The Priceless Value of Shattered Things

It’s confession time: I have an addiction. It started years ago. Short on cash but high on creativity, secondhand stores and antique shops became my go-to spots for getting stuff.

Trust
(Image from Pixabay)

I figured someone’s trash could become my treasure, with the help of some power tools, paint, and my sewing machine. (Thanks to Pinterest and DIY Web sites, how-to videos are plentiful when I’m in a pinch.)

Over time, I’ve noticed a trend. A lot of great stuff gets tossed out because of a little chip or dent, a scratch here, a tear there. How quickly we tend to diminish an object’s value if there’s a slight imperfection. We want something . . .

  • Bigger
  • Better
  • Glossy
  • Polished to perfection

Mending Cracks

While preparing for an interview recently, I came across a restoration process dating back to the 1500s called “Kintsugi” (sounds like “kent-soo-gee”).

The ancient Japanese tradition was founded on the belief that broken things (ceramics and fine china) have greater value when restored using the Kintsugi process.

Here’s how Kintsugi works: the restorer places a fine ceramic glue on the cracks or broken pieces of china then brushes over the glue with very fine, exquisite flecks of real gold.

When the piece has no replacement for the broken or chipped spot, another piece is fitted into the place which adds value because it requires the use of more gold.

It is common to find these restored Kintsugi pieces in places of royalty, as well as in common homes. The beauty and color of this china lined with layers of gold is remarkable.

You probably know where I’m going with this metaphor. Why is it that, most often, we devalue broken things . . . and broken people?

If someone has a visual deformity or mental disability, for example, often we consider the person to be of less value—and sometimes of little to no value.

But here’s the catch: Scripture clearly communicates that our human condition is flawed . . . broken beyond repair. Our value comes totally and completely from Christ, the Creator of each priceless life, who promises to restore our broken souls.

broken

(Image from Pixabay)

While on earth and without Christ, we ALL are damaged goods; imperfect, weak, laden with cracks and holes in all our humanity.

In his gospel, the apostle John writes about faith in Jesus Christ using the word believe or believing, followed by a preposition which means “into,” signifying that faith in Jesus Christ is to be active, dynamic, transforming, ongoing . . . a commitment that changes our attitudes and actions through life.

  1. John 6:29 summarizes the primacy of the call to TRUST . . . to BELIEVE God is everything He says He is.
  2. John 8:31 demonstrates the SURRENDER that occurs when we rest in God’s truth, His Word.
  3. John 15:1–17 describes the transforming process God does in us as we remain connected to Him. He is the rooted vine; we are grafted into the vine when we abide in Him, which is an active, daily choice.

Beauty in the Cracks

Kintsugi provides a visual metaphor of the beauty and value our fractured lives gain as the One who created us restores us as we faithfully trust Him.

Did you know that in Kintsugi china, gold reflects light far more brightly than typical ceramic pieces? Some are so shattered it is impossible to fill all the holes.

Some of the most valued pieces are ones that have the largest cracks. Through any place there is an opening, the gold shimmers rays of glorious light.

On this earth, no one will ever be fully whole. But John reminds us that the Holy Spirit is the gold that binds our broken places. He is the treasure in earthen vessels that indwells those who place their faith in God. Listen to how Paul describes it in 2 Corinthians 4:7–10:

We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.

Our broken places are used by God to announce the compassion and life of Jesus to those around us.

Let Me Hear from You

Perhaps it’s time to take a Kintsugi approach to how we evaluate whom we value—after all, that’s what Jesus does in His love for each of us. In my life, I have many, many broken places; but I know my value is abundant ONLY because of Christ who daily restores my soul.

Where I am most broken, my prayer is that the light of Jesus Christ shines through.

Next time you’re tempted to toss out something, to label someone as lesser than, remember: there is an eternal restoration process through Christ who makes all things new. Where can you apply the Kintsugi practice in your life today?

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

  • Leesa

    Hello Colleen,
    I hope that you are well and your family and enjoying the fall season. I wanted share that your friend with son Max and her and Max autism testimonial at movie theater and life story and it is being shared on the radio station I listen to right now, HisRadio.com. WOW. She is loved and Max is so Loved!!! Wish I can give big hugs, I pray for God deliver her and Max great big incredible hugs .
    I struggling with a few things, but Lord is right besdie me, this morning led me to a Church class lesson that was exactly what I needed today, for my finances been praying now a long while, really since purchased house and to current how to get feet out of mud from before baptism and from time after purchased house debts got too hefty,asking the Lord months now how to pay off, and how or where to apply myself in months to come then today in concern of dental 1000.oo needed by Friday, is not where I need be finanacially, then there is Psalm 23 came before me and I kneeled by bedside and as lesson taught how to use each verse to pray to God, so I did exactly that .
    Sorry I do not have time right now read , wanted to let you know about your precious friend and her precious son Max sharing amazing testimony on readio, thinking of you. I LOVE MAX.and I LOVE you and JON too. Your friend really inspired me by her lamenting and faith and trust she knows when we “run with perserverance”. Emily, and her book being promoted on radio, “dancing with Max” how beautiful is that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! “Hold on to the strength and truth of Jesus Christ as He holds onto us, because truth does not change” is what I take with me , which so delighted hear someone who understands this strength and perseverance,. Also this is timely after listening to the debate of Dr William Craig and Dr Atkins who is an atheist, listened last nite from my apologetics class, so disturbing. So Yes I keep running to our precious Lord Jesus Christ, sorry not a lot time check in. I will when have more time to do so.
    Have a BLessed day
    Love Leesa

    • Leesa,
      Emily and Max are two incredible people. When and if you ever have time, you can watch my interview with Emily recorded several years ago. She is an outstanding mother and Max is a delight! Great to hear from you! You sound a little stressed so I’m praying the God of all peace, all joy, all strength invades your soul and brings you a peace beyond all understanding. Much love and care, Colleen

      • Leesa

        Hello Colleen
        Thank you for prayer ! I will intend look up this interview with Emily on Reframing Ministries
        I will update you soon as to all happening .
        Have a great evening
        Thank you again for prayer
        Love
        Leesa

        • Leesa, You bet. Praying today!

          • Leesa

            Thank you Colleen
            I am going meditate on John verses before lunch Applyimg the kintsugi process , and believing Jesus hands shining into me gold rays of His light and love
            Thank you
            With Gratitude
            Leesa

  • Leesa

    Hello Colleen,
    I wanted to say Thank you again for prayers yesterday, as I felt a warmth of God surrounding me with comfort and peace My middle sister called and this was second time since my last visit in AUgust and I was happy she is making the effort to talk with me. She was thankful for all my prayers and those prayers requested at Church and radio for her as kidney went remarkably down to lower stage 3 from the higher side of stage 4. We had a good conversation. She is only sibling I can say all to, and I mentioned my not coming up Christmas time. She was saddened and understood though, and we discussed how my recent trigger of not feeling loving care from other siblings not keeping up with me, and she and I talked about this. and helped my perspective of youngest brother really is very busy with work and children. She also said she thinks of me all the time. It was a warm conversation that meant the most of all, and she commented I had not sounded happy in beginning of conversation but as we talked she could hear me smiling and happy.
    I also went to Art Therapy and holding back tears the entire ride, had shared with my sister the pain that was coming up and that last of unresolved anger about lacking family support for the times I came forth needing them most in past, and it was necessary take the steps to show up and express what deep within to let it all go. So I did last nite ,we had to draw from our worst experience what feeling was and then where our good space or feeling is of what positive healthy “sense” we use to comfort ourselves. Mine was the HOly Spirit, and bringing Jesus into my soul. It was soft colors and soft yellow like the gold in center circle (it was mandalas we created for each so circular) the negative image was I was told most powerful image of worst experience, and I did crysome with group,and was supported. I waited til last as I was perspiring during drawing as I know my emotions bottled up were releasing physically. It was good and Art Therapist told me I get an A+ for last nite. I expressed a lot of how I stopped art way back between 19-24 in my own art therapy college class when negative anger popped up in art and realized how angry I had been and could not cope with that being my expression, and it changed my art so I stopped, and I mentioned the lack of family support I learning has been a block and held me back from full functioning. In end she gave me a contact for an Art center in that town where she gave me name of individual who offers an art class to Brain Trauma veterans and disabled and said to call and see about voluinteering there, and she said the art center also has many artist studios where it will be good for me to be around, as she said I a true artist, so creative even in expression of speaking, poetry,etc. and that it will be good to be near and I need this distraction and to meet other artists as friends.
    I am so very grateful for your prayers to God for me, and I know that was why God sent my sister to me today for the warmth of conversation and feeling of love coming my way from her. She is making an effort only God is orchestrating between us and I enjoy this connection with her as she is on her healing journey with holistic dr now for first time in her life. She does have support of husband and youngest brother and funny my mom supportive of her. My mom never really supported my holistic approach diet etc, maybe because it more concrete for my mom that it for an organ /obvisou health issue for my sister? Overall both my mom and my sister are making efforts to stay connected with me.
    I will let you know how all is going. Today I have counseling to further dig into “trauma narrative” , I do feel release and letting go happening , just sense so.
    Have a great day,
    With Gratitude and loving care,
    Leesa

    • Leesa,
      It is amazing what art therapy does for us. When our brains are traumatized, they get frozen or stuck; inhibiting bi-lateral (both sides of the brain) connections. Because our language comes from one side (which helps us speak and understand our trauma narratives), and art/creativity comes from another region; art is a connecting piece for most traumatized people. My daughter is an amazing artist who wasn’t able to do art for a while due to trauma. I totally understand. The nurturing piece is vital…the fact that you have one sibling and your mother connecting with you in a warm way…is fantastic. It is incredibly rare to have family members who come from a toxic family system learn how to connect in a healthy, life-giving way. Most never have familial resolve; something the Lord seems to be orchestrating for you in His way and time. I can’t emphasize it enough, the Lord is opening hearts and hands for you….the art, the therapist suggestion to work with TBI and disabled individuals is so fantastic! You will care in a way that those without your history of trauma could never care. This is where II Corinthians 1:3-11 comes in…Paul the apostle is explaining he endured so many hardships he thought he would die at times. But due to the Lord’s comfort, he was equipped and enabled to care for others in a most loving way. That is one of the biggest pieces most miss when they refuse to deal with their own pain. It is in facing it, enduring it, getting help through it that we are equipped to help others in their time of need. You will be a fantastic addition to others in trauma healing. Leesa, you continue to stay at it, to work so hard and listen for God’s voice…what a powerful testament to your faith and trust in our Lord. You have come so far and I believe God will continue to use all of this for His glory and honor. Much love to you, Colleen

  • Lurlene

    Love this Colleen!! Thank u for reminding me to allow God to fill the cracks with Holy Spirit-Gold!
    How often I am reminded of the brokenness of us humans. Love that God just keeps restoring us!
    To vessels of honor verses broken pieces useful for nothing. ❤

    • Lurlene,
      It’s so good to hear from you. And yes, isn’t it a wonderful example…to know splintered pieces are of so much value when we allow our Lord and loving Shepherd to fill in the space with His beautiful, priceless healing touch.
      How are these days for you? Never forget, you are a masterpiece in our Lord’s eyes. Colleen

      • Lurlene

        Doing good post op 4 weeks, pathology no cancer!! So thankful! Tab is doing amazing! Miracle plus meds! I will never forget the walk through the valley of the shadow! God has been faithful and He will be in the future I know. And even in the brokenness of who Tab is, there is pure gold! We have been able to mine treasure from the darkness that is gold! Of course my mind goes to her first when reading blog but I took it for me personally too! Thank again for all you do and the encouragement to be real!

        • Lurlene,
          Post op…no cancer…I’ve been on the receiving end of those calls as well. What a glorious message to receive. Life reveals in so many ways, on so many levels just how necessary God is in life. I don’t know how people do it without Him! Great to hear you took heart to the post…I want us all to remember the surface challenges we face have a deeper meaning. I love the word “mine”; to dig deeper than ever before and find abundance, golden treasures not seen by human eyes. As you have done that, I can’t imagine what He has shown you…presence, love, care, patience, acceptance, peace….could go on and on. My Jon has had one of the hardest weeks in years; I’m mining right now; knowing the treasures are there…to be discovered in the days ahead. Stay at it girlfriend. You got a big fan for you here-love connecting with you! Have a great weekend, Colleen

          • Leesa

            Hello Colleen
            After I wrote I was able hear the Lord on Monday after my daily dialogue with God with prayer and worship and praise meditation . He directed me to look at why another crown fell out over nite and needed cancel that day for contractor to begin bathroom restoration and for the old patterns in my face after long while. And I heard him direct me to the forgiveness that I learned not to hold onto upon my fathers death last spring. It was validated by my seeing s Christian friend in park where I walk who I was speaking to about wonderful sermons by my pastor and she too has s wonderful pastor at her church . She exclaimed he spoke of Luke 23 and how we of the flesh need let go . We hold onto what is only going to hurt us not other person who is fine and just does not know any better. I knew right then and there God placed my friend with me at the park to clearly validate what he was directing me to hear
            I working on this. As I was gracious when my mom tekeogined last nite the first time after her hurting me Thanksgiving. It was short as I was eatting dinner out with a church friend
            I wanted to update you that the black mold was confirmed yesterday as contractor removed all bathroom walls and the wall behind shower completely covered with black mold and the five studs of that wall , all being replaced today. The tub will be removed today and I am pretty positive the mold will be found beneath tub as it as well is in sub floor beneath toilet. I am in a hotel as stated overnite with that being all exposed and could not use air for heat thinking it just would bring through house. So I hope to be able stay there tonite. It will be inconvenient not having shower and I can work through all that. I just concerned about mold and probability as I have believed in other areas that old water damage and I not able yet repair. This beginning and first step. I asked my pastor pray and he said definetly will be praying .
            I also am looking for work. Not sure where God leading me and I wonder if he is going lead me eventually sell this house ? I so pray for security and stability
            Have a beautiful day. The weather has been delightful here and I imagine ny you dry and mold as well
            Look forward to connecting soon. I apologize for long notes I was so glad to be able come here to express what was happening and seeking greater understanding through my being able express all I had
            Ultimately I was able hear clearly the Lord for direction
            With love
            Leesa

  • Lurlene

    Colleen just wanted u to know you are not alone. I know a week of hard can seem like a year. I have been praying for both you am John but felt like I needed to put It on paper so you could see and know. You pray for everyone else carry everyone else’s burdens so I wanted u to know I’m helping you the only way I can and that’s prayer!
    On a lighter note we have the same addiction to repurposing things and thrift storing…amazing treasures we find! I tell my kids I recycled way before it was the fad.
    To add to the thought for reusable, I love the idea we are in the human refurbashing business. May not be what we thought it was going to look like but oh the beauty found in a refurbished life when Jesus the Master of makeovers gets a hold of us and those we help.Love that He keeps making us over.
    Hugs

    • Lurlene,
      I cannot thank you enough for your note! The timing is truly God-inspired. Jon had several seizures and we have been in hospitals, getting tests done, so on…no firm answers but the work continues. So, your prayers helped get us through a spot he struggles with so often…hospitals and blood draws.
      Ok, we could be dangerous if you’re into it too…I love taking old stuff and repurposing it! Isn’t that a great tie-in; God sees a beautiful finished product but we often get in our own way as He’s at work….at least I do. So He’s got a lot of work going on in our home.
      Love connecting and again, thank you so very much for praying…we’re not out of the woods and your prayers mean more than you know. Colleen