Dear fragile jar of clay,
As I sit at my desk to start putting on the little bit of makeup that I actually know how to use, one of my favorite Spotify playlists shuffling on point as usual, I catch my reflection in my tiny desk mirror and am suddenly wildly confused. As far as the people closest to me and I are concerned, I am the furthest thing away from a morning person. So what’s with the excited expression on my face? I mean sure the coffee in my mug is really good (it did come from Costa Rica, after all) but it’s not that good. That’s when I started thinking: You know, I’m always happy to sit down and get ready in the morning. Sure, I hate having to wake up early. But I love when I get to jam to worship music and take my time drinking my coffee while I slowly become a more presentable version of myself. It does take many different steps that can be kind of tedious, but I don’t ever mind because I know that it’s all necessary to reach the result that I want. Now am I saying it isn’t annoying when I accidentally inhale powder, or that it doesn’t hurt like nobody’s business when my eyelash curler catches my eyelid four times in a row? I’m not even capable of telling such a lie. However, I still do all of it. I wipe the powder out of my nose and I put the curler to my lashes a fifth time, and even a sixth if necessary. It’s worth it to me because I always feel more beautiful and ready to take on the day afterwords. But it’s actually going through the motions that I have fun with. I take delight in actually seeing everything that it takes to get the result I’m going for. Having to put in effort and fixing many mistakes along the way makes me appreciative of the finished product. I enjoy the process.
This realization really meant nothing to me until what I believe was the Holy Spirit (because we all know that I’m not this good alone) put on my heart and in my thoughts that this is such an accurate picture of the way God feels about the process He does in us after salvation. My mom taught me a long time ago that makeup isn’t supposed to hide you like a mask, but is supposed to take attention away from your flaws and draw it towards the enhancement of your naturally beautiful features (and wow do I love her for that little wisdom nugget!). And you know, that’s what the Lord does for us. He is the Potter and we are the clay, and as He lessens our sinful desires and enhances our God-given passions and talents, we slowly feel less ashamed of who we are – of our own reflection – and more confident. Now this confidence isn’t in ourselves, but in the way that everything He is shines through us. I truly enjoy going through the steps in my routine to lessen the irritated redness in my blemishes and enhance the natural brown color in my rather large eyes, and then getting to see the finished product and feel pleased with the outcome – and so does our Father. He works in us because He loves us. Isn’t it amazing how He doesn’t stop caring about us once we’re saved? He could just push us aside after winning us because He has so many other lost souls to worry about. But He doesn’t do that. He cares deeply about them AND us still. He pursues us even after we’ve declared Him our Savior for years. He wants us to reach our full potential, our best version of ourselves, and carefully orchestrates our lives to accomplish just that. He molds and shapes us by transforming our hearts and through the renewing of our minds. All so that we may become more like Him and bring glory to His name. And He enjoys that process. He loves watching and helping us grow and change to become more beautiful, from the inside out. And if that means having to help you curl your lashes twelve times in a row until you finally understand that you aren’t supposed to blink when you have them in place, then He gladly does so. What’s so incredible is that God has the power to force you to be perfect, but He would never do that to you. He loves you so much that He is patient with you and wants you to learn and grow so that you can become stronger, more compassionate, and more grateful for all that He is for you. But He doesn’t need that – that’s for us, for our benefit. If that doesn’t leave you in complete awe, then you might not fully understand what I’m saying.
I realize that makeup is often associated with the exact opposite of this idea, but it really depends on the makeup artist. And ours is the Creator of the Universe who has no interest in slapping a thick mask over our face to hide who we are. No, He knit you together in your mother’s womb and knows the number of hairs on your head and has plans for you to prosper and have a future. He put specific desires and dreams in your heart that are uniquely shared between you and Him. His intention as the Potter is to constantly shape you, the clay, into new forms of yourself that are continuously becoming more and more effective for His Kingdom. He smooths out the rough areas and integrates the most exquisite designs and details that start on the surface but reach deep into the center of your being. This work that the Lord does in us takes a lifetime of closeness with Him, and that is exactly why He takes joy in it. You are the most valuable, one-of-a-kind piece of art that the Lord has ever Created. But unlike worldly artists, He could never let us be sold and displayed for someone else’s enjoyment. No, you – His most prized possession – you could only be bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, God’s one and only son, and He was more than willing to pay the price. What’s beautiful is that this wasn’t the end. Jesus dying on the cross was not the end, it was the beginning. Your salvation is not the epitome of your relationship with God, it’s only the beginning. Giving your heart and life to Him starts the most insane adventure you could ever imagine, but you have to be willing to be stretched.
I think what’s important about understanding all of this is seeing that not only does God love you more than you can understand, but He also takes all of your flaws and blemishes and turns them into beauty marks with an important testimony to share. He teaches you from the times you get powder up your nose and He never lets any of the twenty-three times you pinched your eyelid in your eyelash curler be wasted. Because with God, all of the trials are actually growing pains, and every long and testing season is actually part of the process of making you more beautiful than you ever could have been on your own. So I hope, if anything, you’re encouraged and maybe challenged to see the trying times in your life in a new light. Most of all I pray that your heart is softened to the gentle touch of your Potter’s hands; that you aren’t determined to stay set in your ways, but are embracing the shaping and molding of the Lord to become the person He intended you to be – the best version of yourself – because well, why wouldn’t you want that?
Scriptures that influenced this letter that you should absolutely check out:
- Romans 12:2
- Isaiah 64:8
- 2 Corinthians 4:7
- Genesis 16:13