I was meant to be fine pottery,
smoothed and shaped with care,
but I was deformed by shame and mockery,
fallen, broken beyond repair.
I tried to fix myself with more layers,
mud caked on over cracks,
crusted over from dry heat,
charred 'til my skin was black,
yet out oil and tar still seep,
pressure from within bursts out leaks.
Inside, I remain wet and formless,
all doubt with no purpose.
In sobs that spew filth from my form,
clawing talons break and bleed.
I become undone in the storm,
yet the potter still used me.
With nothing left but wet earth,
perfect state for rebirth,
a vessel of light shone in mirth.

My name is Joy Hatcher and I am 20 years old.

God stripped away my earthly identity so that He could bring me closer to Him. At the time, I was consumed with depression and anxiety. I knew I couldn’t keep living the way I was, but I didn’t know where to begin. I was lost. I had no hope in who I was or who I was becoming.

I desperately wanted to believe in God, but I was so caught up in my apathy, self-loathing, and distrust that I found myself only pushing Him away. While I was studying the word, looking for truth and evidence, I found Romans 1:20.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

I knew that I was without excuse. God had provided an answer to all of my questions. But when I prayed, I did so out of fear. I was still consumed by guilt and didn’t want to submit my life.

This January I found myself wondering a graveyard. Trees and vines growing on stones engraved with Bible verses reminded me of life conquering death.

This was not a place of mourning, but a place of celebration in the light of God’s will and promise. I was overwhelmed by God’s love and mercy. And I submitted my life to him. It was the love of God’s people that made evident his love for me.