Your Work Has No Handles

clay_by_shadowsink
Photo Credit: Diya

New Jersey is calling.

Literally.

I’ve answered two different numbers in the last two weeks, which I would normally discredit as solicitation, but there have been some whispers from God in the past about NJ being a part of my future.

One of those calls came thirty miles outside of the city as I sobbed at the steering wheel after breaking up with my boyfriend.

Let’s just say I considered exiting eastward on the freeway.

I had it in mind to throw a duffel in the trunk and take off this weekend, until a gentle word from my roommate Ashley put an end to the fever:

“You have had some really good experiences of how God works in your travels. But maybe he wants to reframe that understanding surrounding new internal territories by having you stay put.”

God is reframing everything.

The kind of reframing that will allow insulation and sheetrock to go in.

Three things in particular:

1) my understanding of goodness, 2) my understanding of being seen, 3) my understanding of pain.

And now, apparently, my tendency to jaunt off across the U.S. when my heart gets confused.

Mostly the reframing feels like he’s shooting nails into the oddest places, and that makes me angry. Angry not only about the discomfort, but also the fact that he won’t let me build my own house when I had the blueprint all drawn up.

The life I think I want to live is not at all the life he intends for me.

The life he intends for me now is at the Pineapple House.

*Disclaimer*: even though our social media outlets depict the Pineapple House like the Christian version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, living here is really hard.

As far as God’s placement of me, life is best characterized by HEAT. On six sides.

The holy kind of heat that burns the hair off your legs and melts your face as it makes its way inward.

It’s the kind that a clay pot is committed to for firing, so that its shape will harden permanently.

Recently God showed an image of me as a formless lump of clay. As I watched, he gouged his fingers into the top and started pressing open a square-shaped hole. I had the sensation of space being created to be filled, like a dug well waiting for water to burgeon out of the ground.

I have an idea about what it means, especially after stumbling on this passage in Isaiah 45:

Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots!
Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’
or ‘Your work has no handles’?

For two weeks, and even much of the last five months, I have been striving with God for contracting rights. I’m not even a pot yet! Just a lump of clay, and already I’m scoffing, “Your work has no handles, God.”

Living at the Pineapple House, while he reframes my internal constructs, has been hot because he is delivering his plans through the people around me. I have no contracting rights. I have no building permit. I have no employment papers.

I get to stay put and watch others build my life around me, without any say about where the nails go. It’s excruciating.

I maintained some anger for a while, but now I’m getting tired.

Heat has a way of sucking out any fight, and my girls…they won’t stop collaborating with the Master Builder.

These relationships are adding a new room onto the house, you see. It’s framed like trust.

I have to believe and rest in the truth that they love me, want good for me–even more than I do–and are willing to be the heat of God on all sides without any guarantee that I will submit to the forming and the firing.

It is only because of them that I have submitted this far, and it will be because of them that I experience the abundant life God’s intends for me.

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