bowl quite near my face as I worked, so I could clearly see the effect of my tools and movements. One side then the other. Deeper, smoother, rounder. Little by little, the bowl began to look as I originally imagined it to be.

I thought of God making Adam as I worked. I knew that God’s choice to make man with His hands rather than speak him into being was special, but I never understood how special until I carved my bowl. It is a very intimate process. Held in His hands, near His face, Him working with careful, precise, love- and expectation-filled movements, slowly giving form and shape. There is a heart connection that happens that I can’t quite explain. Until it’s finally complete. And it is proclaimed good.

I chose this shape as a reminder to myself. God spoke to me very deeply over the past few months—months that were riddled with change and unknown and unrest. I felt as if all that I was standing on crumbled beneath my feet and I was sinking in the rubble without anything secure to grasp. I did an image search online as I sought a tangible visual for this picture in my mind. As soon as I saw this photo (photo source: https://tourash.deviantart.com/art/In-Gods-Hands-124139067 ), something deep in me knew immediately that it was God’s voice, in the form of visual art, to my heart.

Home2

In the photo, there are no barriers, no boundaries, save the God-like hands, stained with earth, cupping a small pile of dirt. On top is a grass-covered knoll with a cozy little house and a bonsai-like tree. The hands were the foundation and they felt so careful, so purposeful, so personal, so caring, so protective, so safe. “Home” was the word that immediately came to mind. This was how life was meant to be.

As I allowed God to speak to me through this picture and His Word, peace replaced the feelings of sinking and unrest. And, I began to experience the picture He gave me as I settled a little bit deeper into His capable hands, my Foundation.

A few days ago, while jogging on the treadmill, the following song came up in my playlist. I had heard it many times before, but this time, the words came alive and rung true. My firm foundation that brings comfort, peace and confidence in any and every situation, is in the arms of Jesus, my King.

Firm Foundation

Aaron Shust, from the album Morning Rises, 2013

Oh I have found a rock where I can stand
When every other ground is sinking sand
Oh I have found the truth that breaks the dark
And love that mends a broken shattered heart

Oh how firm a foundation
What a comfort and peace
I am found in the arms of
Jesus Christ my King

Thought fiery trials in my pathway lie
His all sufficient grace is my supply
And though sorrow and trouble ’round me rage
He will be my refuge in the flame

Oh how firm a foundation
What comfort and peace
I am found in the arms of
Jesus

Oh how firm a foundation
What confidence He brings
I am found in the arms of
Jesus Christ my King

Fear not He is with us
Oh be not dismayed
Fear not He is with us
Oh be not dismayed

Oh how firm a foundation
What comfort and peace
I am found in the arms of
Jesus

Oh how firm a foundation
What confidence He brings
I am found in the arms of
Jesus Christ my King

(Lyric video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTtyY-HzPWs)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s