Kintsugi – The Beauty of Brokenness

Kintsugi - The beauty of brokenness

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 are actually 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 actually 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.

Cosmetics -

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.”
John 8:32

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 actually 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.”
John 20:27

The scars Jesus bears continue to prove His identity. Scars identify us too! They prove God’s faithfulness to heal and restore our brokenness.

The Beauty of 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
into safety.”
Maslow

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!

Graphed In

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.”
Romans 11:18

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. Kinsugi 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.”
Deuteronomy 30:3 

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.

[bctt tweet=”Do not hide your scars. Instead, paint them gold, and let them glow in the sun. For they are the cracks that let your soul breathe. e.m.” username=”MAWardAuthor”]

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Further Reading

Gold and Silver – Refined Through Suffering

Never! 8 Things God Will Never Do

Before and After! God’s Transformation at Work!

Before and after? You would think my husband and I enjoy renovating and transforming old spaces into new more practical versions. However, what is truly amazing is God’s transformation at work in human lives!

We have several before and after pictures of kitchen, bath, and landscape renovations. The work of transformation is usually a messy process. Our vision of the end result drives us forward! There is always a cost associated with reconstruction. Sometimes it is higher than initial estimates; at other times we have been right on target.

My First Home

My father built our family farm-house from design to finish. It stood the test of time surviving the fury of even a prairie tornado! Four generations lived within its walls creating memories.

Transformation from farm house to cottage!

Now it has been moved to a nearby lake and rests securely as beachfront property. Though it looks much the same, the surrounding landscape is radically different from its original location. I smile when I think of what an avid fisherman my father was. He would be pleased to see his workmanship in this scenic spot.

Today new generations are enjoying my father’s labours.

God’s Choice

God is the Master of transformation! We see His workmanship igniting destiny and bringing purpose into seemingly ordinary people.

As we consider God’s choices for forerunners in the church, we justly scratch our heads in wonder. At the same time, we can take hope from these unlikely candidates! Most of them got off to a rather poor start!

  • Paul bored someone to death by his sermon! Fortunately he was also able to resurrect the poor lad!
  • Peter who often had at least one sandal stuck in his mouth became the apostle to the Jews. You can be sure these scholars examined his every word!
  • Mary, a former prostitute, led the first woman’s ministry to the tomb and became the first to declare Jesus’ resurrection
  • The Sons of Thunder, who were known to fight for “top dog” position, settled into stride promoting others to places of honour and authority!

Diamonds in the Rough - From Rough to Refined!

All of them were diamonds in the rough before God began His work! He had vision to see their potential!

We can find strength and encouragement from even these few examples! Knowing God used murderers, prostitutes, and shepherds, I know He can use anyone! If God deliberately chose the weak and fearful, it is not unreasonable to believe that He can and will use you and me! Because God chose to use the unlikely, ill-equipped, social rejects, and family outcasts, He is perfectly capable of using us!

God’s transformation is so complete in the lives He touches, there is little similarity between the before and after!

Hope

“Remember … that few of you
were wise in the world’s eyes
or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish
in order to shame those who think they are wise.
And he chose things that are powerless
to shame those who are powerful.”
I Corinthians 1:26-28

I’m in the list! Right here is where I do my happy dance! I fit!

Celebrate God's transformation working in us!

Foolish? Weak? Yes! I qualify!
Lowly? Despised? Check! Check!
Things that are not? Yes, that’s me!

Here is where I am filled with awe! When I face the reality of my humanity, I fall helpless and breathless in the wonder of His love, mercy and grace!

God choosing me is too wonderful to understand!

[bctt tweet=”We all possess the need to be known fully and loved unconditionally!” username=”MAWardAuthor”]

We all possess the need to be known fully and loved unconditionally! God alone does both, and more! He alone satisfies and fills the deepest craving for absolute acceptance and unconditional love!

Transformation

My question is why! When there is no good thing in and of myself, why would You choose me?

“to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who has become for us wisdom from God—
that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.”
I Corinthians 1:28-30

Our weakness and insufficiency amplifies His greatness and goodness!

The first step, my husband and I do in renovation, is take apart what presently exists, removing walls, wiring and plumbing. We go right to the structural elements! Later, we start again replacing faulty materials with new.

God does much the same in us! It is a lifelong process that one day will be perfectly perfect! Some day we will be completely complete! But not here!

[bctt tweet=”It is a lifelong process that one day will be perfectly perfect! Some day we will be completely complete!” username=”MAWardAuthor”]

There is only one adequate response, worship!

God is the only One worthy of worship!

Chosen

God has chosen each one of us! Contemplate that for a moment! Every one of us, hand-picked, specifically selected, divinely appointed, highly favoured,  and elected for Him, through Him and by Him!

The Mighty God,
Creator of all things,
Redeemer, Saviour, Friend,
The Anchor of our souls and Hope eternal,
King above all other kings, The Lord of lords,
The One upon the throne,
our Shepherd, Light and Salvation,
who holds all things secure in the palm of His hand,
whose strength flashes like lightning,
and whose voice resounds like thunder,
too big for any box we might want to put Him in,
beyond understanding,
from everlasting to everlasting limitless,
self-existed, omnipresent, all-powerful,
knowing all things and seeing all things,
Love unconditional and undeniable,
wild and holy,
dwelling in irreproachable light,
nothing can stand against Him, no power can limit Him,
His mercies are new every morning
 faithful to all He has promised….

Seeing from heaven's perspective!

The One and only God has chosen, called and ordained you and me unto Himself! He is committed to seeing each of us rise to the fullness of our potential.

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely,
and may your whole spirit and soul and body
be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
I Thessalonians 5:23-24

His transformation process continues in each of us! Rejoice in His faithfulness!

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More on Transformation: Meeting God in the Ordinary – From Common to Holy

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