When I was very young my grandmother was given a handmade tea set by a very good friend. This tea set was the single most beautiful thing I had ever seen. It is a beautiful rose shade of pink with just a hit on a shimmer to it. The set in my mind (to this very day) possess a quiet strength. My grandmother would host tea for my sister and I once a month or so, and this became the highlight of my month. I so looked forward to dressing up and being allowed to have tea from grandma’s beautiful tea set.
Overtime the tea set began to mean much more to me than just a chance to play at being a grown up. Being an overly imaginative child, I began to imagine myself as a tea set. I was the tea pot, the center of my set. My pattern was pretty, delicate, and free of chips (green ivy was the usual color I imagined, I’m not sure why). I started off my life with an intact set; I had my mother and father and eventually my little sister Conner. Over time, my set began to change and shift. I come from a broken home. (That is a term that a lot of “divorce kids” hate. Very rarely in fact will you hear a divorce kid use that term. It is more often used by the concerned members of well-established families when talking about friends whose parents are divorced. This term is now one of my favorites when giving my testimony.) My mother and father divorced; suddenly I had a broken set. My mother and father each remarried. My father had three more children with my stepmother. My mother remarried another five times through my childhood and adolescence. By the time I got to my freshman year of college, my tea set didn’t look anything like those of my friends. In fact, I would look at the “perfect” families of my friends and even members of my extended family with extreme jealousy. My tea set was not perfect, or even close. I had pieces come in and go out. These pieces not only left chips and shards behind as they moved on, but they also took chips from me and my set.
People came into and out of my life. Yes, I come from a broken family. My parents are divorced; in fact my mother has been divorced six times. In doing so they left piece of themselves and took pieces from me as well. For many years I struggled to make all my pieces fit back together. I glued pieces that didn’t match into place in order to present the image of a perfect set. I didn’t want anyone to see my damaged sides! Finally I couldn’t hold it all together anymore. All the pieces began to crack and fall apart. So here I am, with my world in shatters all over the place and ready to give up. Instead of throwing my life away and letting the fact that I am broken ruin me, I gave my life to Christ, the ultimate artist.
In giving my life to Christ I allowed him to be the glue holding me together. Doing it without God was pointless, I kept trying to seal the cracks and wondering why I couldn’t. It took me a while to realize I needed to stop sealing things and let myself break. Yes, I fell apart, pieces were everywhere and it wasn’t very pretty. But God is so much bigger than my crises. I had all these broken pieces, I myself was no longer whole. God saw this as an opportunity. Have you ever seen a mosaic? These beautiful creations can be found throughout history in cultures all over the world. The way these works of art are created are by taking pieces of pottery, stone, and glass and adhering them together to create an image. That is exactly what God is doing with my life. He is taking what I saw as broken and mismatched pieces and turning them into a work of art.
I can’t see the full image yet, I can see sections of it though. I can admit that there are some days when I struggle to see past one little broken piece. But the one true master craftsman is at work in my life. So when I ask is it possible to take something that is incredibly dark, ugly, and twisted and use it to make something beautiful? The answer is: Yes! God’s plan is infinitely more creative than anything that we can imagine. Sometimes the little pieces don’t make sense to us, sometimes it hurts when the chips happen. But God knows the design that he has for my life, so I no longer worry about holding the pieces together with my own power. I don’t have to, God is at work.