This is an invitation for you to visit and follow our new blog. My husband and I want to share our pottery with you so please check out thekingandtheflower.wordpress.com to see more of our work and read about the clay process. We will be adding more pictures soon. You can also check out our etsy or contact us through the site to purchase our pottery.
The bold black ink on white canvas caught my eye. As I walked under the shaded outdoor patio of Elevate coffee, I noticed a girl tracing the penciled words with a thin brush; “Wow, that’s beautiful,” I said. I took a closer look; the canvas read, “For I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content”.
“Can I take a picture of it?” I asked.
She said yes and I clarified, “I’d like to show it to my husband.” The phrase sounded pleasant though unfamiliar and I smiled. I stretched out my hand and introduced myself. My new friend’s name is Jasmin. I promised her I would return to see the finished product.
God has done this before. Once before Asa and I started dating, I was looking at his pottery on the shelves at Desert Dragon. He had carved around his vessel the words: “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” The Lord had been speaking these words same words to my heart. He was using them to make me desire holiness and freedom from sin. Now, Asa and I had barely talked at this point. In fact, I had seen him throw and had not appreciated his work. It wasn’t until I saw his carved pottery that I realized how talented he is. A couple days later, I apologized to him, “I’m sorry, but I totally underestimated you,” I said. He smiled and proceeded to win my heart and marry me months later.
But the point of my story is that God speaks to us often through His Word and moreover, through art, which I love. When I saw Jasmin’s canvas, I saw God’s faithfulness. I know I can trust him. Despite the fact that, last night, my husband and I talked about silence, uncertainty and money, I know I cannot falter in my heart when it comes to God. Because he told me, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”. He reminded me of his Word last night. And then, there it was today in black and white: “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content”.
Inside of elevate, I found a friend from the ceramics studio. “I just saw Asa last night at the studio!” Heather hugged me and congratulated us. We sat on the couches near the window. On the other side friend continued working on her lettered canvas. I felt in my heart something/someone say, “That canvas is yours.” I continued to share pictures from the wedding. My friend and I chatted for a while until I finished my Mocha Frappuccino and she needed to leave to pick up her kids from school.
I returned to my new friend Jasmin on the other side of the glass. She was sitting with her finished canvas and her boyfriend, Washington. I asked her why she picked that verse in particular. “Sometimes God speaks a verse into my heart for that particular season of my life. This is a time of transition for me and I felt like this verse spoke to that.”
“I love it,” I said.
Washington handed me the canvas, “It’s yours.”
Dear Lord Jesus, I always underestimate you. I pray you continue to show me your faithfulness through your people, your Word and our art. Thank you because you are not silent. Give me ears to hear and eyes to see. In your name, Jesus, Amen.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:11-13
I am one chapter into Robert Olen Butler’s book “From Where You Dream.” This is the first post I write among many about his sharp observations on the process of writing fiction. Butler advises the aspiring writer to toss aside her ambition “to be the person on the dust jacket” (13). Trash the desire to be published! to be famous, to win a prize, to create art.
Instead, let the sensual experience of life teach you a little something about creation. The worst stories come from ideas: generalizations, abstractions, analysis. For a story to be real it must be experienced while it is written like a dream. As new-agey as this is going to sound, bear with me, a story much be entered into like a house. You must find the door: what color is it? Wrap your hands around the handle, and swing the door wide open. Walk in. See, hear, feel. Taste, smell. Simultaneously, write.
Butler ventures that our bodies have built up plenty of defences to keep us out of our dreams while we are conscious I can see why. The other night I had another one of those pants-less-in-class dreams. I’m not sure why those are so typical. I am an awfully forgetful person, but in my waking moments seldom do I ever forget to put on pants before I go to class. The point is that normal people don’t want to revisit the place they dream. Which is why it’s so hard to find the door to a good story.
For me it is more of a heavy lid to a dark dumpster full of sensory details both good and bad. Many of them I try to avoid because they are broken and I don’t want to be hurt. My literal dreams, those that take place when I’m asleep, are not always pretty and often take the colour of those past experiences that I would rather not relive.
When I first became a Christian, I thought I was no longer allowed to break. In my father’s house there’s this bowl of porcelain fruit. My poetry, like this hollow fruit, was shiny, polished and completely artificial. Inedible. When my readers asked for substance, I was insulted. Why couldn’t they accept my ideas? Were they too religious? I didn’t want to cut myself on the jagged edges of the things inside the dumpster.
But in the end, it wasn’t poetry that called me to deal with my past. It was God:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective (James 5:16).
Recently, I have heard a rumour going around that Christian art is dead or dying at the least. But I don’t think its true. Most art worth your time speaks truth. Most art worth your time recognizes the fallen nature of this planet. If anyone on this crazy globe can speak these about these two things, it is the Christian, broken and familiar with her hurts and failures.
I am not attached to my past. It is afterall in a dumpster. But I will not refuse to scavenger there for pieces, images that glorify God. Whether for their brokenness or for their wholeness. Mr. Butler, I will take your challenge to dumpster dive from where I dream. I got my head lamp on, and I’m about to take the plunge