There are so many broken places in my life, and they kind of remind me of broken china. We drop a plate, bowl, cup or saucer on the floor and it shatters apart in all directions turning into many shards, some big pieces, some little pieces. Splinters of broken glass lie apart from one another when just moments ago they were all together in one beautiful, cohesive, functional piece. Our precious china is ruined, there is no way to glue it back together and make it function as it did before. There’s been so many of those instances in my life. Treasured items from my grandmother, or great grandmother that exist no longer. Each piece of beloved china served our family well, it’s beauty and functionality treasured and lasting for years and years. Now gone, it’s glory days are over. Swept up by a broom and tossed into the garbage to head to it’s final resting place buried under rubble discarded by all of us, never to see the light of day again.
Other than being upset about losing something that belongs to my heritage, eventually I moved on and forgot about those long discarded pieces of my broken history. Then years ago, I attended a women’s weekly Bible study. Each week one of the leaders of the study would present a teaching based upon whatever chapter in the Bible Study happened to be next up. I don’t remember the name of the study now, but I vividly remember the lesson. She passed around a basket that was filled with broken pieces of china, each coming from someone’s old treasured collection. We each took out one of those broken pieces.
As we each held our broken piece of china, she spoke about just how broken each and everyone of us are. She took up some of those broken, useless pieces of china one by one and began to address each piece. She likened how each piece represents those things in our lives that cause us to feel broken. Broken by relationships, broken by harsh words, broken by betrayal, broken by mistakes, broken by ignorance, broken by disappointments, broken by the loss of loved ones, broken by illness, broken by dreams that never materialized. Piece after piece of broken china moved through her hands. She told us that she’d lead a vey broken life, and like many of us experienced many a dark time. Then she talked about what God taught her about life through these pieces of broken china.
As I listened in rapt attention, totally caught up in her teaching and story, she was weaving for me a lesson that I never, ever will forget. God was speaking precious truths through her. While each broken piece of china could be, and usually is, discarded into oblivion, there’s an underlying, unbelievable amount of beauty in each one of those shards. By themselves they offer no obvious purpose, but when pieced together into some type of form, they can become a beautiful work of art for others to enjoy. She then brought out samples of garden stepping stones that she had created from similar like shards. Wonderful, beautiful mosaics that wove a story together about the return from brokenness into useful, purposeful, reflections of the creative genius of it’s creator.
Just as in those mosaics that she produced, God does that, and even more in each of our lives. God uses broken people. He takes every broken place, every broken experience and makes them whole, he makes them new and repurposed. He weaves us into a reflection of a most majestic mosaic that lives, moves, and breathes to better reflect His glory and draw others to His Son, Jesus.
I have never looked at a broken plate, bowl, or cup the same way again. Each piece that lays scattered across the floor of my home, can be re-used and repurposed into a work of art when placed into the hands of a creator. It leads me to be very thankful to God for those broken places in my life. I pray that with each day, with each step, with each breath, the mosaic that God, the true creator of all that is good, is producing from my fears, failures, and brokenness draws others into an everlasting life with Him.
How about you? How has God taken your broken places and used them to create the mosaic that is your life?
“The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” (Psalms 34:18, ESV)
* Cross mosaic from: Deep in the Heart Mosaics