Broken: When Broken Is Beautiful

Broken leaves

+Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

I had just walked in the door after dropping kids off at school. I was so ready for a quiet morning, time spent with Jesus, and getting a couple things done before heading into the busy-ness of the day.

I’m a candle-girl. I love the peace a flickering flame and a pretty scent add to my home. I grabbed a jar candle by the lid from the pantry, and stared in horror as the thing dropped to the floor, shattering the top portion of the jar of my brand. new. candle.

Broken candle, strong flame copy

Glass shards splayed across the kitchen floor. I cleaned the mess, feeling the frustration of breaking something that usually brings me joy. The frustration of knowing I had broken something new, made it unusable by not being careful to handle the body of the candle, rather than simply the lid.

Once the floor was clean enough for the boys to walk across on bare feet, I looked at that broken candle jar . . . and I couldn’t throw it away.

Brown leaf among rocks

Buying a new one wasn’t an option. I crafted a plan so I could still use it. And hopefully, I wouldn’t slice myself on the jagged edges of the glass in the process.

The flame burned still, rather than dancing, and it made me think.

We can be broken but still used by God. Life breaks us, or a portion of who we are. Things happen that shatter our hearts, cause our thoughts about ourselves to turn negative.

Sometimes the breaking happens because of choices we make.

Sometimes we’re broken by the things that happen to us.

Our value to God

We may be broken, but it doesn’t mean we’re worthless. God values broken vessels. Broken vessels can be humble vessels. Humility burns with beauty in God’s scheme of things.

When we are broken, God doesn’t see us as “less-than.” He sees us as cherished. He loves us with tenderness.

Broken candle

Our light may shine a little more dimly. It may reflect through fractures in our “glass,” but it can also sprinkle beauty to those around us. We will not be used in the same way as people we know. We have broken facets in our lives, but that doesn’t mean we need to be thrown away.

People may not see our value, but God? He sees us through the filter of His love.

Bare tree branches

When things in our lives break us, God doesn’t say, “Oops.” He isn’t taken by surprise. He knows how to turn the brokenness into something He can use, into something that reflects Jesus to the world around us.

He gradually cleans up the shards in our lives, soothing over brokenness with His healing.

Yes, we need to be handled with care when we are working through brokenness. We can’t always share what did the breaking with those around us.

But we have a Father who listens as we weep, holds us as we cry, listens as we work through our anger.

He strengthens us, molds us back together stronger than we were before, so that our flame can burn straight, tall, steady.

Broken branch, cottony palnt

There may be people in our lives who will throw us away once we are broken. They may ease out of the relationship we once shared. But our Father, our loving Father, will never throw us away. He will walk with us, work with us and love us in the ways only He can do: perfectly, passionately, completely.

What about you? When have you salvaged something that was broken? When have you seen God use you in spite of being broken?

Today I’m linking up with Holly Barrett and with #RaRaLinkUp.

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27 thoughts on “Broken: When Broken Is Beautiful

  1. In 2006, when we were living in Lubbock, we were browsing in a Pier One when a child knocked over a large decorative plate…which broke.

    I asked the manager if I could have the plate if I cleaned up the mess…and she agreed.

    It took a few months to piece if back together, but as I write this, it has pride of place on top of a cabinet.

    The point was not the plate. The point was redeeming what otherwise that which would have been waste.

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    • Andrew, your story about made me cry. Maybe it’s coming down off all the meds from surgery. But I suspect it’s more from the tenderness you convey. Thank goodness God can redeem things that others consider waste. For you to take the time to glue each piece of the plate back together, and to create a new kind of beauty from the ruins? Such a great example of what God does for us. Praying for you, friend.

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      • And isn’t that what God does with each of us, Lisa? His picture of redemption is a beautiful reminder of love. And we can share that love with others, especially when we remember what we’ve been redeemed from. 🙂

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  2. Many an answer to those questions, Jeanne! Excellent questions. Thank you! And thank you for the beautiful little story and pictures. I’m especially grateful that God doesn’t say “opps!”

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  3. Beautiful words, Jeanne. This especially: “But we have a Father who listens as we weep, holds us as we cry, listens as we work through our anger.” So very true. And you know this past year, I’ve been most blessed by those who’ve chosen to share pieces of their own brokenness with me because it’s shone the Light of Christ so strongly.

    Your words remind me so much of what Angie Smith shares in her book Mended, where she broke a vase and then put it back together piece by piece: just as God does with us…we won’t look the same as we did before, but through the cracks we’ll shine His Light all the more brightly. You would love her book, if you haven’t yet read it. I really need to go back and read it again.

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    • Anna, thanks for the book recommendation. I’m writing it down, so I can remember to get it. And I love the word picture you shared (I first heard it from Patsy Claremont, but it always bears repeating). God shines brightly through the cracks in our lives. It’s through the cracks that He can reach out to others with His love.

      So thankful for you, friend.

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      • I haven’t heard of Patsy Claremont. Going to have to go Google her. I can’t remember where I first heard it: maybe it was in Angie Smith’s book.

        So thankful for you too. Your words always encourage me.

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  4. This is so beautiful and to think that these words all evolved because of one broken candle. I know I am so weak and broken but the beauty comes in my redemption by Jesus Christ. No matter my outward appearance or actions, I am God’s masterpiece whom He dearly loves and it is a beautiful truth.

    I am learning that God calls the broken over and over to do His work. If He waited until we were all whole, there wouldn’t be anyone to do the kingdom work. Thank you for your words of truth and the beauty of being redeemed when broken.

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    • And isn’t it amazing that God considers us His masterpieces, Mary? Even when we do things that break us, He still sees us as His masterpiece. And you’re right. God does use the broken. It seems like sometimes those who are broken are the most able to reflect His love and grace to a broken world.

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  5. So grateful that God loves us with tenderness through our brokenness. I know I’ve gone through seasons when I thought surely He would shelve me because I felt a bit shattered. But He is so faithful to gently place us in positions and places that not only restore our confidence, but continue to grow our faith. And it’s so subtle and sweet – the perfect picture of a loving Father. PS. I LOVE candles too. I hope we can sit over one someday, with coffee, and cookies, and chat. 🙂 Hugs, friend. Praying for you still.

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    • You’re right, Tiffany. God does gently place us in positions and places that restore our confidence and restore our faith. I hadn’t thought about this side of brokenness. Thank you for adding this to the conversation.

      And I’m looking forward to that someday when we can share cookies and coffee over a scented candle. 🙂

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  6. Nothing frustrates me more than when I’m trying to do something beautiful and it ends up in shatters. But, such a good moment to stop and remember the beauty in that mess. Thanks for such a great reminder.

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  7. I always claim that I’m a broken healer. I have been broken (one too many times) and when I see a friend, even a stranger emailing me asking for advice, I can give them some wisdom. Not because I know better but because I’ve been broken too.
    That’s where I see the beauty of being broken.

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    • You’re right, Lux. There is beauty in the brokenness. And there is beauty that comes from the brokenness in our lives. There’s something about brokenness that nurtures compassion within many of us. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  8. This is one of my favorite quotes and it seems very fitting here:
    “Unless we come to the end of ourselves and learn to allow Him to work through us, we will never reach our full potential in Christ.”
    He says: “Brokenness is God’s requirement for maximum usefulness.”
    ~ Dr. Charles Stanley

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    • Gene, what an amazing quote. It is when we’re at the end of ourselves that God can really begin to use us. When we lean on Him, trust Him, that’s when we truly begin to understand the depth of His love and we can be used by Him in others’ lives. Than you so much for sharing that quote!

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