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Ever feel as though you’re broken and scattered—like pieces of shattered glass? You’re so overwhelmed by life, torn apart by one situation after another, perhaps in rapid succession. And you begin to feel like you want to run away from all the stress and responsibility. I have…and know I’m not alone.

We all get hit hard by life at times. We all stumble and fall. We’re all broken; broken by our mistakes, sins, fear, unending pain, ongoing chronic illness, loss of a loved one, financial stress, or simply by the weight of life’s never-ending demands. But are we willing to admit we’re broken people? Do we think we’ve got it so together that we would never admit a failing, do we perhaps look down on those who might stumble in a moment of weakness, or do we humbly apologize and ask forgiveness from those we might have offended?

The damage from any trauma or abuse can be devastating, leaving us feeling raw and exposed, torn apart. Just the simplest things can take a toll when we’re overwhelmed by stress without relief. Long-term illness or disability can have the same effect. We keep hoping that one day, somehow, things will get better…but they don’t seem to.

Reminds me of sitting in a boat in the middle of a lake without oars, rudder, or motor when the storm hits. We won’t get very far. In fact, the storm will toss us about unceasingly or capsize us without that rudder to steer and stabilize the boat, or the oars to row our boat to shore. And it’s so true that life’s challenges can blindside us when we least expect them and catch us totally unprepared, leaving us feeling like we’re unable to handle what comes our way. Certainly, we don’t feel like our brokenness is beautiful!

God never promised us a life without problems and pain. But He did promise He’d give us what we ask for when we ask in His will, and that He will always be with us. We just need to ask and trust Him as He “works all things for the good of those who love Him…” (Romans 8:28). He intends our journey of difficulty to strengthen our faith. For James 1:2-3 reminds us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance…” Yet that trial, or broken road, can sure seem long and tedious, and not something we readily rejoice in!

Still, as we draw closer to our Lord in the difficulties, we realize He’s been drawing us close to Himself. He’s at work putting our broken pieces back together to make us complete, to restore us. How often haven’t we felt His love surround us when the path is hard and long, and we seemed so alone?  Haven’t we looked back to see He’s carried us at times when we’ve done all we could and felt as though we couldn’t take one more step? And isn’t He the one who sent someone to wrap their arms around us, with an ear to listen to our heart, words to heal, and arms to hold us up and help us stand… until we felt stronger and able to function again?  Just like Paul wrote, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  (Philippians 4:13)

Recently I read about the Japanese artform of Kintsugi (golden joinery), or Kintsukuroi (golden repair). These are terms for a special type of repair to broken pottery which began in about the 15th century. Artisans take gold, silver or platinum dust, mix it with a special lacquer or resin, and apply it to the broken pieces. As they fit the broken pieces together, the shattered pottery is made whole again. Typically, the broken vessel becomes even more beautiful in its new state of repair—broken beauty, in other words!

No matter what we go through, God will bring comfort and peace to our heart when we look to Him for strength to face each trial.  He has it all under control, and even has a reason for taking us through the storms, allowing us to grow and heal through the difficult journey.  He welcomes us as broken people, and makes something beautiful from our shattered pieces of life! 

Then comes the day when we realize we’re healed… maybe not exactly as we’d wanted… but the pain no longer has a grip on us… for our brokenness has been used to heal a weakness!  It has given us a better understanding of life with a greater empathy for others, with peace like a comforting blanket… enabling us to come alongside someone else who is struggling and overwhelmed as we “encourage the disheartened [and] help the weak...” (I Thessalonians 5:14)  For we know that God has used our trial in such a way that we now shine a light from within that we never knew we had… as we’ve gone from broken to beautiful in God’s restorative eyes!

Broken Beauty
Linda A. Roorda

Like a beautiful vase
Our life is shattered
Like so many shards
Of broken glass
Where once there was
A vessel whole, unbroken.

Trials of life
Came crashing down
To take their toll
Inflicting damage
Leaving emotions raw
Trying to destroy
The joy from within.

There comes a day
When it’s time
To pick up the pieces
And one by one
To then reclaim
The former beauty
Of the vessel treasured.

An effort ensues
To fit the pieces
Back together
In such a way
That there will shine
Illuminating brilliance
Never before seen.

An inner strength
Has taken hold
So that the pieces
Broken and scattered
In coming together
Now give the vessel
A broken beauty!

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