About a year ago I came across an article online on kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with gold. While I am no expert on Japanese art, I was really drawn to the image of a bowl whose cracks glistened gold – no longer were the cracks imperfection, but rather they were the most valuable part of the piece. As I read on I found that in Kintsukuroi there is an understanding that each piece is more beautiful for having been broken.
We all have broken places in our lives. The cracks in my soul are formed by trauma, grief, doubt, fear, the things I am just not good at and the moments when I have missed the mark. Although I know the reality that I cannot hide anything from God, over the years I have certainly tried to hide these places of brokenness in my life – from God, from my community, and from myself.
Somehow it seemed easier to project confidence when I didn’t feel it or to make light of the challenges and fears instead of sharing what was really going on. I think I had been masking weakness for so long that I wasn’t even aware I was doing it. But this is starting to change and I am so thankful for the vision God is giving me to see Him create beauty from my ashes.
At home group, we have been studying the book of Judges. Last week, we looked at the story of Gideon. When we first meet Gideon, he is hiding in a winepress threshing wheat when an angel of the Lord appears to Gideon and says, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” (Judges 6:12) Really?! The guy is so afraid that he is hiding in a winepress. But Gideon’s weakness does not seem to bother God. In fact, one could argue that Gideon was picked because of his weakness, not in spite of it.
As the story continues Gideon gathers a massive army to help him with this mighty warrior calling but God tells Gideon there are too many soldiers and sends 99% of them home. In the end, the weapons of battle are trumpets, torches, and confusion. God is victorious! The army is so small and Gideon is so weak that the people don’t give glory to Gideon or his army but to God.
When we feel weak, afraid, and overwhelmed, all we need to do is turn to God. To trust God to follow His lead – He will provide the rest.
Gideon heard God’s calling. He’s calling us too.
I hear him saying, Linda, I have a plan, I will use the broken places in your life, don’t be afraid to ask for help, stop trying to hide your fears, your weaknesses, your insecurities, they are beautiful to me, let my Spirit fill you – in my power I will transform your greatest brokenness into my greatest glory.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7