Kintsugi is a Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with a special lacquer dusted with powdered gold. Instead of attempting to hide brokenness, the lines become accentuated with gold celebrating the pottery’s history. The uniquely fashioned seams glint with gold, bringing beauty from brokenness.
I never realized how many “broken” possessions I value:
my grandfather’s wooden wagon wheel
my great-grandmother’s vase
a favorite pair of jeans
hockey sticks repurposed into garden stakes
a tire rim fire pit
a piece of beach glass art
even a Christmas tree topper.
None of them compare to the beautiful pieces of kintsugi; nonetheless, they are precious even in their brokenness.
I have come to realize lately that God is exposing and accentuating my brokenness. He is “kintsuging” me!
I would much prefer that my brokenness remain concealed, masked or hidden from public scrutiny. As a matter of fact, I try my best to do just that. I’m not alone! The cosmetic industry tops $62 billion annually – that is a lot of concealing imperfections and finding new beauty.
God recognizes beauty in us, just as we are. It isn’t just women who struggle to grasp this God perspective, we all do.
The Pain of Brokenness
Kintsugi recognizes breakage is part of the history of any object. How do we value and even embrace the beauty while living in the pain of brokenness?
Brokenness can seriously limit our ability to freely choose and presently live to our fullest potential. Pain has the ability to densely cloud our perception of personal identity, worth and purpose.
I can personally testify how the gold of God’s truth can infuse even the most crushing moments and reveal His design and glory in the midst of overbearing tragedy or loss.
“And you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free.”
The psalms simply say, “He sent his word, and healed them and snatching them from the door of death.” The truth of God’s word gently breathes life back into our shattered pieces. His truth sets us free to see brokenness from a higher and eternal vantage point.
At one time I had many delicate and beautiful ornaments; many were gifts. Then we had five sons! Few of these delicate pieces survived! I wish I would have known about kintsugi then.
Brokenness may scar us, but it will never diminish our value! As a matter of fact, after the Master Artist remakes us, we hold even greater distinction!
Scars of Beauty
In Kintsugi, scars become the most valuable and beautiful part of the whole.
I honour those who bear their scars well. Scars are the solid evidence of survival and over coming difficulties. They form the beautiful marks of an enduring life!
That Jesus would maintain His scars after the resurrection is a marvel to me. He didn’t need to! He chose to!
“Then he said to Thomas,
“Put your finger here; see my hands.
Reach out your hand and put it into my side.
Stop doubting and believe.”
The scars Jesus bears continue to prove His identity. Scars identify us too! They prove God’s faithfulness to heal and restore our brokenness.
Scars are the marks of our personal journey between birth and death. They are the road map of experiences we have lived through, conquered, and overcome leaving us better than before.
“You will either step forward
into growth, or you will step back
In Guatemala, a man who had been healed of extremely large stomach cancers revealed his deep scars with pride. They were evidence to Christ’s healing power in his life. The physicians said, “You will die!” Christ spoke the contrary, “You will surely live!” Live is what this man was doing years later!
Sometimes in Kintsugi, a brand-new piece is graphed in.
“do not consider yourself to be superior
to those other branches.
If you do, consider this:
You do not support the root,
but the root supports you.”
Sometimes Kintsugi is two individual pieces graphed together. They actually create a brand-new form, quite different from the original – a delicate and unique work of art.
God has specifically designed each of us to bear both similarities and differences to every other person. Kintsugi reminds me of this truth.
When I hear of the God-stories of others, I am hushed in amazement knowing only God could create such beauty out from horrendous brokenness:
a baby given a name meaning “you shall die”
becomes a light-bearing torch of hope to nations;
a woman poisoned, beaten and left in the bush –
now speechless but speaking life to many other broken;
a young girl abandoned and severely abused
teaching and loving children to life;
refugees escaping, then returning, home to spread the Gospel of Peace;
drug addicts ministering in rehab centers;
former prostitutes delivering hope to the streets
they once walked….
These new lives bear no resemblance to the old!
Beauty of Brokenness
When hope shatters against the cruel pavement of life, beauty seems impossible to visualize. Impossible that is until The Master, takes each broken piece in His gentle hands and creates a new and beautiful masterpiece.
“So I went down to the potter’s house,
and I saw him working at the wheel.
But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands;
so the potter formed it into another pot,
shaping it as seemed best to him.”
Jeremiah 18: 3-4
No matter how marred and broken, God reforms, reshapes and repurposes our lives. As a matter of fact, when He is finished the result appears so perfect, we wonder if this wasn’t His “Plan A” all along.
God is never the one who breaks or harms us. We have an enemy who is bent on stealing, killing, and destroying any worth or value we possess. God is THE Ultimate Restorer!
“God, your God, will restore everything you lost;
he’ll have compassion on you;
he’ll come back and pick up the pieces
from all the places where you were scattered.”
Kintsugi is both a beautiful art form and a fitting illustration of God’s compassionate working in each of our lives. Every place of brokenness is a gold vein of God’s love and mercy. It shouts to all, “God is faithful!”
So, the next time we meet, ask, and I just might let you see my scars.