Do you like play dough? I do. I love both the feel AND the smell of it! Yep. I’m a hands-on kinda’ girl. From finger painting to cookie dough rolling, I love forming things by hand. Guess what’s super cool? God does too! Our verse today paints a vivid picture of God as our “hands on” Creator.
“O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay. You are the Potter; we are the work of Your hand.” (Isaiah 64:8)
In Genesis 2:7 we read, “The Lord God formed man from the dirt (clay) and breathed into him the breath of life…” The Hebrew word formed in this verse is the same word used for Potter, “the one who forms.”
God’s work as our Potter began at creation and continues today. From the beginning to the end of the Bible, God weaves the beautiful theme of us being His clay works of art—His clay pots. Why? Because every step in the pottery process is a powerful picture of His design for our lives.
His Pottery Process:
Take a 2-minute creative field trip with me into an art studio. Like the five fingers on each hand, envision these five ‘hands-on” steps using the language of Potter:
Step 1: First, picture the Potter selecting His ball of clay, then “wedging it.” He firmly kneads it with His hands, removing all firm pieces, and forcing out any air bubbles that would prevent the clay from being moldable for His chosen design.
Step 2: Next, see the artist “center” the clay on the spinning potter’s wheel so it can turn full circle. Without the turning of the wheel, transformation is impossible. Without “centering” the clay, it remains unstable and cannot be shaped.
Step 3: Once centered, watch the Potter “pierce the heart” of the clay. This describes the motion of pressing his thumbs deep in the clay since he always begins working on the inside of the vessel first. See the Potter repeatedly add water to keep the clay moist so he can shape it both inside and out. When clay stays moldable, they say happily that it stays “surrendered” to the Potter.
Step 4: Once the Potter forms the clay into the desired shape, see him begin to “fashion” it by using sharp tools to carve out patterns designed to make it uniquely beautiful.
Step 5: Finally formed and fashioned, notice the Potter very carefully take his fragile clay work of art and place it in a very hot kiln oven. Later, when the Potter removes the vessel from the kiln and allows it to cool, you see and feel that the clay pot is now stronger and its colors are bolder and brighter! It is now ready to be used for the Potters designed purpose.
Wow! Do you see yourself as the clay and God as your Potter? He first chose you, then wedges out your sin when you place your entire life by faith in the nail-pierced hands of Jesus. Your turning from sin to your Savior is called repentance. Once you turn to Christ, you must keep your life centered in Him to stay stable and balanced. When God pierces your heart, He begins working from the inside out to transform your heart and mind. Through surrendering to your Potter, God forms and fashions you uniquely for His designed purpose. As His new creation (His greenware), you are fragile, but the Potter knows just how much time in the fire you need to become strong and bold for Him.
His Clay Pots
In Bible times, people didn’t have plastic, cardboard, or metal. Jars of clay were the containers used to hold everything. Most held common things like water, oil, flour etc. but some were used to hold their most valuable treasures!
On the outside, jars of clay are usually plain ordinary, inexpensive, and breakable. I can relate to that. Don’t you feel plain and ordinary sometimes too? Many days I feel not only like a plain clay pot—I feel like a cracked pot! My imperfections can chip away at my inner confidence. But our Potter wants us as His works of art to be filled everyday with the powerful truth He wove into a passage toward the end of the Bible in 2 Corinthians 4:6-7.
“God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness has made his light shine in our hearts…so we have this treasure in fragile jars of clay to show that this extra-ordinary power is from God and not from us.”
We may look like fragile clay pots on the outside, but when we ask Jesus (the Light of the World) into our hearts, we become EXTRA-ordinary vessels because of His Treasure inside us!
Confident Cracked Pots
So, our Potter designed and desires us to live as confident clay pots (His Treasure holders) by remembering that our value is determined by what we hold inside us (Jesus)!
Our Potter also desires us to live as His confident clay pots knowing that He specializes in shining—-especially through our cracks.
Picture this. If you could pour light into a cracked pot and place your hand over the top, where would the light be seen? In the cracks, right? In the same way, God’s extra-ordinary power shines even brighter through our weaknesses and flaws—and the cracks we acquire in this broken world.
Clay pots are so popular for planting because they do not compete with the beauty of the flowers planted and growing inside. Likewise, sisters, let’s live today as confident clay pots formed “hands-on” by our Divine Potter to give all glory to the One who is growing and glowing inside us—even “when life cracks us up!”
In the Potter’s hands,
Kim Wigginton & the Heart of Womanhood Ministry Team
If you want to share this Heart of Womanhood Devotional with your daughter or granddaughter in a special “bonding time” over the holidays, here are some “hands on” ways to enjoy it together:
Take turns reading the paragraphs of this blog. Then enjoy some creative fun by either:
Making Mimi’s favorite homemade play dough recipe (see below) OR decorating clay pots by painting the 2 Corinthians 4:7 verse on them. Then use your clay works of art in your house to hold either a plant or some of your “treasures!” (You can even fill it with something fun like candy or coffee beans that will hold a candle inside the pot!) Your clay pot project will be a great daily reminder of your extra-ordinary life purpose given by your Divine Potter.
Remember: Clay is simply dirt in the most hands. But clay is ART in God’s hands.
As you create together, here are some HeART to HeART questions you can share plus a classic Hymn to listen to online.
- Do you like play dough? Do you like creative “hands on” projects? Explain.
- What parts of the pottery process are most interesting to you? (Maybe you can schedule a mom-daughter date to a pottery studio!)
- Has there ever been a “turning point” when you surrendered your life to Jesus and “centered” your life in His nail-pierced hands? If yes, describe it.
- How moldable are you in this season of life? What words would best describe your “clay” right now? (hard, soft, stubborn, bumpy, squishy…etc?)
- Describe any instruments in your life that felt sharp and hurtful but God used to make you uniquely beautiful? In what ways was Jesus pierced sharply for us? How did His marks impart extra-ordinary beauty to us?
- Describe a “hot spot” or “fiery trial” you’ve been in recently. God’s kiln/oven is always set at the perfect temperature to make us stronger and to bring out our brightest “God-colors!”
- In what ways do you feel broken or cracked? Or feel like a mess? The good news is that when we place our lives in God’s hands, we become “HIS mess.” And He specializes in taking our messes and making us into masterpieces that bring Him glory! The Potter’s wheel specializes in turning us around!
- Listen to this Hymn and pray its words to God, your Potter, together:
Have Thine Own Way by Adelaide A. Pollard (Public Domain)
Have Thine own way, Lord. Have Thine own way.
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord. Have Thine own way.
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Filled with Thy Spirit ‘til all shall see
Christ only always, living in me.
Mimi’s Favorite Homemade Play dough Recipe
Ingredients: 2 Cups of Flour, 2 Tbsp of Oil (any kitchen oil will do), 1/2 Cup of Salt, 2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar, 1 1/2 Cup Boiling Water, Gel Food Coloring (Optional)
- Combine flour, salt, and Cream of Tartar in a large bowl
- Add oil
- Pour this mixture into a large saucepan of boiling water and mix until dough is formed. (Be careful since this is very hot!)
- Remove from heat and let cool.
- If you want neutral colored dough, you are done.
- To make several different colors (optional), after dough is cooled, separate it into equal parts and roll into balls.
- Press your thumb in the middle of each ball to make a little bowl for you to pour your gel food dye into.
- Knead each ball separately until the dye is thoroughly mixed. (This can be messy especially if you want bright colors so if you don’t want to stain your hands, use gloves, and make sure to put wax paper down so you don’t stain your counter.
- Add your favorite playdough smells – extracts and essential oils that fit the colors you choose. (optional)
- Store in zip lock plastic bags or plastic containers to keep fresh and soft.
Enjoy creating together.
If you liked this creative lesson, check out many more in our Portraits of Womanhood interactive Bible Studies @ https://heartofwomanhood.org/about/