Broken and Beautiful

If you know me well, you’re probably aware that I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. Some people might argue that I’m a songwriter, author, and poet; therefore, that makes me artistic in some form. But as far as crafty creativity goes, I have little hope. I was reminded of this when I thought of a childhood art project.

In my elementary school art class, I was assigned the task of forming a clay sculpture. Some of my classmates made cups and bowls, but I set out to create the figure of a girl holding a book. I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I wanted this figurine to reflect a part of me. I loved reading, and as I fashioned the sculpture, I even imagined that the girl was holding a Bible.

The final product was rather rough, but I completed it nonetheless. In the coming years, the figurine was placed in a little cupboard in my bedroom. One day, for some reason, the sculpture left the cupboard and was somehow transported downstairs to our unfinished basement. In an unfortunate set of circumstances, my little figure was somehow dropped on the hard cement floor. You can probably imagine the outcome; my clay figurine was broken.

For a brief time I was crushed. But as happens most often in childhood, I moved forward with life, practically forgetting the incident. It wasn’t until this past Christmas that I was reminded of my disaster-of-a-clay figure. My incredibly talented sister had just finished a ceramics class at college, and she had made me a tea set. She told me that I was the first person she thought of when she was assigned to form something out of the clay she was given. “I knew you would appreciate it,” she said, referring to my fondness for tea and an authentic way to partake in drinking it.

I thought of the difference between that beautifully crafted tea set and my own poor attempts as a grade school student to make something beautiful out of that clay. In the end, it came down to talent and proficiency. As we’ve already established, I am certainly no artist; but my sister is an artist and she knew what she was doing when she formed the clay to create a perfect tea set.

Now, my sister will be the first to tell you that the tea set is far from perfect. To her expert eye, there are visible blemishes and obvious mistakes. But to my untrained and very appreciative eye, I see something beautiful. Much the same is true when I think of my life through God’s eyes.

Like my broken clay figurine, I have faced brokenness in my life. I have talked frequently about the eighteen months in which I endured numerous health struggles. I was facing the possibility that I would never breathe or sing with the same ability ever again. I was scared, beyond tired, and just plain worn out. When I thought about how hard it had become to sing, I felt like my world had shattered around me. I loved to sing, and I felt empty and hopeless without the capacity to lift my voice up in song.

As I struggled my way back to good health, I faced rejection from a record label and experienced the difficulty in lining up employment in my field. Nothing was turning out the way I had planned, and I had nowhere else to turn. But in time, I learned to fully and completely turn my needs over to God, and He came in and delivered me from every struggle, one by one.

The journey was long and difficult, and my health concerns and other issues were not remedied overnight. But little by little, I began to see the beauty of His plan. Much like my sister’s tea set, I began to see a life molded and fashioned by an expert potter. I never set out to be a worship leader, but He led me into an opportunity at FRC to serve at my home church. I never set out to direct YLF, but He opened the doors so that I might be able to reach out to teenagers with disabilities. I never dreamed I would have these opportunities, but through my sickness and trial, He molded and prepared me until I was ready.

My life is far from perfect at this point, but I get the distinct impression that everything is sweeter and much more beautiful lived out according to His plan. Where once I was broken and shattered, I am now living out my days with a bright and hopeful purpose. The Creator is continually fashioning me to be the person He wants me to be, and I am excited to have a front row seat as the journey unfolds!

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