I am feeling very honoured and privileged to have been asked by my friend Vicki Simpson to guest post on her behalf this week as part of her One Heavenly Idea blog. If you’re visiting me from Vicki’s blog, I welcome you and thank you in advance for taking the time to read (and comment!) on my blog posts. With love, Nicki
Broken: 1. Violently separated into pieces. 2. Damaged or altered by breaking. 3. Shattered. 4. No longer in working order. 5. Unusable. 6. Rejected.
“He said to me: My grace, favour, loving-kindness and mercy is enough for you. For my strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and complete) and show themselves more effective in your weakness and brokenness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Just this morning, I read of the ancient Japanese tradition called “Kintsugi” or “Kintsukuroi” which is the practice of mending broken pottery or ceramics with gold-filled resin. Translated into English, it means “golden joinery” or “to repair with gold”. The origins of this Japanese art form came from the story of a wealthy emperor who accidently broke a precious tea cup. He sent it away to be repaired and was astonished when it was returned to him stapled back together! Not just unusable, but ugly. He then found a craftsman who repaired the cup using gold to rejoin the broken pieces, making it both usable and beautiful. I’m led to understand that the Japanese believe an object is more valuable and beautiful when it’s history and story are revealed and retained. As an art form, “Kintsugi demonstrates the importance of valuing the history of something which has been broken and is made whole again in a new identity. The new, reformed ‘whole’ contains both the remembrance of that which was before and also what is now – something that had been broken into pieces and is now reformed and made new and whole”.
How different is our Western culture where broken objects (and broken people and relationships) are discarded. Rather than seeing the value in restoring and fixing broken things, we fill our rubbish bins with objects (and sometimes even people) that could have been mended but weren’t because we couldn’t see the value in spending time or money in repairing them. As a society, we are led to believe that it is easier and cheaper to throw broken things away rather than repairing them and making them beautiful and usable again.
Obviously this made me think of my own life and caused me to ask some questions. Imagine my life if I embraced my own personal brokenness? Imagine if, rather than believing that because I am broken I am ugly and unusable and only worthy of being discarded, I actually believed that my brokenness could be repaired and made beautiful and usable again?
During the past 12 months of writing and prior to that, during 10 years in ministry, I’ve attempted to honestly and transparently share my story and reveal my broken pieces. Although I know that growth has occurred each time I’ve been wounded or broken, deep down inside me there’s still that nagging voice that tries to tell me a different story. It is a story of shame. It is a story that reminds me that I’m not good enough. I’m not beautiful enough. I’m not usable. I’m too broken. So I try to keep my wounds well dressed and hidden away from others. I try to hide the scars because some of them are just too ugly. So ugly that I can’t even look at them myself. If I don’t look, I won’t see, and if I don’t see then I can pretend that the ugly broken cracks aren’t there any more. If I can convince myself that the cracks and wounds and broken pieces aren’t there, I can avoid feeling any pain. Or shame. Sometimes, the pain is so bad because the cracks get cracked again.
The reality is, I am broken and cracked and wounded. But the truth is even better. God doesn’t want me to stay that way!
The Bible says that “the sacrifice God wants is a humble spirit. God will not turn away someone who comes with a humble, broken and contrite heart and is willing to obey Him.” (Psalm 51:17) But then He promises that He will “give new life to and revive the spirit of those who are humble and those whose hearts are broken.” (Isaiah 57:15) He wants to restore and renew the crushed and broken hearts of His people and give them back their confidence and their hope. He wants to “revive the courage” of those with broken hearts.
In other words, He wants to perform some Kintsugi on my broken pieces.
I read a quote that said “There is a crack in everything – that’s how the light gets in”. So I will be thankful that I have a few cracks. I will be thankful that am broken. Because in my brokenness, God’s light can get in. Into my heart and into my soul and into my spirit. And as light gets in, He can begin the work on my life, healing and repairing the broken wounds and damaged pieces. With gold.
Admitting that I am broken has made me very vulnerable but I believe this is where God wants me to be. As I allow Him to heal my brokenness, He will make me more beautiful and more usable than I could have ever imagined.