Kiln Fire

The Potter lights a fire and so it burns,
Till one thousand nine hundred degrees it turns.

The temperature is hot, but it is the only way,
It shall not destroy but rather transform simple clay.

The future outcome of the work never leaves the Potter’s sight,
And so, He continually feeds the flames even through the night.

Though the process to us seems long and slow,
He knows glaze will turn to glass and vessels will glow.

And what emerges from the fire will be what once only the Potter could see,
A beautiful, finished work of art in actuality.


Did you know?

Pottery often has to go through some sort of extreme heat or fire for it to actually be usable. In the case of simple redware pottery, the pieces are heated to about 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. In the days before modern electric kilns, this meant constant monitoring and feeding of the kiln fire for 24-48 hours. Talk about dedication! Sometimes circumstances in life hurt. Sometimes circumstances are just downright hard. Yet God remains through it all. He stays even in the darkest part of the night. He gives peace and strength to endure. He uses these circumstances to make us grow. He uses all things for the good of those who love Him. Sometimes life feels like going through a fire, but God sees us to the end. Thanks be to God.

Read more lesson’s from the Potter’s Wheel here.

A photo of fire in the opening of a brick kiln at night

Tossed at Sea

Tossed by every problem, and every word with its tone,
Anxiety has set deeply into every single bone.
My stomach is seasick, my body is tense,
And my mind is jaded from all this violent turbulence

The waves of circumstance and others’ opinions rage,
And I find myself drowning in fear’s cruel cage.
I cannot hold my pride-fueled façade much longer.
For these waves are many and all of them stronger.

My energy is finite and fading fast,
By my own power alone I cannot last.
I cannot help but fear that I will perish in these waves,
To be buried alive among the watery graves.

Yet in this desperate predicament, I’m learning I’m not alone,
There is One who has been with me for longer than I’ve known.
He is the one who even the wind and waves obey,
Who came to me though I’ve tried to sail away.

To Him, the deep waters are thoroughly charted,
And He knew my life’s journey before it had started.
He is good and His love will never fail,
So here I am now, with a white flag as my sail.

In this storm, like every other, He chooses to stay,
He will not abandon, give up, or betray.
He leads me and helps me navigate the ocean by His grace,
And in time, I forget all about my attempts of saving face.

He sometimes even calls me walk on the waves that should swallow,
To do what I thought was impossible before I began to follow.
He calls me His daughter and tells me I am now free,
I no longer need bow to the whim of the fickle sea,

The sea around still seems so deep and vast,
But only when I take my eyes off of Him who is steadfast.
Storms will still rage and my mind will still sometimes tire,
But He is with me now, no matter what may transpire.

A peace I do not understand descends,
As I grow in the One on whom my soul depends.
Slowly, I know it will set deeply into every single bone,
I will not be tossed by every problem and word with its tone.

Like a Tree

Roots must grow first in the darkness of the earth away from the eye,
Before a seedling sprouts out of the soil and reaches upward towards the sky.

And even when the tree starts to grow above the dirt for all to see,
The roots must keep expanding to support the growing tree.

Not all growth is visible to our incomplete vision,
Nor can all be measured and quantified with scientific precision.

You may not be able to see the steady growth under the dirt and decay,
But in time, you’ll see the proof of it in the light of day.

A tree grows upwards and out and eventually bears fruits,
Which only further proves the growth of those hidden roots.

So we, too, grow in some ways that are invisible
But even slow and hidden growth can lead to something visible.

Like a tree planted by the water is the one who trusts the Lord on high,
With roots growing steadily away from the human eye.

In the heat of the day, its leaves remain green,
Nourished by living water and supported by roots unseen.

In its season, it blooms and bears fruit like He designed it to,
For He was and is faithful to seeds planted and hidden from view.

He saw the result before the process had even begun,
And what He’s promised to do is as good as done.


Like this poem? Check out Growing Still! Keep growing, friends. And remember, God is faithful and will complete what He began.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:6 ESV

His [story]

History repeats itself and even when it doesn’t, it tends to rhyme.
Sometimes I find myself losing hope that it will be different this time.

The journey is a cycle disguised as an upward climb,
And soon I find myself in the same place, just at a different time.

Even poets need a break for a time,
From this scheme of never-ending rhyme.

I’m dizzy from these never-ending circles, I want to walk a straight line,
Yet I feel trapped within this dark labyrinth’s twisted confine.

But maybe there is still more to the story than these cynical words I speak,
Maybe there is still hope when all looks dark and bleak.

The past isn’t written with pencil upon paper, it’s carved in stone.
But to You on the throne, the future is just as well known.

My perspective is distorted, that is for certain.
But the truth is that You are still present here, among the hurting.

How long, oh Lord? How long must I wrestle with sorrow in my heart?
Give light to my eyes, for this night is dark and my heart is ripped apart.

The voices inside and outside of me snide and sneer,
Questioning why it seems You are no longer near.

Still, I’ve seen Your love in action and so I choose to trust,
Your love prevails even here in the thick cloud of pride-blown dust.

You see the beauty of the majestic mountaintop view You are creating,
When I see only the dirt and decay on the ground here in this time of waiting.

You are present and will make all things new,
And someday I will see things from a much higher view.

Now I see in a dim mirror confined by linear timeline,
But even in the darkest night, I see Your love’s sign.

History repeats itself and even when it doesn’t, it tends to rhyme.
Lord, I know You will make it different, in Your due time.

The Sea & We

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 6 who made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, who keeps faith forever;

The sea is His, for He made it,
He knows every molecule within it.
He told the waves how far to go,
And created the creatures that call it home.

The sea is His, deep and vast,
Seemingly endless to us yet a mere drop to Him.
For we are finite but He is infinite.
No part remains uncharted or hidden to Him.

The sea is His, and sometimes He leads us to it,
And He commands even the winds that churn it.
Sometimes He calls us to walk on the water,
And is there to catch us when our doubts try to swallow.

The sea is His, and He has been known to use it,
And sometimes He uses even the big fish within it,
The fish isn’t appointed to simply devour,
But to rescue and change us, by His mighty power.

The sea is deep but we are in His hands.
For even if we find ourselves in its deepest depths,
Still we will be held in His righteous right hand.
Whether we are high or low, He remains firm like land.

We are His, for He made us,
He knows the number of hairs on our heads,
And sees all the days that we have breath.
Billions of people but no identical fingerprints.

We are His, vessels of wrath redeemed for His glory,
He knows us fully yet still loves us radically.
His love is more vast than any sea we encounter,
He has made us a part of His family forever.

We are His, and even when we start to doubt,
No waves intimidate Him from reaching His hand out,
No darkness impairs Him from seeing all.
When we are weak, He remains strong.

We are His, bought with a price at Calvary.
And in Christ there is no condemnation.
Nothing in all creation – not even the most raging seas –
Can separate Him from you and me.

4 Things I’ve Observed at the Potter’s Wheel

The Potter'sWheel.png

The Word of God is true forever, but I think sometimes certain metaphors in the Word lose a little as cultures and technology change. The truthfulness remains, but people’s understanding of it may diminish simply because of different life experiences.

Lately, one such verse that has been on my mind is Isaiah 64:8, which says “But now, O LORD, You are our father; we are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

For many people today, the art of pottery is a lost one. After all, we can purchase factory-made ceramics for minimal costs. Many people have never seen a skilled artisan shape a pot or pitcher. If one does find and purchase a hand-made piece, it usually remains on a shelf as a memento or decoration. Yet for most of history, pottery was not only an art, but a useful and perhaps necessary trade. Hand-made clay pots were used for eating, drinking, cooking, and storage.

IMG_0474.JPGI work at a living history museum that represents life in the early nineteenth century. One of the exhibits is the Pottery Shop. Here, visitors can marvel as a skilled craftsman in nineteenth-century costume forms a beautiful redware mug in minutes on a foot-operated wheel. While the techniques of our potters are surely different from those of Biblical times, some of the same principles of shaping clay remain.

Watching this process has given me a newfound appreciation and perspective of Isaiah 64:8 that I would like to share.

First of all, pottery is a messy art. As the potter throws the clay and works the wheel, wet clay inevitably splatters. The potter’s clothes often have dried remnants even when he was wearing an apron. The window and table next to the wheel also often have dried clay splatters on them. The same can be said of God’s dealing with us. It’s a messy proposition. Jesus literally came into the mess when he was born and laid in the lowly manger. Then he lived among people, many of whom were poor, sick, and/or labeled as “dirt” by society. He wasn’t afraid of the dirt. Figuratively, God also handles the mess of our sinful selves. He heals us, sanctifies us, and loves us, even though it can be and most certainly is a messy job. The messes that we make with our lives and the crimson stains of sin that plague us don’t scare Him. He enters the mess and makes us new.

Second, pottery is a skill. I have not yet tried my hand at the wheel, but I have seen people try it for the first time and usually their first pot isn’t all that great. It takes a skillful hand to make any mug, bowl, or plate. It takes patience. It takes the right tools, steady hands, and a good eye. God is a masterful artist who created the entire universe – every star, flower, animal, and person. God is our potter, and He shapes us with His skillful hands, pressing and holding us just right, sanctifying us and molding us according to His plans and purpose. Even when we don’t understand what He is doing, we can trust His skillful hands.

Third, pottery often has to go through some sort of extreme heat or fire for it to actually be useable. In the case of the redware pottery at work, the pieces are fired in a 24 ft. tall brick kiln, heated to about 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. The complete firing process takes over 24 hours of constant monitoring and feeding of the fire. Talk about dedication! Sometimes circumstances in life hurt. Sometimes circumstances are just downright hard. Yet God remains through it all. He stays even in the darkest part of the night. He gives peace and strength to endure. He uses these circumstances to make us grow. He uses all things for the good of those who love Him. Sometimes life feels like going through a fire, but God sees us to the end.

Finally, every piece of hand-made pottery is unique. Sure, a skilled potter can make a set of mugs or bowls that look pretty similar, but they are never 100% exactly alike. The same is true of us. God made us and we all share some similarities. Yet we are also all unique. While we might share experiences, no two lives are exactly the same. God knew our days before we were born and knew us before we could even know anything. He formed us in our mother’s womb and numbered our days according to His purposes.

I truly believe God knows what He is doing when He makes us, with our unique features and talents. Then He shapes us, as a skilled artisan does, knowing what will come of it. We are the clay in His skillful hands. He is the potter. And what a messy, but lovely, thing to know.