He brought me to His banqueting table; His banner over me is Love.
Song of Solomon 2:4
Sometimes, events happen in our lives that change just about everything we think we know to be true. Life pulls the rug from underneath us, and for a moment, we feel completely upended. Joyce Naylor, owner of Hammered by His Hand, knows about these kinds of changes. I sat down with Joyce at her work table back in October to talk about Christ, change, and how they both inspire her wonderful copper jewelry.
Joyce is one of those outgoing people who makes you feel comfortable because she is… just who she is. Straightforward and frank, she likes to let out a big whoop of laughter every now and then—a trait I happen to be quite partial to. I invited Joyce to my porch; she promptly invited me into her home. This is how it goes with Joyce.
So before we sat on my porch, I was to sit at Joyce’s table to experience the process of making her copper jewelry for myself. I had been told that I was going to get to make my own piece of jewelry, so I could not wait! When I arrived, I found that Joyce had been tipped off about my weaknesses and was ready with coffee and cinnamon rolls. As I filled my cup and my plate, Joyce ushered me into her converted dining room workspace.
We chatted for a few minutes as I nibbled and oohed and ahhed over the finished earrings and necklaces. Joyce already had a friend there working with her, so after a quick tutorial, I got to pick which earrings I was going to make and it was time to get down to the business.
As we settled in around Joyce’s dining room table now work table, conversation flowed easily. Working with the copper was a hobby at the Naylor house long before it was a business. Her husband and father both work in construction, installing copper eaves and gutters. So there had always been copper scraps around, bent and twisted cast offs that weren’t fit for much. It was actually Joyce’s son who first realized that the scraps could be made into jewelry. Seeing a necklace his girlfriend was wearing, he thought that surely he could make her something similar.
Excited by the prospect, Joyce joined in. Soon, family and friends were getting copper earrings and necklaces for Christmas and birthdays. Joyce would wear some of the things she made. If someone asked about it (and someone always did), she would make a piece or two and sell them here and there. It was a nice hobby, just something fun to fool around with when there was time.
But change was coming. And she could have never known how those copper scraps and her dining room table were going to make all the difference.
As I asked Joyce about it, she stopped sanding and polishing and smiled, “We had friends who were going on a mission trip. I was asked to pray about whether or not they should hold a fundraiser to help with their trip. When I [prayed], I very clearly knew that not only should they have a fundraiser, but that God wanted ME to use my jewelry to help them. It seemed crazy because I didn’t know if I could raise enough money to even make a difference. But I knew it was what I was supposed to do, so I just trusted.”
But that wasn’t all.
Joyce continued, “At the same time, it seemed everything was just kind of turning upside down at church. There was a lot of hurt… things we didn’t understand. It was just something we never expected.” Despite all that was going on, Joyce pressed forward with the jewelry fundraiser. Amid the confusion and uncertainty, it was the one definite course of action she knew she should take
She began working on jewelry for the fundraiser every evening. As she worked, different people from her church began to show up at her door to help. They would bring food and their families, and everyone would pitch in. Word spread and more people began stopping by. Joyce welcomed everyone; kids ran in and out, families shared potlucks; everyone gathered around Joyce’s table to hammer, cut, sand, paint, and finish copper.
As they sat around her table night after night, sometimes the same people, sometimes new—the same way I was sitting there—and shared their work and food, hearts began to be shared as well. “It would be one or two o’clock in the morning, and we would find ourselves gathered around this table praying in ways that we had never really prayed before. It was so earnest. So personal. So real in ways that prayer hadn’t been before.”
Those who had never even prayed aloud before found themselves seeking God’s face openly and vulnerably when gathered at Joyce’s work table. They began to experience a relationship with Jesus like they had never experienced before. Even Joyce’s husband felt drawn to a new level of relationship, and he knew that it had to start with his obedience. Even though he had accepted Christ as his Savior long ago, he had never been baptized. He was now ready to make that public acknowledgement. What had started out as an effort to help one family go on a mission trip had become a mission all of its own!
“I grew and changed in ways that I didn’t know I could. Everything that happened—the jewelry, what was going on at church—pushed us out of our comfort zone. If hadn’t been for that, I don’t know if we would’ve been motivated to seek the Lord like we did,” Joyce recalls.
And as the Lord began to heal some of her hurt and reveal a new purpose in her life, Joyce started to see all that copper in a new way too. “The transformation that happens when we work with the copper is so much like our spiritual walk. I began to understand how God takes the messes that happen in our lives and works them out in order to turn them into something better than we could ever even imagined.”
Now when Joyce uses a hammer and nails to shape her jewelry, she says she is reminded of another set hammer and nails… and a cross and the purchase of an ultimate transformation that was made for each of us.
Looking back now, she can see that while she thought she was making jewelry to help a friend, God had something bigger in mind. Not only was the international mission trip fully funded by the jewelry that Joyce and those who helped made, but for so many it was the beginning of a new walk with Christ, a real walk based on personal relationship. When Joyce offered up what she thought was just a little thing for the service of the Lord, He multiplied it and used it for so much more. And those who were gathered around her table will never be the same.
To see more or purchase some of Joyce’s fabulous jewelry, please visit the Hammered by His Hands Facebook page by clicking here. (You can do this even without a Facebook account.)
If you have been in church for very long, you’ve had them. ‘Church hurts’ can sometimes be the most unexpected, confusing, and difficult hurts to get over. But you are not alone. Church is made up of fallible people who don’t always get it right, ourselves included. Don’t confuse messy human relationships with your relationship with Jesus Christ. What you do in response to your ‘church hurt’ is important By continuing to seek His face by staying in His Word and talking to Him in prayer, you will allow God to work it all out for your good (Gen. 50:20, Rom. 8:28) If you would like for someone to pray with you, just leave a note using the contact form. I, as well as others, will pray alongside you for restoration and healing.