Candle Cylinders and Jars of Clay

For nearly two years, a candle in a glass cylinder on a rustic looking turquoise base sat on a tin tray on my paint-stained, scratched-up kitchen table. It stayed there because it made my kitchen feel cozy when the lights were off and the laundry room doors were closed (concealing my piles of laundry).

During supper one night, I randomly decided to take the tin tray out from under it and leave the candle by itself. Silly. Not even twenty minutes later, my little man, Malachi, was sitting in his bumbo and decided it would be his new toy. In a split second, it was in pieces on the floor.

Speaking of things on the floors…quarters. Quarters are not good things to be on the floor.

When 8 months pregnant with my son, at home with the two girlies while my husband was hours away, I was cleaning the house and tossed a quarter in a laundry basket of things to take downstairs. Within minutes my four year old ran into my room choking.

Hit her on the back. Finger-swipe. Heimleich. Where’s my phone? I left it downstairs. Can I call the ambulance? Do I have time? Finger-swipe. What is that? A brief moment of coughing and getting a breath. More choking. Where’s my phone? Do I have time? Please, God, let it come out. Gagging. Blood. Hit her back. 

A quarter. Breath…


Needless to say, I sat there and held her most of the day. Who needs to follow rules? Do whatever you want. You are here. You are alive. I’ve dealt with lots of gagging babies or little chokes, but this one was a massive scare.

Life changes quickly. In one moment, life is life. The next moment, life almost feels as if it’s crumbling. This could’ve ended differently. For some it does.

Remember the band Jars of Clay? Those words are one of my favorite ways to think about life. Jars of clay…not always pretty and breakable; however, it’s the ugly, breakable lives that carry so much beauty. Ugly, breakable lives that are able to hold truth.

If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. As it is, there’s not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we’re not much to look at. We’ve been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we’re not demoralized; we’re not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we’ve been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn’t left our side; we’ve been thrown down, but we haven’t broken. (2nd Corinthians 4:7-9, MSG)

R.C. Sprout, editor of this awesome study bible my husband has says, “Jars of clay. Our weak human natures, including but not limited to our physical bodies. They are a great contrast to the glory of the gospel, and Paul reminds us that God’s way is to work through those who are weak or unimpressive in the world’s eyes.”

If jars broke today, remember…

“For even if the mountains walk away
    and the hills fall to pieces,
My love won’t walk away from you,
    my covenant commitment of peace won’t fall apart.”
    The God who has compassion on you says so. (Isaiah 54:10)

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