I apologize this didn’t get out on Saturday as planned. I was blessed to be present with family and friends. To encourage others in need and to be blessed in return.
And now back to regular programming 🙂
Have you heard of the Japanese art, Kintsukuroi?
This ancient art developed because a beloved piece of pottery broke—a tea bowl, according to legend. Motivated by a deep sorrow to see anything wasted and lifestyle that embraces change, some innovative craftsmen sought to discover a way to revitalize pottery pieces that had been damaged.
This concept is hard to fathom for those of us who live in a throw-it-away, disposable culture.
When something breaks, we tend to toss it and replace it with something new, better, and bigger. When something is damaged, it’s lost its value in our eyes. When something cracks, it’s rendered worthless. When something shatters, it’s discarded as garbage.
However, unknowingly, these craftsmen created a beautiful representation of how Christ sees us. They helped us visualize what He desires to do with our lives, circumstances, relationships, hopes, dreams, plans, _____________(you fill in the blank).
Like Jesus, those craftsmen saw the value and beauty in brokenness and were determined to find an aesthetically pleasing way to bring those objects back to life while enhancing their value. These craftsmen celebrated the imperfect. They delighted in the flawed. They recognized damaged does not equal worthless, insignificant, irrelevant, or unimportant.
And they succeeded!
They created an effective and beautiful bonding material by mixing powdered gold or silver into the sticky sap collected from sumac trees. (Today’s artists use lacquer in place of the sap.) And as they carefully pieced an object back together, they watched it transcend from mundane to exceptional and rare. From ordinary to extraordinary.
Instead of masking the brokenness, they enhanced it. Instead of disguising the scars, they embellished them. Celebrated them. Expanded them. These craftsmen strengthened the original vessel while maintaining some of its fragility. And in the process, they restored the ability of that vessel to function. They restored its purpose.
Each finished piece is independent of the next because each breaking pattern is personal to circumstances and events that caused that object to break. Which means the golden lacework is individual. Customized. Specific to the precise needs of that particular object—even though the method of repair is the same.
The results are breathtaking!
These craftsmen took the unsightly “ugly,” the disgraceful mistakes, the embarrassing circumstances into their hands and carefully, painstakingly made them exceptional.
In most cases, the healing was about jig-sawing the pieces back together. But sometimes, the damage was so extensive that a few of the necessary pieces were too destroyed to use. So the master craftsman would either fill in the gaps with the gold-laced sap or fit in a contrasting piece of pottery perfectly shaped to fit the hole.
Beloved, we have a penchant to see something broken as ruined, defective, and worthless. When it’s an innate object, it’s sad, but not the end of the world. But when that broken thing is a person—a person’s life, marriage, family, plans, hopes, or dreams it’s a completely different story, isn’t it? Especially when that broken one is you.
This week’s memory verse is Ephesians 3:20
What does that have to do with Kintsukuroi? Everything.
Most, if not all of us, know what it is to be fractured. Cracked. Broken. Fragmented.
And some of us know what it is to be shattered. Split open. Devastated. Wrecked.
In other words, we’ve all been hurt, “damaged” by various afflictions.
We. All. Have. Scars.
If you’ve read my bio, you know I have deep wounds. Wounds that took a long time to heal. But they did heal, leaving a network of massive scars behind.
God lovingly, painstakingly took my slivered fragments and put them back together one piece at a time. And the holes that were left behind? He filled them in with His grace, mercy, and love.
In the process, I was changed. I’m not the same woman I was before—and I couldn’t be more thankful for that! Though I loved Jesus and believed in Him, I’m now in love with Jesus and believe Him. I have a passion for His word I never knew was possible. I have a burning in my heart that wasn’t there before to disciple college-aged adults who don’t know what it is to follow Jesus. I have a yearning to reach the Lost with the Good News of the Gospel I never knew existed.
Every day I see my scars and remember when I tried to hide them. I put on a mask and pretended they didn’t exist. Then one day I remembered Jesus also has scars. Deep wounds that we can see and touch. And other wounds we can not—Judas’s betrayal, the disciples’ scattering, Peter’s denial, our unbelief, my sin.
He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 1 Peter 2:24
God used Jesus’ wounds to heal me. To restore me. To save me. To give me purpose and life. Who am I to keep my wounds from being used by Him?
Dear One, my scars are a sign of my healing BECAUSE of the Master Craftsman! They’re not something to be ashamed of, embarrassed by. They’re not something to hide. They are something to celebrate!
Each time [Jesus] said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I [Paul] am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Satan wants us to bury our hurts. Ignore our wounds. And hide our scars. He knows that broken people are the most effective for sharing Jesus’s message to other broken people. When I think back to those I have learned the most from—teachers, preachers, writers, authors—I realized it was because I related to them. To their challenges. To their hurts. To their wounds. Each and every one of them has Scars that Shine! Each one celebrated their weaknesses, imperfections, and flaws in light of who Jesus is in their lives.
Beloved, this is why Jesus chose to come to earth and clothe himself in humanity. To relate to us on our terms. On our level. To SHOW us how to live despite our brokenness, hurts, wounds, and scars. He offers His healing touch and then sends us out to tell others about it. (Matthew 8:28-34; 28:16-20)
When I decided to let Him have my scars, to use them for His glory, it was the first time I realized they radiated in The Light, His Light. They gleamed with gold! It was the first time I grasped that Jesus had taken what was “ugly” and made it beautiful.
So in January, when I laid out my plans, hopes, and dreams for this year, I was sure to bathe them in prayer for weeks ahead of time. When I wrote them down, I prayed through them again and again. My confidence affirmed.
But then life happened. And I wrote: “When Crap Spews.”
Ever since February, I feel like I’ve been playing catch-up. Trying to get all the pieces of the plan I had so carefully crafted back into place. I felt like a failure. I believed I was letting God down because I wasn’t fulfilling what He called me to do. My self-confidence was in the toilet, and I was certain I’d heard Him wrong.
The plan I was so sure He had blessed was mangled and splintered all around me. I was doing all I could to gather the shards and put them back together. But I was making an even bigger mess! My fingers were sticking to the pieces, superglue was everywhere, bonding everything but the plan together. My hair…yeeeeah, I’m sure you can picture it.
And then in my frantic frenzy, one of my scars caught The Light, casting a flicker on the wall. I looked all over trying to find the source when I felt Jesus’ hand on my shoulder. His other hand was open, waiting for me to hand over the mess I’d made. Gently He removed the sticky mess from and on my hands. And my hair…
Then He whispered: “Baby the plan is still good, but it needs my touch. You gave yourself deadlines to stay motivated and to keep you moving. Mile markers to keep you on track and on pace. Which is exactly what you should do! But they became your driving force, not me. You took control and didn’t let me lead. You held to your deadlines so rigidly that you missed where I was taking you. Baby, there’s more I want from you, so much more I have for you to do, so much more I want to give you—things you have never dreamed of. Things even your imagination can’t fathom. Things your heart has never thought to ask. So your plan needs to change. The essence is the same, the DNA of it hasn’t altered, but I need to add my touch. My direction. I need to fill the gaps.”
I still have no idea what all God has in store for me. But I’ve come to the conclusion I won’t fully know for a while—if ever. And that’s ok! He has given me glimpses of where He’s leading me and this ministry. He’s stirred my heart with anticipation. Now, how I’m going to get from here to there? I have no idea. But I will be adhering to Christine Caine’s advice and following in her footsteps for my ministry:
Start to pray bold, audacious prayers! I’ve made it a habit to pray that God would continually surprise me and expand my realm of understanding to see His plan.
Beloved, chances are you are also sitting there with shattered pieced. Trying to figure out how they all fit together. Whether that’s a plan, a business, a marriage, a relationship, a future, a family, a___________. Put yourself and the whole mess in Jesus’ hands. Let Him put the pieces together, and let Him fill in the missing gaps.
When He’s done, I guarantee you too will have Scars that Shine!
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus, I ask that those who don’t know you will choose to accept you as their Savior today and receive your gift of salvation.
Jesus, I pray you will take our brokenness and heal it, even if it’s the first time, the hundredth time. I ask you to help us clean up the mess we’ve made and restore us. I thank you, Lord, for healing our brokenness and shame. Jesus, take our scars and use them for your glory—make our SCARS SHINE!
I pray Isaiah 61:1-3 over all of us today:
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.
And all God’s People said, AMEN!