Faithful

Dirty Handsby Rebekah Cook

A few months ago I had a lesson.  It was a life lesson.  It was a pottery lesson.

The potter I was learning from teaches sculpting.  He taught me how to make a clay vase and then a bowl, using fine quality clay, a wheel, and a few small tools.  He patiently demonstrated the entire workflow, talking through each step and explaining the hows and whys.  Then he placed a generous lump of clay in my hand, we switched places around the wheel, and I began applying what I had just witnessed.

The first step, and the most important one, is to center the clay on the wheel. As the wheel began to spin faster and faster my hands pressed hard around the clay, keeping it in the center where the centrifugal and centripetal forces would work for and not against the shaping process.

Once this was accomplished, I carefully dug my thumb into the center to establish the base thickness, adding water as needed to moisten the clay. Balancing with my remaining fingers on the outer edge, I slowly drew my thumb toward the side, allowing the interior circle to widen.  To create the sides, I crossed my thumbs for better control and gently pulled on either side of the clay wall with my index and middle fingers.  The whirling wheel made the wall pull up evenly as I pressed and pulled the malleable clay.  Shaping tools aided in refining texture and curve, or scraping excess clay from the base.  From start to finish, this is called “throwing” the clay.

Finally, we slid durable string underneath the vessel in preparation for removing it from the wheel, and used a lifting tool to set it on another table to dry.  When hardened some from air-drying, it would be ready for a last trim of the base and drawing the desired design in the clay before firing it in the kiln.  If glazed, it would go through the fire twice.

On my second throw (first try at the bowl) all was going well until I got part way into the shaping of the walls.  My pinching was not as even as I had hoped, and the instability this caused in the side of the bowl resulted in an implosion.  My instructor wasn’t upset; he explained what had happened, and gave me a new portion of clay to start over with.  The clay I had just mishandled was still usable, he clarified, but would need reworking (pounding, kneading, etc.) before throwing it again.

I was heavily reminded of the scriptures that speak of us being the clay in God’s hands, the Potter’s hands.  I know how often I can get off-center, trying to pinch my own sides into what I think my life should look like.  Alternately, I’ll allow or invite others to mold me into how they think I should be, which inevitably leads to uneven, imploding walls.  It is only by yielding once more to the master Potter’s skill that I can be redeemed and formed into the beauty and usefulness He has destined for me.

This said, we are not promised an easy life, free of pain or hardship or sorrow.  We are called to follow in the footsteps of our Master, who lived in sacrificial service to others, and obedience to the Father, in spite of opposition and offense and accusation.  Jesus spoke regarding the abandonment and torment he would soon face:

“Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.  These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:32-33

The goal of our lives is to be transformed into the image, the shape, of Jesus Christ.  Yielding to this transformation is both glorious and painful.  But God is greater than the pokes and prods, yes, the abuse inflicted on our malleable selves by well-meaning friends, un-meaning strangers, and malicious “clay vandals. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 1:6

What follows are the lyrics to a song I wrote nearly two years ago.  Some of my closest friends are dealing with extremely painful soul wounds right now, and it is to those beloved broken vessels that I dedicate these words.

The Faithful One

In a storm
When the lightning cracks 
And the thunder rumbles
In my storm

When I’m thrown off track 
And my dream has crumbled
I close my eyes and pray


In a storm 

All the windows rattle 
And the roof is shaking
In my storm 

Another fruitless battle
And my heart is breaking
I close my eyes and pray

I pray for strength to make it to another day
That when I blink away the tears
I’ll see God’s colors again

In the rainbow
I see your faithfulness
In the rainbow 

Your promise is true
In the rainbow 

I see your faithfulness
In the rainbow 

Your mercies are new

They’re new every morning…

On a cloudless day
The sun beats down
I’m suffocating
On my hot, cloudless day

I feel I’m going to drown 
While I am waiting
So I lift my hands and pray


On a cloudless day

Becalmed on a sea 
Of expectations
On my hot, cloudless day 

Buried in the debris 
Of my frustrations
I lift my hands and pray

I pray for strength to make it to another day
That when you fill my sails once more
I’ve an anchor for my soul

When the wind blows
I see your faithfulness
When the wind blows 

Your promise is true
When the wind blows

I see Your faithfulness
When the wind blows 

Your mercies are new

They’re new every morning…

In the darkness of night
Lost in a drift 
Of silent grieving
In my darkest night 

Will it ever lift—
This pain I’m weeping?
I bow my head and pray

I pray for strength to make it to another day
That as your arms surround me now
I’ll sense a glimpse of dawn

With the sunrise
I see your faithfulness
With the sunrise 

Your promise is true
With the sunrise

I see your faithfulness
With the sunrise 

Your mercies are new

In the storm, in the heat, in the darkness
Though near you sometimes seem so far away
Yet even in the midst of my intense confusion
Your love breathes hope deep inside of me

That when the rain comes
I’ll see your faithfulness
For in the rainbow

Your promise is so true
When the wind blows

I’ll see your faithfulness
And with each sunrise 

Your mercies are new

Yes, with each sunrise
Your mercies are new
(copyright Rebekah Cook)

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. …Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day.  For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.  ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6-11, 16-18

About the authorRebekah C.

Rebekah Cook is a Christ-follower, actress, singer/song-writer, and wordsmith.  Born overseas and educated at home with her four siblings, she lived in Spain for over nineteen years before moving stateside to pursue her passion for screen acting.  Since 2009 she has worked as both cast and crew for several feature film productions.  Recently she has also had the privilege of helping to train others at various film workshops throughout the country.

Both on and off of film sets, her heartfelt calling is to be an ambassador of Christ.  Rebekah loves being an “adopted” sister and friend to many, and seeks out opportunities to encourage those around her.  Her pastimes include tatting, origami, proofreading, aromatherapy, contra-dancing, blogging, shopping at thrift stores, learning new skills, and giving good hugs.

Visit her blog at kindnessntruth.blogspot.com, and her acting website at www.actressrebekah.com.

2 comments for “Faithful

  1. January 22, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I like how you describe throwing the clay. I wondered if you would get it on your first try. I know that I wouldn’t. It would probably take me weeks. I enjoyed this.

  2. Henky Wijaya
    February 15, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    About “LOVE” from Him, very vast, and i love it, Jesus my Lord, Amen.

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