The clay that molds our lives

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 2, 2004

From the heart with Ronnie Michel

I’m concerned about my nine-year-old daughter, Victoria. She has never been in a store without finding something that she ‘needs.’ Her older sister, Monique, says that Victoria has a gift and that we should embrace it. Her father says that Victoria should just stay out of the stores. Since that isn’t always possible, I have learned to just say no. It doesn’t matter that she’s the youngest child. It doesn’t matter that she was born after I was healed of cancer. It doesn’t even matter that she says I’ll be old by the time she’s married. “Don’t worry, Victoria, “I replied in an attempt to console her, “I’ll probably be old by the time Monique is married too.”

Of all the things that Victoria has wanted, or should I say, ‘needed,’ she really surprised my by asking to buy a pottery wheel. I was more surprised when I actually bought the thing, but, hey, I’m all for creativity.

Once home, Victoria and I began the pottery process. We set up the equipment and spoke of the beautiful bowls and vases that we would create. I quickly read the instructions, place the lump of clay on the wheel, and Victoria pressed the pedal which caused the wheel to spin. What happened next was not a pretty sight. The clay just wobbled around on the wheel as we struggled to keep our hands on it. I decided to read the instructions again. This time I made note of the first rule of pottery: keep the clay on the center of the wheel. We very carefully set the clay in the center, firmly placed our hands on it and started turning the wheel. As the wheel twirled around, the constant, gentle pressure of our hands caused an object to take shape before our very eyes. Applying more pressure in certain areas created interesting indentations. In fact, had no pressure been applied to the clay, it would have remained just a gray lump.

As I watched our art take form, I was reminded of Isaiah 64:8, “And yet, Lord, you are our father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.” I thought of all of the times that I did not stay in the center of God’s will. When He is not the center of all that I do, as the wheels of the world start spinning, I start wobbling. On the other hand, when I am right there in the center if His will for my life, no matter how fast things try to spin me around, I won’t move from my center. Then, as He allows the pressure to come, my yielding to His grace causes me to be molded into the person that He desires for me to become. As much as I don’t like it, without gentle pressure, I would remain unchanged.

As this New Year begins, I pray that we all remain centered, flexible and changed to what our Heavenly Father desires for us to become.