Saturday, February 6, 2016

Beautifully Broken

Recently a friend of mine posted a picture that has just fascinated me. It was a photo of Japanese pottery in a style called Kintsugi. Legend has it that in the 15th century a Japanese shogun broke his favorite bowl. Instead of discarding it, he had the bowl repaired. A Japanese craftsman created a solution of gold and filled in the cracks, transforming the brokenness into something beautiful. Rather than hiding the damage and trying to make it appear as if it had never happened, the craftsman masterfully transformed the broken vessel into a work of art. Transformed through suffering.

I LOVE the imagery of that story for I too am a broken vessel. So are you. My cracks have been caused by many things. The Nuisance (aka cancer) left me feeling quite broken at times. Even now when I am blessed by good health, the scars and shadows wake me up to remind me how easily life can be shattered. Not a day goes by that I am not confronted by that brokenness.

Some of my cracks are self-inflicted. They are a result of foolish choices and a strong streak of stubbornness. Silly girl. I have made some really stupid mistakes in my life. I am definitely a broken vessel, but like kintsugi pottery, a wonderful craftsman has filled the scars of my life with gold. Each mark on my body and on my soul is constantly being mended with the gold of healing, forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Some would have chosen to throw me away, but God sees an opportunity to turn my brokenness into a masterpiece.

 I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 4:7-9 which says, "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." That sounds very kintsugi to me. Life may leave us feeling very broken; we are, after all, merely jars of clay. While we may feel pressure, confusion, despair, and brokenness, God will not allow us to be tossed out as worthless and beyond repair. No, he lovingly picks up our shattered lives and fills each blemish with the gold of restoration. There is a trick though. We have to let go and let him.Have you ever tried to fix a broken base or figurine? I have, and boy did I make a mess of it. The smeared glue was uglier than the crack itself. I think I have done that in my life as well. I try to mend things on my own, but I just make things worse. In order for the Japanese potter to repair the Shogun's bowl, the Shogun had to let go. In order for God to repair our damaged lives we must do the same.

You are broken, too, aren't you? Your brokenness may be different. Perhaps your brokenness is a relationship, depression, a great loss, or a huge regret.  The truth is at the end of the day we are all a little bit cracked! I want to encourage you to change your view on your life. God wants to turn your brokenness into beauty. He wants to turn your scars and regrets into evidence of his power to transform. He wants to transform your suffering into a work of art.

I don't know about you, but if I have to be broken, I wish to be beautifully broken.

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