We have an amazing and loving family – but notice I did not say perfect. We have challenges just like every family. Each one of us has our own set of limiting beliefs, character flaws and brokenness that we are working through. It only stands to reason that when a bunch of broken people are living in community with one another, relational strain and struggle will happen. It is inevitable.

As I was reading 1 Samuel this morning, I was struck by the story of Elkanah, Phineas and Hannah. The tension in that house was so thick you could cut it with a knife. There was definitely relational strain and struggle, since they were all broken in their own way.

As I reflected on this, I began thinking about the ancient Japanese art form of repairing ceramic called Kintsugi.Kintsugi is an art form where the artisan connects broken pieces of ceramic by using a lacquer resin mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum.  The cracks are visible in the finished piece, yet they are beautiful as they are filled with a precious metal. The overall effect is one of wholeness, usefulness, and exquisite beauty. Here is the real lesson – the broken ceramic pieces cannot put themselves back together on their own. The broken pieces must surrender to the creativity of the artisan and trust that the finished product will be more beautiful than one could ever hope or imagine. And even more importantly, the artisan gets the glory and praise for the finished product.

The same can be true of us … if we allow the Master Artisan to put our shattered pieces back together.How do we do this? We surrender our brokenness over to Him.  We admit that we are not able to see the big picture on our own and we ask for His help in putting the broken pieces back together. We seek the Scripture for guidance. We surround ourselves with a community who will not only support us, but also hold us accountable. We trust Him in the process.

And what about those visible cracks filled with precious metal? Well, they serve a purpose too. First, they are reminders of where we have been and the hope we can have for tomorrow. They also serve as visual cues to point others to the Master Artisan. I recently read a quote by Morgan Nichols that I just love, “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide.” Heads up – don’t waste your story.

Is it easy? NO. But remember, God is the Creator of the Universe. His creative genius is unmatched. He not only created the universe from scratch, He can take anything that is broken and restore it into something more beautiful than it was before.

Surrender it all, trust Him with the process and then let God use your story to help someone else.