Guest Blog Post: Why Hair is So Important to the Black Community

(Hey, y’all! It’s been a minute since I’ve had a naturalista swing by the blog! Patrina of naturalhairqueen.net is a beautiful naturalista who is here to drop some knowledge on the social, political, and economic meanings of Black hair. I’m thankful that Patrina came by to share her words as it is a well-written and significant piece. I encourage you to take some moments to read her words too! Blessings, Monica aka afrotasticlady)

Guest Blog post_Patrina

It’s not just hair. If you mention the deep significance of African-American hair to nonblacks, you might get a blank look. They probably won’t understand why you are angry when you see cornrows being culturally appropriated. Nor will they get your frustration of not being able to find black hair products on the supermarket shelf.

The way we wear our hair isn’t just about self-expression. Our kinky hairdos and our coily locks are beautiful and unique, but it’s never just about you as an individual. Yes, we struggle with self-acceptance, but it’s not the same as a Caucasian teen wearing a mohawk to be rebellious, or a middle-aged white woman dying her hair bright red to do something fun for the summer.

How we style our hair goes way beyond that. It’s almost as if we’re representing the entire race. African-American hair is woven into a traumatic history of cultural discrimination, political turmoil, and fighting for basic human rights.

As time passes, we’ve seen mega-companies like L’Oréal scramble to sell to the one market they’d ignored for years. And it’s about time they paid attention, because the black hair and cosmetics industry is worth $9 billion per year, according to Black Men in America.

The black population is no small market. Nielsen reported that blacks will reach a buying power of $1.3 trillion by the end of 2017. We want to look good and we show it with our wallets, but it goes much deeper than just vanity.

African-American hair bonds and unites us as a people. However, the scars of having been ignored, shunned, and frowned upon still exist. In this post, we’ll discuss why hair is so important in the black community.

Hair is Interwoven into Black History

Black obsession with hair didn’t begin in America, nor does it date back to when Africans were kidnapped and sold as slaves. Hair has always been important to Africans, and we see evidence of this by studying the tribal traditions of our ancestors.

Africans made elaborate hairstyles for celebrations and rites of passage, and they also used styles to determine rank, social class, fertility, manhood, age, and wealth.

So, it’s only natural that we would turn to hair to express ourselves since that’s what our ancestors did.

When Europeans stole Africans for use as slaves, they uprooted an entire legacy of hair. Being far away from home without styling tools or nourishing butters like Shea, meant that Africans had no way to care for their hair. For the first time, blacks no longer celebrated their hair. Rather, both blacks and whites saw it as a problem.

In 1909, Garrett Morgan invented the first relaxer, and we saw black women flocking to take care of the “problem”.

The Struggle is Real

Why do we pay so much attention to hair? Because managing African hair takes time, patience, and dedication. Whether you have natural, relaxed, or a protective style like braids, you are undoubtedly going to spend hours doing your hair.

It’s kinky hair’s coily characteristics that make it a challenge. As the tiny coils cling on to each other and tangle, the hair mats until you have time to detangle it. And the detangling itself can take a long time to master without breaking the hair strands.

As we move into the Natural Hair Movement, American women are spending more time and money than ever on perfecting hair. Hair is connected to self-esteem and the way we feel about ourselves and being black.

Do we allow it to go natural? Do we straighten it to appear more “acceptable” in the workplace? These are complex questions that every woman must answer repetitively over the course of a lifetime.

Changing jobs or even just posing for a professional picture might change a woman’s mind from one day to the next about her hair, and whether it’s good enough. It’s this constant battle that leads us to obsess over hair and continuously “fix” it until it’s ready to be seen by the public eye.

A Common Bond Between Sisters

Our hair connects us. It’s the internet that brings sisters together. Now we can freely discuss and exchange ideas about how to take care of our complex hair, something we haven’t had since before slavery.

Sure, we always had casual conversations with friends and strangers alike, but You Tube and blogs made our connections stronger and more frequent.

It’s a grand reuniting of people affected by the African diaspora. These are the conversations we were meant to have hundreds of years ago. But better late than never, and it makes the connections even more compelling.

It’s not just the ability to research information, but a way of socializing. Our hair journeys give us something to talk about, share, and bond over. And yes, it feels like we’re celebrating once again.

Patrina-Naturalhairqueen

Patrina is the founder of Naturalhairqueen.net; a blog to educate and inspire women with natural hair. Patrina just celebrated her 10-year natural hair anniversary, and achieved her goal of waist length hair. With the knowledge she has learned over the years she is dedicated to share her knowledge, and experience to educate women who wish to have moisturized, healthy natural long hair.

Social Media:

Website: www.Naturalhairqueen.net

Facebook: www.facebook.com/naturalhairqueensite/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NatHairQueen

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nathairqueen/

Advertisements

Guest Blog Post: 6 Steps To Embracing Your Uniqueness

(I am excited that Latotya from PowerfulU Blog is visiting today. As you have probably noticed, I enjoy encouraging others to be who God created them to be. Latoya is continuing in this vein with her own guest blog post. Please read and then share how God has helped you to embrace your unique personality. Blessings, afrotasticlady)

Guest Blog Post by Latoya

In a world that often embraces cookie cutter personalities, and encourages us to model ourselves after the latest, most famous celebrity; daring to embrace your unique voice can seem revolutionary. I must admit though, I was inspired by afrotasticlady’s series to young girls because I found it to be a neat idea of how to use our life experiences to mentor those who are at a stage in life that you have already passed through. We can all benefit from the experiences of others in one way or another, whether we learn what to do or what not to do.

Here are my thoughts on how to embrace your uniqueness:

Discover what makes you different

In order to embrace something, you must be aware of what it is. Observe your strengths and your weaknesses, your likes and your dislikes, your talents and skill, your opinions and ideas and your dreams and aspirations. Make note of nuances in your character in these areas.

Observe those around you and what they are doing. Can you identify with anyone? Are you drawn to anything similar? This can help you to distinguish yourself. It is important to continually make mental notes of things about yourself that you notice are different from everyone else.

I was always a reader. You could always find me wherever books are located, and so I always knew I had a keen interest in the written word, whether I produced it or it was produced by someone else.

 Love what makes you different

Find a level of comfort with what makes you different. Embrace it and treasure it. Do not compare it to others because it is specially given to you to distinguish you from everyone else. Think of what the world would be like if we were all alike. Think of what nature would be like if everything was the same.

Imagine there being only a few colors in the world, a world where there are no shades of your favorite color. The same applies to you. Imagine a world where everyone is identical. Where there are no shades of individuality. In this world everything looks the same. Picture how uninteresting it would be. Your differences help to create a more interesting world. The world is at a disadvantage when we bury our individualities under the weight of being liked by everyone else.

This is not to suggest that you be prideful, but instead, embrace what you are with humility. You are not seeking to throw what you are in other people’s faces but you do not think of yourself any less because of what distinguishes you.

Showcase your talents

With your inner confidence in your God given abilities, you can invite the world to take a look at your talents by stepping out of the shadows and giving them a taste of who you are. Let your light shine. Let your uniqueness be observed. Each time you do this, you get better at it. There is nothing like doing a thing to make you better at doing that thing. It shows that you know what you are capable of and you accept that. You are putting it out there that, this is who I am and I am proud of it.

Refuse to be defined by negative opinions

Be aware of persons who are not appreciative of who you are. Examine your circle by talking to those around you and see how they respond to your intentions. Not everyone can appreciate you for who you are because they probably need to work out their own journey. Do not hold this against them; just understand that if they are not helping you up, you have to decide whether it is worth it.

Some persons in our lives just have to be placed in different categories. Are they supporting who you are or do you need to support who they are? In essence, are they helping you to become a better person or do you need to help them to become a better person? Release yourself from those who seek to hold you hostage with their opinions instead of elevating your character.

Improve your weak areas

Life is about constantly becoming a better version of ourselves. None of us are perfect. We all have areas of our character that could use improvement. That is why we are works in progress. Make mental note of areas that have a negative impact on your life and learn and implement strategies that correct them. We become a better version of ourselves by acknowledging our shortcomings and gradually implementing practices that will change our patterns.

Know that you are God’s grand design

To me, this is the most important step. What could be more valuable than knowing that he who created you had a brilliant plan for your life in mind when you were created. Psalms 139 beautifully captures this thought, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it” (Psalm 139 13-14 NLT). There is nothing accidental about you. You were created with the greatest intentions.

If we seek to live according to who God made us to be then we can operate with confidence in our uniqueness. Whenever you have any doubts, you can go to the source, the Bible, to hear about how keen your creator was in his design of your intricacies.

 

Latoya

Latoya blogs about living a life of purpose. She is passionate about inspiring others to explore their God given potential and use their gifts and talents to honor God. You can find her blogging at PowerfulU and on Twitter at@powerfulublog.

 

 

 

Guest Blog Post: Proud of My Crown

By: Bee G. Porter

“Happy to be nappy, I’m black and I’m proud

That I have been chosen to wear the conscious cloud

And I’m fine under cloud 9

I could be a chameleon and wear it bone straight

But it’s so much stronger when it’s in its natural state

And I’m fine under cloud 9”- (Donnie- “Cloud 9”)

I used to think that I was most beautiful when my hair was straightened and so I relaxed my hair for many years.

Bev #1                                                                (Relaxed hair, 2007)

However, toward the end of 2009 I decided to transition to natural hair. I wish I could say that I had a profound reason for transitioning but really it was quite superficial. I had friends and members of my family who always had natural hair and were able to switch up between rocking their natural curls and doing blow outs to straighten it. These women had “perfect” springy, bouncy curls and I secretly hoped that my hair would look like theirs.

So I began my process of transitioning from using relaxers, to texturizers to no chemical products and trimming my ends periodically until I became a full-fledged natural in 2011.

Bev #2

                                                           (Transitioning, late 2009)

I found that my hair texture was not like that of my family and friends. My hair was coarse, my curls were tight and coiled and frizz prone. I also noted that there were sections of my hair that had different curl patterns. “At least it would be easier to manage if they were uniform,” I thought.

I was disappointed and yes I had hair envy. “Why couldn’t my curls be as loose as theirs?” I would mumble to myself as I set my hair in twists.

I attempted to wear my natural hair out on several occasions to see how others would react to it. I found that I had mixed reviews. Some would complement it, others would make tongue-in-cheek statements like “Oh, I see you did something different with your hair…” or straight up inappropriate I should report your ignorant behind to HR statements like “Your hairstyle would be more appropriate while on vacation don’t you think?” (this was a quote from a senior level staff member from a former job).

I already felt unconfident with my OWN hair but hearing comments like that made me feel worse. So I regretfully, took the staff member up on his (yes his) advice and straightened my hair for work and special occasions and wore my hair natural while on vacations or on weekends. I continued to do this for a couple of years, even after having left that employer to pursue my graduate degree.

In the summer of 2013 shortly after getting married, I had some time to sit, reflect and address the self-hatred that had developed over the years. I asked God to help me to learn to love and embrace myself as He has created me. To love my hair as it was, to love my skin as it was-even though I was living in a world that was constantly saying otherwise.

I determined to step out in faith and confidence without apologizing for who I am or cowering in shame and disgrace to appease people who were not comfortable with me as I had done previously.

Bev #3

     (Natural wash n’ go, 2014)

In August of that year, I began teaching at a multicultural private school with a predominantly white staff- I was one of two black teachers. I wore my hair natural most days but on one occasion, I think it was around Thanksgiving, I decided to get a blow-out.

Bev #4

            (Natural blow-out, 2014)

When I arrived to school that Monday, I received countless compliments from the staff: “Oh, your hair looks nice like that!” I said “thank you” initially but as the day continued on I felt uncomfortable, saddened and even upset.

The most trying incident of the day occurred with one of my middle school classes. This particular class was significant because it was the only middle school level class where I had four black female students at one time, two of them had relaxed hair and two wore their hair in braided extensions. One of them said, “Oh your hair looks so pretty today. I like it like that.” I replied, “Are you implying that my hair is not pretty when it’s not like this?” All four snickered. I simply said in response “I love my hair either way” and proceeded with the lesson. I was saddened by the continued perpetuation of hatred of our beauty and glorification of something that isn’t naturally ours. I decided to be an example of self-love and acceptance; I figured that perhaps that is why God placed me there for that year.

The following week, I returned with my natural hair and did not straighten it for the duration of the school year. My silent stance spoke loudly. It communicated that I am professional. Being my authentic self is acceptable. I can be beautiful, accomplished, intelligent AND wear my hair natural. I am fine just as God created me to be.

That confidence became contagious as I became a role model of sorts to the girls who wore their hair natural. They asked me for product recommendations and styling tips and shared how wearing my hair natural was inspirational to them.

Toward the end of the year, to my surprise, one of the girls who snickered at me came into class with her hair natural. I made sure to tell her it looked beautiful. She smiled and beamed with pride. It confirmed that my decision to embrace my hair and my beauty was not in vain.

I used to think I was most beautiful when my hair was straightened, I now know that I am most beautiful as God has created. I am proud of my crown.

Bev #5     Bev #5  Bev #6

  (Pre & Post Big Chop, 2015)

Bee G. Porter is a wife, mother and writer; but more than all of those, she is an unashamed (shout out to 116) redeemed child of God, saved by grace. She is imperfect in so many ways but strives to reflect Him daily. When she is not attending to her family or her writing- she enjoys reading, baking and singing karaoke. She frequents her blog 30NGROWING like a desert rain-check it out if you want. Bee is currently working on her first novel which she hopes to release next year. If you’d like to contact her for writing inquiries, please e-mail 30ngrowing@gmail.com.

 

 

Guest Blog Post: Running From The Rain-My Hair Journey

By: Jessi Hughes

I got tired of running from the rain. At the beginning of my natural hair journey, this was one of my favorite ways to answer people who asked me why I decided to go “natural.” In my early twenties, I dated someone who would tease me every time I would run to take cover from the rain just to keep my shoulder length straight hair from getting wet. I would laugh and shrug off his jokes, but perhaps without him realizing it, my sense of normalcy was challenged. And I started to wonder – when did it ever become normal for someone to run from the rain?

Back then I would check the weather forecast religiously first thing in the morning and before I went to bed. If there was even a 40% chance of rain, I would pack my foldable umbrella into my purse to make sure that there was a 0% chance that my hair would get wet. Something inside of me was stirred up though, and I began to crave what it would feel like to let the raindrops fall on my uncovered head. So in the middle of a busy work and grad school schedule, I began using my spare time to research how to transition from permed hair to natural hair.

I won’t assume that everyone reading this knows about perms, so here’s a short lesson. I am by no means a hair expert, but like many naturalistas, I’ve acquired more hours of “hair research” than I would ever like to admit. There are basically two categories of hair perms – one that straightens hair and one that makes hair curly. Within these two categories, there are various ways that the perm can be applied in order to create certain results that produce bone straight hair or even spiral curls so perfect that they would make you look like Shirley Temple. Whether curly or straight, these hairstyles are obtained by putting chemicals on the hair that break down the natural hair’s texture. The results grow out eventually, so to maintain the permed hairstyle, the perm must be applied to the hair’s “new growth” (i.e. the roots). This means you must either learn to apply the perm yourself or make a trip to the salon every 6 to 8 weeks.

“Ahhh, yes – I miss those trips to the hair salon to get a perm,” is something that you will never hear me say! In fact, I try not to think about all the time and money that I spent at salons. I’ve also blocked out the countless times when I ended up with painful sores on my scalp (ouch!) as a result of the chemicals reacting to places where I had absentmindedly scratched before getting a perm, or from the perm being on my hair too long to guarantee that my hair was “straight enough.” I find it sad now when I think about what I put myself through in the name of “beauty.”

My “hair awakening” coincided with me wanting to view myself with natural hair as beautiful since that is how God intentionally made me. At the root of it all, I wanted to truly love myself, so in 2006, I began the transition from permed to natural hair. I began to understand that perms represented more than just a styling option for me. My self-worth had somehow become intertwined with looking like the unrealistic images of women of color that I saw on TV and as I flipped through magazines.

Unlike today, ten years ago there were not as many natural hair websites, blogs, videos, and products that empower and teach women to manage their own hair. So I made the transition with the help of a hairdresser located near my South Loop apartment in Chicago. He put rod sets in my hair to give me a spiral curled look that I loved. Each month he would cut off a little more of my permed hair as I would nervously watch the black trimmings accumulate on the white tiles of the salon floor. I was not completely sold out on having natural hair though, and I figured that if I didn’t like the texture of my hair than I could go back to getting perms. I was secretly wishing that my hair texture would be fine, defined and loose curls.  I probably would not have admitted it, but a part of me had the mentality that many people have that is rooted in self-hate and racism – the mindset that there is “good hair” and “bad hair.” I was hoping that team “good hair” had picked me.

 

JH Post #2

 

When I did the “big chop” in 2007, the decision to cut off the 8 inches of natural hair that had grown out coincided with the decision to let go of toxic relationships and things in my life that I had let rob me of my self-esteem, peace, and joy. My one-inch hair stood out in a time when short natural hair was not as fashionable as it is today. I noticed that compliments about my hair decreased, the type of men who approached me changed, and it was not uncommon for strangers to assume that I led a certain lifestyle or held certain views about politics or religion. I am amused by all of this now, but at the time, I hated the attention that I got as well as the attention that I did NOT get.

This also happened to be the time when I started to go back to church. I struggled to not roll my eyes and to not sit there with arms folded across my chest while the reverend preached. If you could have listened to the commentary in my head during those sermons, you would have known that I had grown cynical and cold to the things of God. The messages seemed to ricochet off of me like rubber bullets, and like a tennis pro, I had a mental rebuttal for every positive thing that the preacher said about God’s faithfulness even if it was simply a skeptical “Oh yeah?” My confidence was shattered, and I was extremely broken and angry with God.  To make matters worse, I was jobless after graduating from grad school, and I was facing the fact that I may need to leave Chicago to move back in with my parents in Massachusetts.

With a depleted bank account and a trail of fruitless job interviews behind me, I packed up and went back home like a prodigal child. I was in the last place that I wanted to be, but home was exactly where I needed to be. God began to work on me and restore my confidence in Him, myself, and people again. I was able to start healing and face the main reason why I had left Massachusetts. It turns out that I was running from more than just the rain.

I’ve come a long way since my TWA (teeny weeny afro) days. As a creative person and an artist, I see my hair as an outlet and a way to express myself, so I love the versatility of being able to change up my look. My hair is now past my shoulders thanks to a healthy lifestyle and from rocking protective styles like two-strand twists, micro-braids, crochet braids, and weaves. My hair has grown a lot, but most importantly, I have grown spiritually and emotionally. I still have more growing to do, but I’m learning to bloom where I am planted. On some rainy days, I walk slowly, with hands in my pockets, and a folded umbrella by my side. Finally I’ve stopped running…

 Jessi Hughes is a singer/songwriter who serves as one of the praise & worship leaders at a church in New England. Deeply influenced by her rich cultural heritage, Jessi draws from the soulful, blues of the South as well as the colorful, joyful praise and rhythms of Ghana, West Africa. She is excited about the upcoming release of her praise & worship EP. When she is not in the recording studio, you may find her practicing the guitar, enjoying the beach (when it’s summer), counting down the days until summer (when it’s winter), or spending time with family and friends. Jessi loves to travel and is passionate about healthy living, writing, and encouraging others to use their gifts for the glory of God and to spread the Gospel. To continue on the journey with Jessi, you can follow her on Instagram (@JessiHughesMusic), Facebook (@JessiHughesMusic), Twitter @JessiHughes), or by subscribing to her quarterly newsletter on her website (www.JessiHughesMusic.com).

JH Post #1

Guest Blog Post: Acting Natural-My Journey to Natural Hair

By:  Najah Schwartz

Hey, everyone! I’m so happy that I have gotten the opportunity to share my natural hair journey with you all. I personally love being natural and still believe it has been one of the best decisions I have made in regards to my health and well- being. I would like to give a HUGE thank you to Monica for letting me chat with you all and to share my story on your blog.

I began my natural hair journey at a very young age due to having a scalp condition that caused extreme (and gross) patchy flakes to form on my head. It made getting my hair done a pain and nothing seemed to help aid in getting it treated. Looking back, I now realize it was due to me getting chemical relaxers in my hair that caused the scalp condition to form. Growing up with a hairstylist as a mom she explained that I would no longer be getting relaxers in my hair, but instead grow my curly hair to help my scalp turn back to normality. I was only in middle school and relaxers have been the only thing I’ve known.

Fast forwarding a couple years, I was presented with a full-fledged afro that was much different than my shoulder length flat-ironed locks I was used too. Honestly, I had no idea what products I needed, how to care for it and what I needed for it to grow. There were more questions than answers at that time and even though my mom was a skilled beautician she knew nothing about natural hair.

With all the confusion going on, I was determined to figure how to make it work. I looked at informational videos, visited curly hair forums and created a routine for my hair that I believed would work. Over time, I have tweaked and changed it to fit the current needs of my hair. Up to the date I have been through three big chops and now my hair has been the longest it’s ever been. I don’t plan on cutting my hair again though!

Back then, it never bothered me too much to have hair different than the other girls in my school. I did however have an issue with being self conscious and ashamed of my brown 4a locks. I used to wish that my hair was like all of the other curly girls out there, free and flowing! But I soon realized the beauty of who I was and who God made me be.

Natural hair journey

I feel like I have gotten a lot of advice from over the years on how to get my hair to grow and I finally found a hair routine that works best: I wash my hair every two weeks with co-washing in between. Using Tresseme Naturals and Bentonite Clay. For conditioners, I’m really liking the Tresseme Naturals Conditioner that matches the shampoo as well as the Shea Moisture Raw Shea Moisture Deep Treatment Masque. I find that my hair tends to be on the dry side so I deep condition two times a week pairing my conditioners with coconut oil. For styling creams, I’ve been experimenting with Carol’s Daughter Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie, Kinky Curly Curling Custard, and Shea Moisture Weightless Fruit Fusion Hair Mousse. Since my hair has been growing out of the TWA phase, I’m now able to pull it back into a bun effortlessly, so lately that’s been my hair style of choice.

For all the naturals out there, I encourage you all to keep at it. It is, after all, a journey to get to the desired length/ healthiness you want. Embrace the process and enjoy the time you have with your hair at every stage.

Najah is a blogger based in Las Vegas, NV currently gearing up to attend her first semester of college this year. Najah is married and loves sharing her knowledge of writing advice with other bloggers on the web. You can follow her on Twitter(@najschwartz_) Instagram (@najschwartz_) Pinterest (@najahschwartz) and Tumblr (nschwartzwrites.tumblr.com) to keep up with her blog posts and topics.

Natural hair journey 2

 

 

 

 

When Grief Drops: A Post for “Circling The Story”

(Hey, hey! Happy Friday, y’all! Over the last few months, I have discovered some wonderfully  written blogs! I found Ashley Hales’ blog, Circling The Story, through another wonderful writer/blogger, Lindsey Andrews.  I was blessed with the opportunity to share a guest blog post about my grief journey on Ashley’s site. Please read the snippet below! Thanks, afrotasticlady)

“I’ve never had a full appreciation of snow. Last year, it snowed frequently in New England. We trudged through snow castles. We struggled to dig out our cars.

Grief reminds me of a heavy snowfall.  Trees are strewn with the white chunks. Sidewalks are buried in it. Folks are crammed in their houses. They demand a return to their daily activities. Still, the snow continues to drop.  Grief dropped into my chest when I was a teenager. The doctors had informed my family that my sister, Wanda, had only six months to live. Yet, Wanda lived longer than the time frame that the doctors gave her. While she lived with multiple sclerosis for over fifteen years, I wrestled in snow. I gasped in the wetness. I willed the tears back into my eyelids.

My parents were her daily caregivers, and we’d figured out that we could communicate with Wanda through facial expressions.  A grimace showed us that she was in pain. A twitch of her head displayed that she’d heard us call her name.”

Please read the rest of the post here!

 

Guest Blog Post: The Potter and the Clay

By: Naomi Noel Trevino

Clay #1

While I was reflecting on the past year, there was one audacious resolution that took precedence for the New Year. It was a sincere prayer from my heart, “God mold me and shape me into who you want me to be.” What is so bold about this prayer is the depth and the meaning behind it.

In the Bible there is a passage of scripture that describes a beautiful analogy where God is the Potter and we are the clay (Isaiah 64:8). It is an analogy of what takes places in our lives. All pottery begins as simple clay. In order for clay to be used in pottery making, it must first be prepared. Clay is prepared with methods such as kneading to smooth out the clay body. The greater the plasticity of the clay, the easier it is for the potter to work with. In this state, the clay is most vulnerable and can be easily deformed when handled.

In our own lives, that are moments and sometimes seasons when we feel vulnerable because of things that have happens to us, hard times, disappointments, grief, and loss that can leave us fragile and hurt. For most people, being broken is the worst state to be in. But for clay, being in a fragile state allows the potter to do their greatest work.

Only after preparation, is the clay ready to be shaped into whatever form the potter needs it to be. Once the clay is shaped, it is ready for the most crucial step in the process; firing. In the firing process, the clay is put in a kiln, which is a massive oven with high temperatures. Firing produces irrevocable changes to the body of the clay. But without the firing process, the clay will never become pottery.

What is so profound still about the firing process is that the atmosphere in the kiln affects the appearance and the outcome of the clay body. The atmosphere must be right. In our prayers when we are asking God to help us through hard times or asking him to show us our next steps, have we done our part? Have we created an atmosphere to receive what God has in store? For me, if my spirit and my heart are full of doubt and bitterness when times are hard, then I will not be able to fully become what I was shaped to be when I come through the fire. I will come out broken down. That is not God’s best. But we have a choice. Just like all clay reacts differently in the firing process, how we react to fire in our lives determines the outcome of the situation.

Clay #2

The final stage of pottery making is the artistic part. The pottery is decorated, painted, fine tuned and glazed. Most people when they see pottery, they are only seeing the finished product. Most people can appreciate the beauty of pottery when it is done but not everyone would be willing to go through the long process of making pottery. When pottery is glazed, that is still not the last step. Pottery often goes through one last firing process called glazed firing. Glaze firing ensures that the pottery will continue to undergo chemical changes into what it truly needs to be.

The prayer I started with audacious, because it is raw faith. It is a total surrender to God’s will and His plan. It is throwing my life on the Potter’s wheel. It is humbling myself to the shaping of His hands. I want to be like clay that undergoes permanent and irrevocable changes to the appearance of my heart and countenance. The process may be messy. There may be times when I do not understand. But I rest in knowing that the one who spoke the worlds into existence, the one who threw the stars across the sky, and the one who painted the heavens, has more than capable hands. “Indeed, I have inscribed a picture of you on the palms of my hands.” Isaiah 49:16 (AMP)

Naomi Noel Trevino is a published writer who loves to encourage people.  Keep updated on her future projects through Instagram: @naomi.noel  and Twitter: @naomi_noel_. Inquiries can also be sent to naomi.n.trevino@gmail.com.

Naomi Pic