How to Recycle Broken Pots

Dear friends, I write to you from a bittersweet place of healing – in that healing comes out of brokenness, and today, I was a broken pot. I fell off a windowsill, scattering soil and ruining flowers.

I can’t pinpoint exactly where it started. Maybe it was the transitioning positions at work and how things weren’t moving as smoothly as they should’ve, and Monday was looming near. Maybe it was the pile of errands I needed to run on top of prepping for the annual Fall Fest at church, or maybe I just had a bad day. I don’t entirely know. The point is I lost my sense of self-control.

If I could fully and accurately describe, even for a moment, what it feels like to battle an eating disorder, I don’t think I would want to. I wouldn’t want anyone to know this nagging obsession at the back of your mind. It’s like a loose thread threatening to unravel you if you tug it, but you can’t help but pull and pull until you’re left with the tattered remains of your psyche. You try and try to control the desire to give in, but with a sense of control comes an anxiety-riddled mind of what you might be like if you lose that control.

Finally you reach a point where you think that maybe you’re okay, but then something rocks the boat, and boom, you’re back at square one. Today was that day, and so I sat there in the shattered mess of dirt and vegetation.

To an extent, we all have that fall-apart moment in whatever battle we fight – in whatever way the enemy attacks us. Yours may be completely different from mine, but I think we can all relate to the rawness of a broken heart.

Until this week, I thought the only solution for a broken pot was glue or waste bin. I felt so hopeless, and the pieces of my pot wouldn’t fit together anymore. For a moment, I believed that maybe my place was in the garbage. I was disheartened, but God didn’t let me stay in that place long. Thanks to the enlightenment of a handy pinterest post, I discovered that I was wrong about a few things – as God continues to show me. Low and behold, He knows better. In my moment of white-girl diy glory, I learned that pottery can be recycled, but it takes a process.

The best clay comes from bone-dry shards. The drier they are, the better it can absorb moisture. The shards must first be broken down. Putting the shards in a plastic bag to avoid scattering, a mallet is preferable. This is done so that the powdered clay can absorb more water and become a smooth, malleable form good for throwing Then, the clay must be immersed in water until it is soft and palpable, this process can last for days depending on the consistency needed. During this process, it is best to send the clay through a screen. This prevents debris and rocks from compromising the clay’s purity. It is a cleansing process. As the clay sits in the water it will slake, or break down further as it absorbs water. Eventually, once it has reached a congealed form, it must be dried to a proper consistency for use. This too takes time. Once the clay is laid out, it is ready to be thrown into a new form.

I don’t know where you are in life. To you, I know that I am an anonymous voice of pixels and lofty words. I don’t know if you are having a good day or a bad week. I don’t know if you feel loved by God or if you’ve even met Him. Whatever the case may be, I think that, at some point, we’re all broken pots shattered on the cement below a windowsill.

Perhaps, at some point, we all need a message of encouragement. In any case, God spoke to me in my dry brokenness, and I believe His message was meant for more than my singular moment of failure:

“Sweet child, you cannot see how short the journey is before you. I am carrying you in my arms, holding you close in my embrace. This is so wonderful – to feel your heart so close to mine.

Sweet child, I hurt with you, but your hurt is not the end. I am breaking you down like the broken shards of clay, immersing you in my living water, returning you to the soft and malleable form I began with. This is not a quick and easy process. It takes patience and strong hands to kneed you back into something usable, a form I can build up once more. I have not broken you to be thrown away, but like a mosaic, you will become greater.

Sweet child, you are almost there. Have faith in me and keep going. You needed the humility of failure to know that this healing is not yours. It is mine. You needed to know that my grace means your mistakes do not destroy your progress. You cannot single-handedly destroy my masterpiece. It is still being constructed in you, but it needed to start in brokenness.

Sweet child, you are near the light. Believe in your salvation. Believe in your deliverance. For you are nearly there.”

Dear friend, you have not been forgotten, and your pain has not been dismissed. Have faith, for you have and will overcome. For, the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Your failure is not your end. It is your beginning.

Rose DudleyComment