IMPERFECT VESSEL

By: Deborah Lisabeth

I was heartbroken.  My favorite pitcher had warped in drying, making the handle twist on the pot.  Such is the bane of the potter.  You create.  You pour yourself into a piece and yet, until it survives the hottest of fires, one never knows if it will mature to usefulness.
 
I grumbled softly, stroking the dry stoneware and willing myself to do the inevitable; smashing it so I could rework the clay into a new vessel.  But I liked this pitcher.  My creations are like kids.  It's hard to give up on them!
 
Quietly, I heard the voice of the Lord.
 
"You and your perfectionism!" He chuckled.  "You see the imperfection.  I see a tangible testimony".
 
I pondered this word.  I've learned that as I create with the Creator, He often uses the pieces on which I am working to drive home a lesson or word to share.  Studying the pitcher from all angles, I set it down and stared at it.  From some angles, you couldn't see the crookedness of the handle.  If you looked at it from the front, or from the side, you'd never know of the imperfection dwelling along it's spine.  Like an optical illusion, angles and perspective camouflaged the warping.
 
Illusions.  The word struck a cord in me.  Was there a way I could use an optical illusion to hide the imperfection in this pot?  Could I create a design in color that would draw the eye away from the problem?
 
As I continued to stare at the homely pitcher, I began to see in my mind's eye, the perfect design for it!  Excitedly, I picked it up, grabbed a pencil, and began etching a design in the dried clay.   It worked!  The carefully placed lines and depths created with color hid the imperfect handle to the casual eye.  I drew with vigor, working my way back and forth, balancing one side with the other from the back of the pitcher to it's front.  As I neared the spout, I contemplated how to end the design.  Once decided, I excitedly painted in the glaze colors.

A successful piece of art or pottery is one whose form and design are in harmony with one another.  Just as a casserole or teapot changes personality and flair when topped with different styles of lids, vases, pitchers and bowls take on a personality when decorated with color, patterns, or textures.  With each piece, the potter or sculptor must find those elements of design that make the piece sing with individuality and beauty.  With this pitcher, I felt the simplicity of grace in it's profile would best be served with little decoration in the front of it.  So I tapered the design, leaving a gap below the spout and creating three distinct views.  Once finished, I turned it on the banding wheel, smiling in satisfaction as it revealed it's different personalities.  This style really worked! 

I reveled in my joy at redeeming this beloved piece!  And as I set it on the shelf to allow it's glazes to dry, I felt the Lord smile at my thought.  My heart sang as He whispered, "That's the type of joy I had in redeeming My people.  They were marred to the point of being destroyed, yet I redeemed them by My grace.  They were discounted as useless, yet I restored them to use.  And yes, I use them with their imperfections.  Despite those things they choose to hide from Me, I use them.  I love them."

 
"Imperfection caused you to contemplate destroying it.  Yet, I choose My vessels despite the imperfections.  I see the usefulness.  I see the heart.  I see the purpose.  Yet most are like you.  They want to discount themselves and others when they see the imperfections.  So they hide it. Like this pitcher, whose design centers around the imperfection and masking it to the eyes of others, My people expend their energy and all their time trying to create the illusion they're perfect.  And like this pitcher, so much time and decor is centered around the flaw that other areas are left bare and lacking color.  That one flaw can cause imbalance.  Then when I want to use them to pour out to a thirsty world, the world, like a thirsty glass, sees a bland pot like the spout side of this pitcher.  It has little decor...little to make it stand out...little to make one desire it."
 
"The beauty of redemption," said the Lord, "is that it brings hope to the unredeemed.  To be living testimonies of my grace and allow your imperfections to be seen, you become greater witnesses of My love.  And such witnesses are what the dying lost need."
 
"For too long, religion has caused the world to be bruised with condemnation and judgementalism.  Imperfect vessels, enslaved to the belief they must be perfect, have heaped that slavery onto the lost.  They spend so much of their energy on hiding their imperfections, they are blind to the fact that they have failed at fooling the world. The lost know none are perfect.  They know they are not perfect.  Yet religion has made them feel they must be perfect to be redeemed.  They cannot see that it is imperfection that makes them eligible for redemption; for without such, there would be no need.  Just as without sickness, one would have no deserving need of healing."
 
"I am bringing balance to My Church.  I am restoring transparency.  I am stripping away the optical illusions that My grace and redemptive power may be revealed as never before.  And even as this pitcher will be used despite it's flaw, so I am raising up the wounded and imperfect to a greater usefulness in My Kingdom."
 
I love it when the Lord gives me lessons like that.  As a potter, I have to admit it's the best part of my work.  This message, in particular, was one I felt I had to share.
 
We all want to be seen in a certain light.  We don't enjoy having our weaknesses and flaws revealed.  We strive to conceal our human-ness.  Yet there is a world out there of fallible human beings who need to know that God desires willing vessels.  Not perfect vessels.  They need to know they are still eligible for redemption.  As the redeemed, we need to remember that in our weakness, He is made strong.  No greater example of this can be found than those of King David and the Apostle Paul, both of whom were used of God despite their imperfections.  And both of whom were open about such flaws in the lives that they might be testimonies fo the Lord's goodness and grace.
 
May we find the same balance as our predecessors.  And may God have the freedom to use us to the same degree for the work ahead of us...despite our imperfections.
 
NOTE:  This pot is numbered iv01.  It's the first in what I am going to call the "Imperfect Vessel Series".  At this point I'm not sure how many will end up in this series.  But I know there will be other imperfect pots and lessons that go with them.

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JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT!    JESUS DID IT! 

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IMPERFECT VESSEL

Jesus Did It!

 


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