Anne Herridge

Sharing God's heart through poetry, prose and prayer

Seams of Gold ~ Beauty in imperfection

Are you feeling cracked and broken? Are you falling apart at the seams? Let God in. He will mend you with grace and love. He will sew you back together with seams of gold.

“My power shows up best in weak people” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

In Japan there is a form of art known as ‘Kintsugi’, (which means, “golden joinery”). Artisans carefully mend broken pottery with lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum. The repairs are quite visible on the repaired object, like a gold or silver seam, as the lacquer draws attention to the flaws instead of hiding them. The breaks and flaws are considered part of the object’s ‘history’ and are valued as a result. Instead of throwing away the broken pottery, it is made more beautiful as a result of its damage! These ideas are drawn from Japanese philosophy which likes to see beauty in imperfection.

What a lovely representation of how God ‘mends’ us and brings beauty from our flaws and failings! The divine Artisan does not throw us away or scrap us to make a new version of us when we break, but sees beauty in every part of our story, embracing our whole self. We do not have to hide our undesirable or broken pieces. Your whole self, including your broken parts make you even more valuable! All of you! Your journey, your wounds, and your failings make you all the more precious. Why? Because God’s strength and glory shows up best in broken people.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 9, Jesus said to the apostle Paul, “I am with you; that is all you need. My power shows up best in weak people.” (Living Bible)
Paul was troubled by what is described as a “thorn in the flesh” and had asked the Lord to remove it. Consider Paul’s response when Jesus said that he would not be delivered from this ‘thorn’,

“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9 NIV Italics mine)

Did you hear that? Brokenness or weakness enables Christ’s power to rest on us! I don’t think that means that the only time His power is evident is when we are weak, but I do think it means that when we are aware of our own limitations and our need of him, it opens the way for him to demonstrate his power and grace not just to us but to the world! Trusting God with our weakness enables his strength to flow more abundantly in our life. We are here to showcase him! Once he is allowed in to the mess and the cracks of our life, he can start to repair our damaged areas, revealing his power and glory through the process!

You may have heard the story of a woman watching a silversmith refining a piece of silver, often used as an illustration of Malachi 3:3, which speaks of God sitting as a refiner and purifier of silver. The silversmith explains that to refine it, silver needs to be held in the middle of the fire, the hottest part, to burn away the impurities. Through this process he must sit and hold the silver the whole time, carefully watching to ensure that it is not destroyed by the flames. He then explains that he knows it is fully refined when he can clearly see his image in the silver. The great Refiner wants to infuse your brokenness with his glory so that his image can be clearly seen in you!

These truths are so opposite to the world we live in, which values strength, power and independence, often marginalizing the broken, the weak and the needy. God’s Kingdom values humility, wholeness, gentleness, patience, kindness, purity, faithfulness, self-control and respectful submission to the King. The Bible says that it is the foolish, the simple and the humble that shame the wise and the weak who shame the strong! (1 Corinthian 1: 27)

I love Gandalph the wizard’s quote in The Hobbit movie, when explaining why he chose a simple hobbit to play a central role in the great quest to restore a Kingdom and banish evil. “Some believe that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I’ve found. I found it is the small things. Everyday deeds by ordinary folk that keeps the darkness at bay.” (The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey 2012)

In the Bible, God used ordinary, everyday, ‘weak’ people to accomplish his purposes, change history and advance his kingdom. He used a drunkard to build an ark, an old man to become the father of the nation of Israel, a murderer with a speech impediment to lead his people out of exile, a prostitute to hide God’s men on a mission, (who was an ancestor of Jesus), an adulterer to become one of Israel’s greatest Kings, a coward to save the people of Nineveh, a dishonest tax collector to write a gospel, a barren woman to give birth to a prophet who would prepare the way for his Son, a simple virgin to bear His Son, unschooled fishermen to spread the gospel, and a simple boy to kill a giant. Do you get the picture? And he has chosen YOU, with your weakness, brokenness and ‘thorn in the flesh’ to bear his image, reveal his power and advance his kingdom! Wow!

People may not choose, value or continue to invest in you (especially if you are stuck in patterns of repeated brokenness), but our God will! Isaiah 42: 3 says, “He won’t brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won’t disregard the small and insignificant.” (The Message) He is a God of restoration and re-creation! He has promised to “restore the years the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). He who created you in the first place can not only mend your brokenness but bring beauty from it in ways you can’t even imagine!

As a child, I watched my dad painstakingly gluing my mum’s favourite china cup back together when it had broken. She loved the cup so much that despite it being old and having been broken frequently in multiples places, he continued to lovingly repair it. Even with cracks and streaks of dried yellow glue all over it, my mother loved it and used it daily because to her it was exquisite and had a special place in her heart. She didn’t see the cracks like I did. She just saw its original pattern and design with its intrinsic beauty.

Are you feeling cracked and broken? Are you falling apart at the seams? Let God in. He will mend you with grace and love. He will sew you back together with seams of gold. He will hold you through the process until your original design can be clearly seen again! His image will shine from your cracks like polished gold!

There is beauty and power in your imperfections my friend. Don’t hide them. Surrender them to the divine Artisan because you are loved, valued and beautiful!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for loving me just as I am and for seeing beauty in my imperfections. Help me to trust you with my weaknesses. I offer you all my broken pieces, acknowledging that I am dependent on you alone for healing and wholeness. I welcome your Presence and power in my life. Infuse my brokenness with your glory and give me beauty in place of ashes. May your image be seen in me so that I can showcase you to the world and live for your glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

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