It kind of just happened; I lost my grip, things were in the way, and when the pot came down, it came down hard. Into many dusty, jagged pieces, with a cringeworthy sound, this beautiful ceramic favourite seemed to find its fate on the garage floor.
I stood in silence. Mad at myself. Mad at the pot. Looking for someone to blame. There was no one. The pot was broken, really broken. I looked at it there for a long time, broken and useless, no longer able to do what it had been made to do. My heart sank and I wanted to cry.
I loved that pot. So many thoughts flooded my mind. Memories of when I had received this beautiful, multicoloured pot. It had been a special gift from a special person, and I didn’t feel ready to let it go. But what? What could it do now?
With clarity only my Heavenly Father can give, I recognized myself in that pot. As I’ve bumbled my way through my life; fallen off ledges, crashed hard to the valley floor, and left pieces of myself in life choices, my brokenness has sometimes left me feeling useless to Jesus. I have often wondered how He could make something beautiful come from a broken pot like me.
But God is brilliant at recycling and repurposing broken pots. He is the ultimate Potter, with flare and creativity that leave us in awe of His handiwork. And He loves picking up the broken bits of His kids and making something new.
The Bible is full of broken pots. I love the redemption stories of Ruth and Naomi, and the woman at the well. And I’m drawn to Jesus’s special attention to Peter, His friend who betrayed Him, and then with grace, brought His shame to an end and used Him for incredible things. Or Paul, formerly a murderer, and then one of the most important instruments for Gods work. David committed adultery, had a man murdered to cover it up and then still, God in His mercy shows generous grace and uses this broken pot.
I scooped up all of those broken fragments and felt a certain, unlikely kinship with this favorite pot of mine. God reminded me that beautiful things can come from brokenness. I went to work on repurposing and restoring my pot. I sorted through the pieces, pulling out the larger pieces and cleaning off the dusty, jagged parts. Some pieces were perfect for the new role I had chosen, others needed to be broken down further. I wanted all of the pieces; they were all needed to complete the project I had in mind. Over a period of several weeks I carefully and intentionally created a new purpose for my favourite pot. I found an old wall mirror and, broken piece by broken piece, I created a broken pot mosaic frame for this old mirror. This mirror became a focal point for me and a reminder that God makes beautiful things from brokenness.
When I reflect back on this pot-became-mirror experience in my life, I am reminded to remember some very important things about God:
1. Broken pieces make beautiful mosaics. Believe it or not, when left in the right hands, the brokenness makes us more beautiful and more useful to Gods kingdom. In the brokenness it’s hard to believe this, and we certainly can’t see it, but God has a vision for His creations. He can see the other side.
2. God doesn’t leave us broken. He is in the business of repurposing and His creativity is awe inspiring. And, not only does He not leave us broken, He was there for the breaking, standing beside, ready to help when we ask. Just like I was with my pot when it broke, so is God, with us when we break.
3. God needs all of us. All of our parts. The really good, ready to go parts, and the ones still in need of His forming. He can use all of us, all of the things that have happened to us, the hurts and pain, the losses and struggles. He is standing by ready to place it all back together.
4. God thinks we are worth His attention. The amount of time I committed to making my mosaic mirror is a testament to this. The mirror was a beautiful focal piece that took a lot of my time to create. And, it would not have been possible if not for the brokenness. The brokenness needed to happen in order for this beautiful mosaic to come to life. The pot in its original form was a seasonal number. I only used it for a few months of the year. It was special and I didn’t want it broken, so I kept it tucked away for half of the year. But my mosaic mirror hung on a wall every day; offering usefulness and beauty for the many faces who used it daily. God does not want our seasonal effectiveness. He wants to use us all the time, through every season, wherever we are.
I don’t have the mosaic mirror anymore. I passed it along to a special friend of mine when she needed this reminder too. Gods plans for our lives, and our brokenness is always greater than we can understand. He uses broken pots and He always takes His time with us. It’s just how His love works.