When I was a little girl, I would help my mom with the dishes. She washed, and I dried. One time as she handed me a bowl to dry the wet porcelain slipped through my fingers, crashing to the floor.
As it hit the floor it shattered, and I began to cry. My Mom wasn’t mad. In fact, she comforted me, letting me know that it wasn’t a big deal but I just hate it when things break.
Fast forward to two years ago. As I walked toward a table in my library, I lost my balance. Falling forward I reached out to steady myself on the table.
My hand hit a small bowl sitting on the table and the bowl went sailing into the air. Although it landed on the carpet, it shattered into several pieces.
I may no longer be a little girl but I still cried. It had been a birthday gift from a friend several years prior and I treasured it.
Why am I such a crybaby when it comes to breaking things? Why do I hate it so much?
Because, well, they’re broken. Ruined. No longer perfect.
At least that is what I thought until I learned about the Japanese art of Kintsugi.
Kintsugi has been around since the 15th century but I only learned about it this past July while reading the book, The Story of With.
Kintsugi takes a very different approach to broken vessels. Instead of trashing them as broken, flawed, and useless the artists discovered a way to make the broken beautiful again.
My first thought when I read about this art form was, “Won’t that just highlight the brokenness?”
I mean after all, instead of hiding the imperfections the artists illuminate them by filling the cracks with gold.
They view the repaired item as more valuable than it was before because now it is a one-of-a-kind original with its shimmering lines of gold.
It isn’t just usable again; it is stronger. What a lesson.
Kintsugi makes what is broken beautiful again but long before these Japanese artists discovered this art form Jesus was fulfilling his mission by healing our shattered hearts and setting us free.
“The Spirit of the Lord, the Eternal is on me. The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose. He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to repair broken hearts, And to declare to those who are held captive and bound in prison, ‘Be free from your imprisonment!'” – Isaiah 61:1
Jesus puts the fragments of our shattered hearts back together again with His healing light. And when He heals us we are infused with his healing power.
The truth is, we don’t get through this life without being wounded. We all have scars but most are unseen.
Scars from the betrayal of someone we trusted or conditional love based on our performance. You get the idea and I’m sure you can name many other wounds.
These scars may be invisible but the wounds cut deep. But I believe that the same principle that holds true for Kintsugi holds true for our brokenness.
Scars are an integral part of our stories. We don’t like them. The pain is real.
But the good news is we serve an awesome Creator who makes all things new (Rev. 21:5). If we surrender our brokenness to Him, He will not only heal the wounds He will use them to make us stronger.
That means we need not be afraid of our most painful brokenness because it is where our most meaningful purpose will be found.
So don’t be afraid to dive in and trust Jesus at levels you have never trusted Him before. Because when you do not only will He mend your broken places, your scars will shimmer with new strength. His strength, empowering you to share your story with others in a way that encourages and blesses them.
What scars are you hiding? Do you believe your scars can strengthen you?
This post first appeared December 17, 2017.