Feb 6, 2012

Growing Faith in God's Children

Jeremiah 18:1-6 NKJV

The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying: “Arise and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause you to hear My words.” Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make. Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter?” says the Lord. “Look, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!

We were new to the area when another parent at my son's school suggested that we visit a pottery studio a few miles from our home.  Immediately, I pictured a grand state of the art studio where several could sit at large workspace tables and pottery wheels. What hands-on fun!

The same week, as God would have it, I read Isaiah 64:8. "But now, O Lord, You are our Father; We are the clay, and You our potter; And all we are the work of Your hand.” (NKJV) I was certain that I was to share this scripture with my 5-yr.old son. Maybe a day at the pottery studio would bring this particular scripture to life. 

I called the studio to scheduled a visit. Soon after, I felt the convicted by the Holy Spirit to invite three of the young foster sibling girls assigned to my work caseload. I called the foster parent of the three girls and told her my intention. I offered to take the three girls along. The foster mother was eagerly supportive.

On the way to the pottery studio, I shared my expectations with the children. Soon, we all began pondering how it would feel to dig our hands into the clay. "I'm going to make a heart," one child exclaimed. 

Sadly, the studio was not what I had hoped for or had promised. It was a small office space on the corner of  a busy college town street. There were no pottery wheels and there was no clay to dig our hands into. Instead, there were several tables covered in white butcher paper held down with masking tape. And, the four walls were lined with baskets filled with all sorts of cookie cutter clay pieces ready for painting. 

One child looked up at me and asked, “What do we do?” When suddenly, the owner yelled out from behind the register, “Just pick your item and the color paint you want to use, no more than three paint bottles please, then have a seat.”  I felt my heart sink. I began to pray, "Lord, what am I to teach these children today?"

I gave the oldest child a nudge on her shoulder and told her, "Go look around and find something to paint." Soon, my son and the other two girls began to wander around the art studio too. I turned my back to the children and noticed the price of one clay piece. $15.00. Dismay! The website had advertised a cost of $7.00 for each child to complete a project. I began to wonder, "What was happening to our inexpensive clay molding experience? How was I going to afford such a large amount of money simply to keep my word and teach scripture to God's children?”

Suddenly, my son approached me and asked, “What is it Mommy?” He must have seen discouraged look on my face. I shook my head from side to side and said, "I cannot afford these prices."  Then, choking back the tears, I said to the owner, “I thought I read on the computer that some of your items were as low as $7.00 and that the children could make their own creations?” The woman simply replied,“Not anymore. Times are hard. We had to cut back on expenses." Then while holding up a small basket she dragged out from the under the bottom shelf of one wall, she added, the items that cost $7.00 are in this basket.”

The children all looked up at me with wide eyes and anticipated my response. These foster children had been on my caseload for over 4 years. They were aware that I had recently accepted Jesus Christ into my heart. All of the children, including my own son, knew that I was now striving to live a holy and righteous life. 

So, I took a deep breath, exhaled and replied, “Well then, we will just have to trust God to afford this day!” Immediately, the children happily scrambled around the studio. They chose plates, bowls, coffee mugs and even a small penguin to paint. Then, we all gathered around one table. While they painted their creations, I shared my faith. I said, "We just have to believe, let God have control and then trust that He will take care of us. That is how we grow our faith."  

Soon, it was time to ring up our items. The woman said, "You pay now and then come back to pick up your items in a week or so." I dug into my purse and grabbed my checkbook. Then, she said, "Your total is $81.57." 

The next day, when I checked my mailbox, something incredible happened. I discovered a check from our State's Unemployment office in the amount of $81.00. "How is that possible?" I wondered.  Every week during the last year, I had received checks from the unemployment office in the amount of $73.00. Now, the check was in the amount of $81.00! The next week, the checks returned to the $73.00 amount. That single check, would be the only check I received in that exact amount.

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