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
Months before graduating from Hope College, I wrote a blog-post about homesickness and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit in which I claimed that I was eager to go home but there were still things God wanted to teach me in Michigan. Well, now I’m writing from my yellow little house somewhere in the southern suburbs of Chicago. For the time being God has called me back and now (figures) my heart aches for the place I left.
Don’t get me wrong! God has provided. Within a week of turning down a part-time job in Grand Rapids, God provided a full-time job, a crusty van and a supportive family to welcome me to my hometown. It was evident that the Lord indeed had called me to come back.
But it’s hard to let go of a place like Holland, MI. I had planned to visit this past weekend and it was supposed to be the third time since I moved back to Illinois. My dad was a little nervous about Mallory (that’s what I named my crusty van). I was dead set on leaving this Friday.
It didn’t happen. All this weekend, I’ve felt embittered by a spirit of loneliness. I long to be with my friends. What do I say to my heart that desires to be with the people I care about? God, don’t you know what it’s like to be separated from those you love?
And the Lord answers, more than you know. For too long were we all separated from the love of God because of our sin. He knows exactly what it’s like to be broken-hearted. That’s why he sent Jesus.
It’s a comfort to know that the Lord understands. It’s my joy to praise him for the way he blessed me during my four years in Holland, MI through beautiful Christ-centered relationships. I pray that one day the Lord will take me on another adventure in West Michigan. But this morning the Lord spoke through my Pastor who asked, “What’s larger your windshield or your rear-view mirror?”
Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-4).
And then I was like
There’s a long road ahead and I need to keep my eyes on my Destination. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. It doesn’t mean I won’t ever get to go back. But it does mean that I can’t long for the past or the place I left. What God has done already is awesome, but he is doing a new thing. Here. Now.
You left a mitten print on my heart. I won’t forget you. But God brought me here for this season. I will keep my eyes on the windshield and glance at the rear-view mirror when needed. I am expecting great things from the God I follow. He will not disappoint.
Hope to see you soon.
P.S. I will miss your beautiful autumn colors, but the trees here, too, proclaim His Glory.
I fought You for so long
I should have let You in
–Relient K Be my Escape
My friend did not confess to being a Twilight fan. I found the evidence in his car: Part Two Breaking Dawn. I thought it had to be a joke, but he was clearly not laughing.
“I guess I’m just jealous,” he confessed, “Jealous of those guys. I’ve never been loved like that. Not that sort of love. The I-would-die-for-you sort of love.”
I stopped laughing. Cleared my throat. “It’s definitely an escape,” I said. I read three out of the four books when I was in High School.
“Yes an escape,” he nodded.
Only hours later, as I wrote about my day in my Moleskin notebook, did I realize that my friend is wrong. He has been loved like that. I have, too. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about 1 John. Not sure why I decided to read this epistle. But God decided to use it a lot to work in my heart. One of the verse that stands out and summarizes the entire letter is 3:16.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”
If you ask me, this blows Twilight out of the water. If we’re going to use any text as an example of perfect love, this verse would be it. It’s been a while since I picked up one of Stephenie Meyer’s books, but I don’t think Bella and Edward’s love is much of a comparison to what Jesus offers us. Yet how many times have I mistaken fantasy for gospel? I’ll be the first to admit that I often forget that the good news satisfies more than the sort of love we crave. How silly. Like choosing cotton candy when what you really need is a full-course meal. All this to say that I have my doubts I’ll ever find a love that compares to Christ’s. He not only said “I would die for you”, but he lived up to his word. Died. Came back three days later.
So there you have it. Not your average love story. More indestructible. Eternal. Something more extraordinary (minus the sparkly vampires).
Don’t ask me why at 21 years old I already feel nostalgic. I’ve been listening to 90’s (soon to be oldies) Latin rock, and I find myself knowing every word of these songs. They remind me a lot about my teenage years which I recognized were practically last week. My life since then has significantly changed and these songs have taken on a completely different meaning. Sometimes I have to change the song because I recognize that I do not approve of its message. But I do notice that love songs strike a certain chord inside of me. Don’t get me wrong. I am in love. But I’m in love with a man who loved me in my darkest. I felt nothing for him and yet he gave everything for me. My biggest fear is that I’ll never love him as much as he loves me, and yet I know that fear is the silliest thought that has ever hit me yet. Perfect love casts out all fear.
Big. As a kid, I’d stand as tall as I could beside my mother and father to measure my progress. I began to set higher standards when I noticed most of my friends had outgrown my parents. At five foot one (and a half), I don’t see eye to eye with many people in Holland, Michigan. I’ve always wanted to grow (at least another half inch). My 16-year-old little sister passed me about a year ago. People now wonder what year she is in college and ask me if I’ve graduated (high school) yet. On the bright side, according to teenagehealthfreak.com Karina won’t grow much taller, and I can compensate with high heels.
Lately, however, I’ve had this peculiar desire to shrink. It started at Vineyard Church with a little girl in pink leggings and a purple too-too. During worship she led her father by the hand to the front row of the church. As if under a lampshade during a hide-and-seek game, she couldn’t see me and (as far as she knew) no one could see her. Her tiny feet tapping and spinning on the carpet. Her eyes wide open and her heart lost and found in the presence of her Father. “If I were only two feet tall, God,” I prayed, “I’d be willing to be a fool for you.”
I want to tell you something you don’t know. I’m afraid that collectively you know everything. If that were true, you’d be God, and I’d be a monkey’s uncle. We haven’t even begun to understand this world much less the things of the Kingdom of God. So instead I will tell you something that we all know. Whether we accept it or not, that is a different story. God is bigger than all of us. He’s created a universe so ginormous that we don’t even know how big it is. How do I compare myself to an eternal God? How do I measure up? Am I even a bug on your wind shield, God? In the presence of my maker, who am I?
I am tiny and lost in this enormous universe and so are you. Praise God for a love bigger than ourselves. We are found in the presence of our Heavenly Father. As many times as you have heard it Hope College, you are significant in Christ Jesus. Through Him, we have all become Sons and Daughters of God. We are small, but we are loved. Take His hand and make yourself a fool for Him. You can’t see us, and (as far as you know) we can’t see you.
Song of Songs 1:2
Rika noticed when you pushed back
your chair and dug your jeaned-knees
into the gravel. The fire in the backyard
now inside your bones
“What’s that?” I tell her anyone can write
a worship song. Just like anyone can
write a love song. But you need to be