From Clay to Heaven – Be Amazed by Your God!

By Melissa McLaughlin

My Husband’s Art

My husband, Tom McLaughlin, is an artist. And oh, how I love his creations!

From pen and ink sketches, to oil and acrylic paints on canvas, to clay vases, to stylized calligraphy – it is all a wonder to me!

One year for Christmas, my husband gave me an empty canvas as a gift. Part of the gift was that he promised to paint whatever I wanted. I asked him create something using wildflowers we noticed on a recent family vacation to Maine. The wild beach rose from a family of wild roses called “Rosa rugosa“, grew wild and free along the roadsides and beaches of Maine and seemed to epitomize the joy of our memories there. He included these beauties and added other elements to compose such heart and soul in paint. Five wild roses represented our family, with a small bloom underneath symbolizing future life in our family. Behind he incorporated a harvest background to reflect our family as part of the harvest for God’s Kingdom. The skies and scenery were fluid, breathing with movement and life.

God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven be amazed by your God!

When my husband’s grandmother passed away, he painted a sunflower with its head bowing low, surrendering its life, while vibrant zinnias bloomed underneath embodying the family carrying on as her legacy.

God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven Be Amazed by Your God!

He created a snow scene for one daughter, a sunrise for the other daughter and painted a portrait of my son doing homework at the kitchen table many years ago. Each gift of art, a gift of himself, uniquely designed for each child. For our anniversary one year, he blessed me with the gift of a calligraphy scripture, one of my favorites. The list literally goes on and on and on.

Recently, he made a little figurine in a folk style known as “Clay People”. Tom formed a clay man with his steady hands and artist’s eye. The clay man was a house painter, wielding an appearance of robust work, with his round belly and rugged hands. This little fellow caught my eye and my affection. Though simple in many respects, certainly he was not simple to create. To take a blob of clay and shape it into something that even partially represents a concept is a feat in itself. But then to have that inanimate object possess a charm and character all its own is magical to me.

God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven Be Amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven, be amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven be amazed by your God!

A Person is More Than the Art They Create

Despite the numerous examples of my husband’s creativity and artwork that I may attempt to describe, depict or display, even if I gathered thousands, these items could never portray all of who he is. They don’t capture Tom’s spontaneous jokes, the strength of his arms as he threw our children into the air when they were little, the sparkle in his eye when he finds tiny plastic collectibles, the fervor of his faith when he worships the Lord, his depth of understanding about the Bible, his humility to confess his weaknesses, his passion for his favorite sports teams, his look of total concentration when playing guitar, his insatiable curiosity when we go for a walk, his interest in history and archaeology, his ability to grow a breathtaking garden, his fierce devotion to his wife, to his family and to Christ. No amount of artistic artifacts could ever adequately exemplify the actual complexity and full extent of countless facets comprising the artist who creates the artwork.

Is there a number that quantifies or a phrase that fully expresses all that a person is? No. Never. There are not enough numbers, not enough words. There is simply no way to illustrate or explain the full essence of a person.

God’s Creation is but a Glimpse of Him

In the same way, when I consider the scale of all creation, I see that we are only scratching the surface, touching the hem of God’s magnificent garment. As the oceans crash on the shore with immeasurable weight, as the mountains tower in the distance with majestic glory, as the ladybug flits past with a unique pattern of spots on her wings, as the stripes of symmetry glisten on my cat’s gray fur, as the trees reach high with leafy green pattern and strength, I see a Creator who can be grasped in only the slightest degree through His creation. The power, weight, magnitude, complexity, pattern, interdependence, diversity, form and beauty speak of One who is much, much greater than all this.

When I was younger, I was often confused by the Bible verses that instructed a fear of the Lord. I couldn’t understand why I should fear the One who loved me so much He died for me.
Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.

God is Awesome

As I have grown older, I have come to understand that I am not my own. I was made by a Creator who is so much bigger, grander and more wonderful than I can observe or imagine, for this entire creation could never express all of who He is. This Creator should rightfully be feared by one who is but a mere flash in the creation itself.

The famous scientist, mathematician, theologian and author, Sir Isaac Newton has been credited with this famous quote, “In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.”

I invite you to pause and consider just your thumb! The skin that covers it perfectly. Each person’s thumbprint is completely unique! The joints allow the bones to bend and grip. The nail, one of our first and most used tools. The veins, the muscles, the tendons. The molecules making up various body fluids and systems all working together with such intricacy and complexity to allow my thumb to type these very words.

God is Vast

But that’s not all! Consider this, the universe itself!
Genesis 1:1 – In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

Think of the sun, moon and stars shining through the skies millions of miles away, yet lighting up our lives with incredible alignment and order. Think of the planets, each one, including earth, hangs in the heavens by nothing but the hand of God, through His powerful Word and the forces He set in place.

Gratefully, I have grown to understand that a recognition of God’s greatness and my corresponding smallness gives me greater awe, wonder, reverence and joy in my worship of Him. Therefore, a fear of the LORD is a rational response to an incredibly powerful Creator. Remarkably, at the same time, this deep understanding is also for my own blessing, as one of His creatures, that I may take in and be thrilled by His Sovereign Power.
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

Imagine God!

Imagine for a moment what must God look like?

The One who formed the mountains.

The One who set the planets into motion.

The One who poured the waters into the rushing rivers.

The One who designed for new life to spring forth from the tiny seed.

The One who lit the sun, moon and stars with their fierce heavenly light.

The One who painted the hues on the feathers of the bird and gave it a morning song.

The One who formed my frame, breathed the breath of life into me and set my heart beating.

How could we ever imagine the vastness, power, weight, magnitude and might of such a One? In much the same way that my husband’s artistic creations cannot provide a complete picture of him, so God’s creation provides only a passing glance at His expansive fullness and glorious majesty. For all that we can see and more than we can imagine is only a glimpse of His greatness.

A Psalm of Reverent Praise

As part of my daily devotional time and private worship, I find it powerful to pause, pray and visualize God’s greatness as described here in Psalm 93:
The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and is armed with strength.
The world is firmly established; it shall never be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
you are from all eternity.
The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the Lord on high is mighty!
Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness adorns your house,
O Lord, forevermore.

We are simply the dust of the earth and to dust we will return. A worthless lump of clay in the Potter’s hands. And yet, He set His affections upon us. He gave us His mind, His Word, His laws of righteousness so that we, finite lumps of clay, could know the ways of the Infinite and Holy One. Then He sent His own Son, Jesus, to fulfill those laws of righteousness because we could not. Trading His greatness for our weakness so that we could share in His great Kingdom family. From clay to heaven.

This is your God.

May you pause long enough to be utterly amazed and totally blown away by who God is. May your mind, heart and prayers be turned to the One who made all things and prepared a place for you in heaven. From clay to heaven, be amazed by your God!

I leave you with this quote by Pastor Alistair Begg.

“An immeasurable God paid an immeasurable price to spend immeasurable time with us.”

*Artwork by Tom McLaughlin

God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven, be amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven be amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven be amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven, be amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven be amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven be amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator. From Clay to Heaven be amazed by your God!
God is an amazing Creator! From Clay to Heaven be amazed by your God!

If you love God and you love art, you will also love the Eclectic Contrarian’s post entitled “Art”. He offers deep thought about both!

60 thoughts on “From Clay to Heaven – Be Amazed by Your God!”

    • John, I just reread your post on art. Excellent! And a perfect tie in to this post! Do you mind if I add it to this post as a resource? I love these lines and scriptures:
      “Art is a gift from God. Some are given this special talent because God desires to use that talent to awaken a world that has lost it’s vision.

      For God Himself is an Artist:”

      Genesis 1st and 2nd chapter.

      “For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts, is his name.”
      ‭‭Amos‬ ‭4:13‬ ‭KJV‬‬

      “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”
      ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭KJV‬‬

      Revelations 21

  1. Oh what beautiful artwork from your husband! Thank you so much for sharing this post, so full of magnificence! Psalm 93 is such a comfort when we think of that roaring God greater than all the roaring of all the seas, and yet He cares for us! Truly His creation does speak of Him, and gives us glimpses of His majesty. May I keep watching for more of those glimpses, and spend time in awe of the One who loves us all so much. Blessings to you!

    • Our God is so magnificent! Thank you for reading and sharing your heart for our great God. Yes, His roar is mightier than the mightiest of seas! Glory to God in the highest! May you see Him in new and powerful ways today, dear Bettie! God bless you, dear sister!

  2. I absolutely love this post. Your husband is a gifted artist; but as you point out his art is only a glimpse of who he is. Likewise God’s creation is just a glimpse of His magnitude. I love your analogy between the two.

    • God is always capturing and re-capturing my heart through His creation, but when I think for even a moment about the One who could create all of this, I am speechless. He is so great! Thank you for the kind words about Tom’s artwork. Here you saw only a snapshot of him, like God’s creation is only a glimpse of our great God! May our praises ring louder as we see Him anew this day! Bless you, Marcie!

  3. I love the analogy you use between only knowing a glimpse of your husband through his art and knowing just a glimpse of God through His creation. Beautiful post. Your husband is indeed a great artist! Thank you for sharing his gift with us and reminding us of how vast and great our God is!

  4. Good morning, Melissa, your words so beautifully edify Our God. This post is spiritual food for the masses. And wow! Love your husband’s artwork. May God continue to bless the work of your hands and Tom’s hands.

    • Good morning, dear Julie. All praise to our mighty God! His power is higher than the heavens, His voice mightier than the roaring ocean waves. Great is our LORD! I receive your sweet blessing for my work and the work of my husband’s hands. May all we do, bring glory to the One who gives all good gifts! Praying for you this morning, dear sister.

  5. Love the art work. My mother was a writer and poet. She wrote a poem for nearly everything in her life; from the sunshine and rain to major events in the lives of her children and grandchildren. She wrote a poem for each person in her life who passed out of this world. I feel privileged to possess some of her writing. This is one of the reasons I started blogging…I was recording all her work and it inspired me to get back to my own writing. Art, whether it be with paints or words, allows us to see the world through the eyes of someone other than ourselves. That’s how God’s creation is also. We see HIM through the lens of all HE has created. Loved your post.

    • Michelle, how lovely that you have carried on your mother’s work through your blog and have carried on her legacy through your own writing! Truly God is the Artist behind all art and we give Him the glory for any beauty we can create. I love your thoughts that through another person’s work – whether paints or pens, we can see and experience life through their eyes. Likewise we see God through His beautiful creation! God is so amazing! May He bless you in a special way today!

    • Our Divine Artist has blessed my husband with wonderful art skills! So grateful for God and for the gift He has given me in my husband. Most of all, for the ways my husband encourages my faith in the Lord! May God bless you and yours, Melissa!

  6. Oh how I love this thought, Melissa:

    “In the same way, when I consider the scale of all creation, I see that we are only scratching the surface, touching the hem of God’s magnificent garment.”

    What a perfect way to put the imperfect way we understand the fullness of God and how much we have to look forward to.

    • I love how you thought of all we have to look forward to! Through His creation, God is showing elements of His great beauty, creative power and sovereignty, so it will truly be amazing when we see Him face to face in ALL His glory! Hallelujah! Thank you for joining me in this moment of joyful praise and anticipation of our inexpressibly great God! Bless you, Stephanie!

    • Dear Wendy, thank you for the words of encouragement! Praying that we will honor our beautiful Creator with all our heart, soul, mind and strength! May God bless you as you continue to capture Him in your writing and your photographs!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Michelle! As you well, know, it is truly a blessing to be married to an artist! I am blessed by the work you and your husband create to honor the Lord, as well! May God, the Greatest Artist, continue to create His wonder in our hearts and minds to adore Him more!

  7. Thank you both. I enjoyed every word and the artwork added an amazing strength!
    Thank you Tom and Melissa for the absolute beauty you brought us.

    • Tony, thank you for taking the time to read this post and enjoy Tom’s artwork as part of it all! May God be glorified in all we do! Lifting you up in prayer even now, brother. Your faith is a masterpiece to behold!

    • Thank you, Jessie! How great is our God! How vast beyond all measure! And yet, with all His power and sovereignty He sent His Son to die for us, that we could become sons and daughters of God. May we be overcome with this our God and His great love again today!


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