I was in a New Testament class in the fall of 2013 at my Alma Mater, Concordia University. My professor had all of us students write a ‘Verse Journal’ for a homework assignment. We had to write two for every book of the Bible: one as words to an unbeliever or encouragement to fellow Christians, the other to give words of counsel to fellow Christians. Needless to say, I rather enjoyed the assignment, and I now have quite the collection of mini devotions.
However, there was something I realized as I was writing them. I do not feel qualified to teach others; I stumble and fall every day. I know that I do not always live the life God has called me to. I am human, and that is why I need a Savior. How could I encourage or ‘instruct’ others? Yet this encouraged me because I realized that others also find they have similar problems in their lives. I mean, if we are honest with ourselves, our lives are pretty messed up. My life would be lost and hopeless without Christ. In writing these verse journals, I had to go through my life with a fine-toothed comb, and it was not pretty.
Midway through that year, I found this verse:
This is the Word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: “Go to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.Jeremiah 18:1-4
I am a clay pot. And I am still being formed on the wheel. Unfortunately, since I am young, stupid, and stubborn, I have become marred. Through bad decisions and bad relationships, I have become marred. Through letting the world control my thoughts and letting negativity get the best of me, I have become marred. Through fear, I am not what I am made to be. However, God has proved faithful once again. He will keep shaping me as it seems best to Him. He will fix the broken places, give them a story to help others, and show that He is bigger than our shortcomings.
If you have ever worked with clay, you will know that it is flimsy, sticky, and messy. If we are clay, I wonder why God puts up with our mess. But He does because He loves us. We are His children! Similarly to pottery, we need water to continue to form. If not, we get dry and brittle. If clay becomes too hard, the potter must smash it and add more water. It hurts to go through trials and get ‘smashed.’ I wonder why I don’t always just let the Water of Life pour over me so I would not have to keep on re-learning the same lessons over and over again.
We are clay in God’s loving hands. He isn’t finished with us yet. I am still growing; I am still learning. I’ll keep on falling, and God will keep having to come back and pick me up. For in truth, I am a child who needs the hand of someone older, wiser, and stronger than I to help me. And who is this but Christ?
I will keep on stumbling, and God will keep working on me. That is part of being a Christian. However, my encouragement to you is this: don’t give up hope. You are in the Potter’s Hands. His Word is given to us so that we continue to drink the Water that gives us Life. These verse journals made me re-evaluate how I was living my life. They showed me how very cracked I had become and how I was holding dust instead of treasure. Perhaps it will do the same with you and pull you closer to Christ. My hope is that you, too, may find encouragement and strength in Christ through what He has taught me.
Made with His Fingerprints,
~Madelyn Rose Craig
Find my Mini Devo’s here.