Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Throwing away the pinch pots

i worked at a montessori school that year, my first post-college job, my first to feel like a grown up, despite being surrounded by little children. maybe because of it.
i assisted jodi, who taught me a lot that year, mostly about being true to yourself and how to listen with your soul. children and broken hearts need this the most, and i was both that year.

she was a potter, and taught a little slab work for art projects and end-of-year gifts. i knew instantly that i was made to love or appreciate pots, maybe make them one day, too.

many years later, i still have ever only attempted three bowls on the wheel, and i crumpled my first tiny pinch pots back into the pile for making slip. i shrugged off my disappointment and simmered in my own quiet perfectionism, vowing to buy the beautiful works of others.

i still struggle with perfectionism.
i like to quote the verse that says He will complete the good work started, but i often fail to live by it.
i see my oldest son, so sure and sensitive both; i see in him a demand for excellence, of himself and of his younger brothers.
i see my tiny middle man, so sunny and spirited, crumpling under two year old inabilities.

it is my turn to stop throwing away the pinch pots.
you hear the sermons reminding us we're all clay. the reverend asks, "now, if you're going to be clay in His hands anyway, wouldn't you rather be soft and pliable? wouldn't you rather be moldable than be stiff and unbendable, forcing him to break you?" it's a clever question, and one that gives pause. but the truth is, bisqued and glazed with our own hard hearts, or supple under the assumption we're so good, we are still in need of the Potter's grace.
grace-based parenting is the hardest thing i've ever done. i'm not so good at giving grace to myself but i want my boys to be excellent at it. i'm not so good at keeping unwarranted anger down, but i want my boys to feel loved and secure.
on a day of stormy tempers and breaking molars and sibling rivalry, i feel the need for grace in-dwelling. so today i sing the best chorus from one of the best songs*, and we dance.
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - I am on my knees
To love you - take my world apart
To need you - broken on my knees

writing on the spiritual practices of parenting this week with ann and *singing the song worlds apart by jars of clay.

holy experience


Jodi said...

Good insights, Misty. Btw, I love pinch pots! :)

amy said...

yes, yes, yes. oh how i am crawling, learning to parent with grace. may we learn together misty...

Mom of M&Ms said...

Thank yu for sharing..

I to find such beauty in watching a lump of clay spin into beauty, and in my case, know that beauty will not come from these hands in that fashion. But I am the clay and beauty comes from the Father molding my gifts for his glory!

Your words were a gift to me today

Kim Hyland said...

"i'm not so good at giving grace to myself but i want my boys to be excellent at it. i'm not so good at keeping unwarranted anger down, but i want my boys to feel loved and secure." Your post makes me think how God uses our children to draw out the deepest and most desperate desires in us to follow Him well for their sake as well as ours. And then He gives us grace to do it. Thank you.

Bev said...

god knows you are doing your's a journey and none of us are perfect. my guess is you feel you must be perfect to be acceptable??...i dealt with that for years, but god taught me that he loves me no matter what, unconditionally and he meets me right where i am.

Misty said...

jodi--i love them, now, too! i wish i'd never thrown mine away!
amy-i love that we learn in this together, and always grace
m&m - it is magical, isn't it? amazing. thank you for your kind words here, today, as well.
kim, you are so right that he uses our children as refining tools. he loves us so doesn't he?
and bev, i crawl to grace these days. my perfectionism is no longer debilitating, but there was a time it was. i'm so blessed to have a lord who humbles himself to my arm's reach.

Myrtle's Turtles said...

I was touched by your comment on my blog. I have struggled with some of these issues for awhile. I realize that God is constantly showing me that I can't earn his love, I just have to accept it. Grace is such a hard concept to accept!

suzannah {so much shouting, so much laughter} said...

i just love your honesty (and that jars of clay song.) so very much.

Elizabeth @claritychaos said...

This is absolutely gorgeous, and so moving. Your writing is really beautiful, Misty.