Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Broken Pots

Having been raised by the hot-glue-gun-queen who saw something salvageable in every collectible she owned (no matter how many times my brothers broke them), I had taken a different route than my mother.  If it was damaged, I tossed it.  “Life’s too short to deal with broken junk” became my motto.  So when I was challenged at a women’s retreat to break a piece of pottery… then glue it back together… on purpose, I began to question just what kind of nutcases were running the show!

I was told it would be therapeutic.  The process of breaking a piece of clay would bring insight and introspective wisdom to my soul. (Can you hear my sarcasm?)  The plan was to aid with “healing deep hurts and buried grief”.  Personally, I thought it was crazy!  Breaking a perfectly good piece of pottery didn’t jive with my too-practical personality – but I went along with it.

As the idea grew on me, I finally chose a pitcher that held value to me – both monetarily and sentimentally.  Placing the pitcher in a Walmart sack, I raised it up in the air, cringed, and slammed it against the ground.  The clanking sound of broken pottery left a heaviness in my heart that surprised me, and as I later sat in the corner of that convention center patching it back together, I realized that maybe those “nutcases” were onto something! 

Piece by piece I saw parallels of life in that broken pottery.   We start out with pristine perfection -a life of value and beauty.  Time goes by and if life’s’ experiences don’t slowly chip away at us; it’s the crushing blows against the pavement that finally does us in.   My heart ached for the girl I once was - the perfect, carefree life without its flaws and imperfections.   To me, the past was where my value was.  Situations and circumstances had changed who I was, and I couldn’t say that I particularly loved the scars my heart now held. “There was nothing attractive about Him, nothing to cause us to take a second look, a Man who suffered , who knew pain firsthand.”

I turned the broken shards carefully in my hands, careful not to cut myself.  Some pieces made no sense to me, and to be honest, I didn’t know where to begin with putting the pitcher back together.   But slowly and methodically, I became familiar with each piece and with great care began to restore the pot back to its original shape.  

As I worked, a question began to form in my mind.  “Is this how God feels about me?  Does He see value in my brokenness?”  Tears formed in my eyes as I realized that God Himself knows each intimate part of my life – enough to be able to rebuild it again!  “But the fact is, it was our pains He carried – our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.”

By the time I had finished recreating the broken pitcher, I had come to love it more than ever. The slices on my fingers stood to prove that my own rough edges had certainly hurt my Jesus, still He hadn’t given up on me.  “But it was our sins that…ripped, tore and crushed Him – our sins!  …Through his bruises, we get healed!”

One area bothered me though.  Towards the bottom of the pitcher was a hole.  The pieces that belonged there had been crushed beyond repair.  I worried over it for some time before God spoke to me about it, “It is here My light can shine through the brightest.”  Suddenly the jagged, ugly hole didn’t look so horrid anymore, nor did the imperfections on my own heart!  I had known all along, but somehow now it became clearer that true beauty shines brighter through brokenness!  “The plan was…that He’d see life come from it – life, life and more life!”
The pitcher now holds a place of honor on my dining room table.  Each time I look at it, it reminds me of the value I hold in Jesus’ eyes, and it challenges me to let His light shine through my life.   

The Easter story intrigues me in many ways.  Numerous prophecies were fulfilled during those three sad days, but one fact that comforts me and brings me to my knees is this. The thirty pieces of silver used to betray Jesus eventually bought “the potter’s field”.  The Potter’s field was a place to discard the damaged, broken and rejected pots.  

What appeared to hold little value to many gives hope today to those whose lives are damaged, broken and rejected.  Jesus purchased the potter’s field with His life.  Just like my mother with her hot glue gun, Jesus sees worth in our brokenness.  

This Easter, remember that He refuses to throw you away.  He longs to rebuild your life.  He has a purpose for you!


Anonymous said...

That was beautiful, how true it is that God sees the beauty in us when we see only the brokenness. Thanks for sharing your gift with us.

Amy said...

Great article, Lynette!