How to Find Beauty in Brokenness
- Debbie McDaniel Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2015 22 Jan
It crashed to the floor, breaking into an explosion of pieces. Beyond repair. My favorite mug, now being swept into the trash. “Should have been more careful,” I mumbled to myself. In the midst of the hurried cleaning frenzy, I’d lost my grip. So telling of real life. “Just glue it back Mom,” my kids said. But it would never be the same. The damage was done.
Broken things. Very familiar to a family of 5, with 4 pets. Lots of things moving around and active in our house. And if certain broken pieces are able to be fixed, they normally find a temporary home on the shelf, awaiting the super glue repairs. Or maybe just tossed away if unable to be neatly pieced back together and strategically repaired without hint of a patchwork of super glue lines. Often, it takes too much work to fix what is broken. It’s easier to just buy a new one.
Ever feel that way? Broken. Shattered. Set on a shelf. Tossed aside. Or thrown away. It takes too much work to try to restore. “Just get a new one,” the mindset of our culture whispers our way. “Don’t let anyone see the broken flaws.” Such reality in the way we often live in this world.
With our broken families.
In Japan, they’ve made an art out of restoring broken things. An ancient practice called Kintsugi, meaning “golden joinery” or “to patch with gold,” is an age-old custom of repairing cracked pottery with real gold, not only fixing the break, but greatly increasing the value of the piece.
The heart of it all - turning what is broken into beautiful, cherished pieces, by sealing the cracks and crevices with lines of fine gold. Instead of hiding the flaws, Kintsugi artists highlight them, creating a whole new design and bringing unique beauty to the original piece. The pottery actually becomes more beautiful and valuable in the restoration process because, though it was once broken, it not only has history, but a new story.
While most normal repairs of broken things hide themselves, like nicely sealed super glue fixes, the usual intent is simply to make something “as good as new.” Yet the art of Kintsugi reinforces a profound belief that the repair can make things not only as good as they were before, but “better than new.”
Better than new. Soak that in for a moment.
There are lies out there that swirl around and whisper to your deepest soul in weak moments, when you’ve lost your grip, and things come crashing down. You feel the need to hide the scars. You feel like the brokenness has rendered you useless in life. You feel beyond repair this time. You feel tossed aside. Forgotten. Shamed. Rejected. As you sit on a shelf.
Yet God breaks through all that mess. You are never beyond healing. You are never too broken for restoration. You are never too shattered for repair. Do not be ashamed of your scars, of the deep crevices that line your soul, or the broken places of your life. They have an amazing story to tell.
Here is truth. Just because we’ve been broken doesn’t mean that we are thrown away. Just because we’ve been broken doesn’t mean that we are un-usable, set up on a shelf. Just because we’ve been broken doesn’t mean that we are forgotten.
Brokenness has the power, unlike anything else, to bring forth new beauty, strength, and inspiration to others. Because it’s often in those moments that we’ve tasted deep suffering, that we noticed, we were made for more. There’s more. There’s purpose.
The scars of life, the healed wounds, the deep lines, they all have stories to tell. Yet often we try to hide them away, preferring instead to present to the world, a safe façade of who we are, a more “perfect” version. It’s too difficult to risk the real vulnerability of exposing what once was. Or what still is.
We have a Healer. One who repairs. Who can fit the broken pieces that no longer seem to fit right into a perfect design. He works, often behind the scenes, mending, fitting together, creating a better work of art, more than we ever dreamed possible. He makes all things beautiful. Especially in the broken. All from his grace. It is real life. Jagged edges and all. They have such meaning.
You are not just simply patched back together, as he secretly hopes the glue will stick this time. Your repair and healing is never intended to be invisible. But beautifully lined with shining grace through every scar and broken space. Gold filled crevices of our heart, now stronger, better, more beautiful than before.
And that is what his story is really all about. Bringing life to what was broken. He was willing to take on the brokenness of the world in exchange for our freedom. Beautiful Savior. Jesus. Who sets us free. He makes all things new. Lavish love.
“Behold, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).
“He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Debbie McDaniel is a pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids and a few too many pets, dramatist and writer. She has a heart to communicate God's hope though the everyday moments of life - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the ones that take your breath away. A lover of every sunrise, forever needy of His grace, this Texas girl finds joy in the simple gift of each new day. Debbie invites you to join her at www.freshdayahead.com, and Facebook and Twitter.
Publication date: January 22, 2015