Many years ago, I was told a story of how my jewelry Broken Clay impacted someone. I was given a vision for Broken Clay in that moment, Beautiful in particular. I had been at a ladies retreat and I had donated a piece of Beautiful for every woman there. All the women were grateful, and some of them came up to me to tell me that the flower imprinted on it was their favorite or it was their favorite color, or how God put the message of His love for them and the piece of jewelry together in a powerful way. I was grateful that God would take my paltry offering and use it to impact these women that He loved. This in and of itself would cause me to give these away to those I thought needed a reminder of God’s love for them. I sold pieces only to be able to fund the making of more to give away. Gratefully God always met the costs to make the pieces, and I kept making them.
Beautiful was the first one that I designed. This is the first one that God gave me a picture of. The name Beautiful is a large part of the transformation that God is working in me. I used to hate myself, I heard and saw everything that I did or was said about me through that filter of ugliness, hatred and worthlessness.
I hid! I hid from everything. I was shy, only because of the hatred I had for myself. I now call myself quiet. I put on a shell of who I thought I was supposed to be, the me that was “acceptable”. It is within this empty shell that I lived my life, never really experiencing a whole and full life, always living within a half-life. I lived for others, not for me and certainly not for God. I lived for my kids, and sometimes I lived for Cam (not often). I tried to be perfect in my own strength. I was not strong. Anyway, I went through most of my life within this ever hardening shell. From 10 to 35. It started with being molested as a child by an older girl in my neighborhood (she was only a year or two older) and continued through the awful bullying and rejection in childhood, mostly by peers. It continued through many, many wrong choices that I made because of this overwhelming hurt. The name I called myself was ugly. My parents never knew this, they just watched their little girl go from a happy child to an angry preteen, not really understanding what was going on or how to help me, they tried though, so I lived this way till 2003.
It was within a retreat in 2003 that God changed the trajectory of my life. I had hit a wall, and God was waiting there to change the course of my life. It was at that wall that God gave me a new name, and a very clear undeniable picture of who I was because I was loved by Him. I wasn’t this name because anything I did in my own strength. This new name was given to me because of who He is and what He thought of me and who He created me to be. I praise Him because of His great love, and the restoration and transformation that took place on that day, and that is still continuing in every breath that I take, every beat of my heart, and in every beat of The Heart Who loves me unconditionally. It was on that day April 26th, that I received the message meant for my heart, God’s life giving message to me. It was on that day that God caused me to look up, to see beyond my self loathing. This is where God stood me up in the wide open space of His love. That incredible love took my breath away. His beauty was breath-taking!! There had never been a day that I had ever experienced love like that. It made me change my opinion of myself immediately, since then He has affirmed that name, and has helped me learn to comprehend what that means and the depth of that meaning and the gift that it is to know it. It is one that I have a hard time understanding, and I am sure that God will have to continually remind me of it until the day I die. This is part of the reason for my jewelry, to be a physical reminder that helps to remind us of the truth, God’s truth. The name that God gave me, hit me with is the name Beautiful. In that intense meeting with God’s very real presence, I came to see how He saw me. God, knowing me intimately knew that I saw better in pictures, that my ears were too full of the words of hurt and self loathing, and so I needed to be given a clear vision of His new name for me. The picture He showed me was one of a flower. It was a cross between a beautiful rose, and a childlike drawing of a daisy. It is really hard to explain, only God could make that picture make sense. 🙂 within that picture, I saw beauty, and a child. He was affirming with that picture that I was His child and that He saw me as beautiful. It was almost too hard to take in, too painful in its purity and glory. The love was so intense, that I shook for the rest of that weekend and when Cam saw me after the weekend, he knew something was different, that I was somehow different.bout it the moment he saw me. He said that it was like I was shining, I had my head lifted. After that for the next few months, people who had known me before, said I don’t know what it is that is different about you, but you are really beautiful. Strangers would call me beautiful. I am not by any standards of this world beautiful, but God in His mercy and love, told me I was beautiful through others, He even used strangers. Incredible!! He still whispers that name to my soul when I start to doubt.
It was in 2006 that I was first asked to tell my story to a group of young teen moms. I was floored to be asked. I was still incredibly shy, unsure of myself. I had lived life quiet for so long, so to be asked to live out loud, to bare my soul, and risk rejection was beyond the scope of my vision. I didn’t mind telling someone, one on one, or to a few women at a time, but to speak to 30 at a time, I didn’t believe that I could do it, and yet for someone reason I said yes. It was during my preparation to speak to these young women, praying for them and asking for a way to make clear the love that God had for them. This message of beauty and love is not mine alone, He speaks it clearly over those that He loves and He loves mankind. It was during a time that I was with a friend, she was a potter, and I was at her house learning the skill of hand building from her, that God gave me the vision of Broken Clay, and Beautiful in particular. God gave me a picture, because He knows I get it better when He does that, and because He made me, He gets that about me. He gave me a picture of a piece of a piece of broken clay with a picture of a flower on it, again it was the picture He gave me when He called me Beautiful. I also knew the name for it at that moment and the message that it contained. Clay because Adam was created from clay, broken, because we are all broken (because of life circumstances), and the flower to symbolize His picture of us, to remind us of His name for us, Beautiful. In the picture it was a necklace, because it rested close to the heart, He wanted this message to penetrate the wearer’s heart. So I set about making these with my friends help. As I was making these, I got other messages, and other pictures of those messages and so I made those as well. There were other messages that God wanted to speak over these young women. I had a lot extra, so that each woman could choose the one that she wanted. These young women came afterwards and asked to buy them for their friends who needed to hear this message. I think I gave most of the extra away as well. I sold a few to those who insisted on paying me.
At the retreat after I told my story, the jewelry was given out. They were told that if the piece that they received was not the one they wanted, they could exchange it for another one that spoke to them. Very few (maybe one or two) exchanged their pieces. Most of the young women, got the one that impacted them, and seemed to be made just for them. As I made them, I prayed for these women, and for God to impact them in a way that was undeniable. I knew that these were very busy women, most of them single moms. They would need reminders of His love for them. Often their stories carried a lot of pain and rejection, so they needed a reminder that the God of the heavens did not reject them, that He loved no matter what they had done, or what other’s had done to them. after this retreat I spoke to other groups of women, young and old, all of them needing to hear this message of beauty and love. I discovered that almost every woman questions her worth, her value, even those women who measured up to the world’s idea of beauty. It didn’t matter what the age was, their view of themselves was very wrong. There were very few women who were truly confident in their value. I was floored by this. Those women who I thought had it all together were struggling, those who I wished that I could be had painful arrows in their souls too. What was happening, where was this coming from and why didn’t God rescue them like He did me? Later I realized that God would use me and my story to rescue them as well. Crazy huh!
One of these groups of women who received beautiful were at that ladies retreat I was talking about at the beginning of this post. One of the women attending the conference there, went home with her piece, really happy to receive it. Later that day or the next, she went to visit her sister in the hospital. Her sister was in palliative care, she was battling cancer, she was in the later stage of cancer. It wasn’t very long afterwards that she died and went to be with her Savior. When this woman who was ill saw her sister she saw the piece of broken clay that she had recieved at the retreat and lit up. She asked if this was the flower that Jesus picked for her. She went on to tell her that she saw Jesus in a field of flowers, each one unique and beautiful. She said as Jesus walked with each woman He picked a flower for them. She was wondering if this was the one that Jesus picked for her. This lady gave her piece to her sister and came to ask if she could purchace another one for herself. She relayed this story and it hit me so hard, it almost knocked me down. I had goosebumps. This woman had no idea that these women would get a piece of jewelry, nevermind this design and message of Broken Clay. This jewelry and it’s message truly was God’s, It is His message to His women. This was clearly showed to me within this story. This jewelry is not mine, it is God’s.
God calls you Beautiful, His love for you is very real, and what He sees when He looks at you is beauty. God gave me a verse when He called me Beautiful, it was Psalm 45:11, Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor Him for He is your Lord. The capital letters are mine, because to me it is God speaking to me. This verse is about a bride and groom, a king and his newly wed bride, now a queen. God gave me this verse when He gave me my new name, He loves me and is enthralled by the beauty He sees in me. Who am I to say He is wrong? He is never wrong, it is just my job to accept that, and to change how I look at myself and how I treat myself. I need to stop beating myself up and love who God created me to be, love the woman who He sees.
Jesus has walked in that wide open field with me, with those wildflowers, He has picked one for me and told me that I am beautiful, that I am unique, and perfectly loved. I am loved with a holy love, a pure love that expects nothing even remotely close to it in return except a pale imitation of that love. It is a gift. This is also offered to you. All you have to do is accept it. This message is for every woman who will accept it.
Psalm 18:16-24 (MSG) 16-19 But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved! 20-24 God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.