Growing up, we had no china cabinet. Because we had no china. Heck, we hardly had any cabinets!
But a few years after I married the love of my life, I decided I should have some china. So, I went to my local Winn Dixie, where, with each purchase, you could buy a piece or two of china. Eventually, I accumulated a full set. It wasn’t fine china, mind you. But this girl had some china of her own. Even if it did come from Winn Dixie.
Stacked carefully on the shelves behind wooden cabinet doors, my china was cherished. Never used. But loved just the same.
In due time, I pulled those prized pieces off the shelves and placed them ever so carefully into moving boxes. Protected by bubble wrap, the china traveled well. After twenty years and five moves, not a piece was broken.
But I was.
And I don’t mean chipped. Or cracked.
It wasn’t an overnight revelation. In fact, I would have denied it had you asked me about it. But a broken vessel cannot hide its brokenness forever, no matter how hard it tries. No matter how hard I tried.
I loved Jesus. I taught about Jesus. I sang about Jesus.
But on the inside, I was pretty sure I mostly disappointed Jesus.
To overcome His displeasure, I worked hard to hide the broken parts of me. Service was my super glue. Ever so unconsciously, I believed surely, I could serve my way out of broken. A little teaching here. A bit of singing there. A lot of teaching. A lot of singing. But still broken. Leaking. A slow drip of shame leaving marks behind.
Until I finally shattered.
And my shatter led to my surrender. A full surrender of my greatest regrets and my painful past. Shame that belonged to me and shame that didn’t. A surrender of my scars. A willingness to let others see the worst. The hardest.
For years, I struggled to stay ahead of my scars. To maintain an image. Convincing myself I was protecting my image for the sake of my witness. But the only image God was interested in maintaining was His image in me.
And if I was going to reflect — shine — mirror His image, my own image had to shatter.
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing — restoring — broken pottery by mending the broken areas with lacquer mixed with gold. It’s the art of embracing the damage. Highlighting, not hiding the scars.
Just what God did with me. Within me.
To be honest, though I had surrendered my scars, I wanted God to put me back together in a way that hid them. But His gentle hand did otherwise. God filled all of my broken places with Himself. He is the gold that is ‘holding’ me together. Through my deepest scars, His love is on display. A reminder of His grace, in which I am not only free to walk, but compelled to extend to others as well.
16 But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate his extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in him for eternal life.1 TIMOTHY 1, CSB
Yes. I would prefer an unbroken past. An unbroken life. Like my un-fine china that’s in a box.
But Jesus doesn’t want me in a box. His plans for me do not include my living in a box. He loves me too much.
Oh, yes. There are days when I hear the enemy of my heart suggest that I stay tucked away in a box. Or at least in a back corner of the china cabinet.
But if Jesus had a china cabinet, I choose to believe that He’d put me front and center with my scars shining for all to see.
For all to see Him!
6 I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you[b] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.PHILIPPIANS 1, CSB
So if you, my friend, are chipped, cracked, or totally shattered, turn to Jesus. (If you don’t know what that means, or you don’t know how, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Surrender your pain and your past. You might need to surrender your present. Walk away from what’s keeping you broken.
Let Jesus forgive you, heal you, and create in you a beautiful work of art through which His love shines.