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Where Love Abounds

From my heart to these pages

Month

May 2016

From Broken to Beautiful – Kintsukuroi

“Kintsukuroi” – Golden Repair 

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This Japanese technique takes something broken and not only repairs it, but places value in the brokenness by mending with gold. The philosophy behind this art is to acknowledge that breakage and repair form part of the history of the object.

I’m not sure there could be any other art form that so closely imitates the love of God in our life and I love what it represents for us.

I’ve known brokenness, what it feels like to be beyond repair. I’ve felt the shame of the scars I carry – wounds both physical and mental that threaten to stick around as constant memoirs of the battle ground of life. Years wasted believing that my value was diminished because of the paths I’d walked. I’ve lived under the condemning weight of others words as they’ve instilled judgement, condemnation and negative reports.

I used to think there was no way out, destined for a life of survival, just living to make it through one day to the next with my arms outstretched carrying the broken pieces of my life.

There’s only so long you can go on like this – and I tried it too many times!

I’m so thankful for the days when I’ve been completely broken, and laid all those pieces at the feet of Jesus (although sometimes it’s more like a crashing and dropping than an elegant laying down of all those pieces!). In those moments He so gently comes and pieces me back together…and somehow, more beautiful than before.

When we find ourselves broken He doesn’t cast us aside and render us useless, fit only for hiding in the dark corners of the basement never to be seen again or throwing out with the rubbish. Much like the art of Kintsukuroi, He doesn’t just stick us back together again with glue leaving an ugly trail highlighting the brokenness, He pours out His love and brings out beauty from the brokenness, placing value on the life that has been redeemed. To repair with gold is to instill more value into the object than it had before.

Through His work in our life we are able to come out the other side more victorious…
No longer bound by shame – but heads held high because of the value placed on our lives through His overwhelming goodness in lavishing His love into the most shattered places of our hearts – mending and healing, making us whole.

We can’t avoid the trials and challenges in life, but we can face them knowing that we won’t be broken beyond repair because there is One waiting to restore us every time, never allowing our value to decrease. He takes us through the process of “Golden Repair” filling the cracks with His gold, piecing us back together more beautiful than before.

 

 

 

 

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Girl Rising…

I admit…after a fairly crazy week all I wanted to do tonight was come home, put comfy clothes on, shut the world out, eat copious amounts of chocolate and zone out to a film…

This almost happened…

Scanning through Netflix in the hope of meaningless comedy, I came across Girl Rising.

I didn’t really know what I was about to watch. I’m still processing it.

The horrors of what it’s like to be a young girl in some cultures astounds me. 

Kamlari – what was a traditional system of bonded labour in Nepal (now supposeadly abolished) meant girls, so young, effectively sold as slaves to another family. Working from 4am till late in the night, carrying out an exhaustive list of tasks that I would struggle to fulfill…let alone a 5 year old. 

Every day at work I read stories of young people who face challenge and adversity. I’m no stranger to accounts of abuse and suffering, challenges that have prevented our country’s youth from reaching their potential…

It’s not that I’m unaware of the reality of these atrocities occurring, either on my doorstep or in cultures across the world…but it’s easy to switch off from it. 

But…when you watch this film…you can’t switch off from the truth…the impact…the widespread need. 

The need for freedom
The need for equality
The need for justice
The need for education

Education empowers… It brings change. It equips a generation to live, thrive and rise up further than the previous generation.

Educated girls are a powerful force for change” (Girl Rising)  … the sad fact is, millions of girls are not accessing education. A fact that I’m not unaware of. What I often don’t stop to think about is what is happening in place of education.

Child marriage
Slave labour
Abuse

Heartbreaking…

But what also never fails to astound me more…
Resilience.
Inner strength.
Determination.
Courage.


How these individual girls had an inner resolve to push through any barrier put before them to overcome and succeed…against all odds.

“I vowed that night I would find a way not only to endure…but to prevail” Amina – 11yr old Afghan girl on her wedding night.

Don’t tell me you’re on my side, your silence has already spoken for you” Amina

If you havent seen this documentary, I recommend it. 

Let’s use our voice…
To speak out…
To raise awareness…
To contribute to change…

One life changed can impact many…

Grace abounds in the midnight hour…

Shame is the liar that wraps itself around you, dragging you down with every step…

In the grip of struggles, challenges, addictions, bad habits, when guilt already wreaks havoc, shame comes to steal the hope that once offered release.

Shame will never be the factor that sets you free – shame often pulls you deeper into the very places you long to run from.

In our own strength we rarely find freedom, there’s a greater power needed to break the chains that enslave us. That power is grace.

I’ve walked through many troubles, stepped too close to the edge of life too many times, and by God’s grace I’m still here. Many of these experiences were journeys that took time…and lots of it. Choosing daily who I was living for.

One time I found myself up against a new challenge, one I had never expected to face, causing me to make some seriosuly wrong choices. Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months…what initially seemed harmless began to torment my mind and before I knew it, shame outweighed anything and I felt trapped.

I would cry out to God, beg Him to take this trouble away – but through the cloak of shame, I couldnt see any escape route offered. His love felt a million miles away, clouded out by the weight of sin.

One bad decision often leads to another, leading us down a dark path, which can seem to have no way out. You become blind to the truth and resign yourself to failure.

On the eve of potentially being about to knowingly cross the line and make a very bad decision the next day, I found myself crawling into bed in a state of complete double-mindedness…on the one hand, crying out for strength to make a different choice…on the other, resigned to failure.

I woke at 3:45am…nothing spectacular roused me from sleep…no angels in the room, no loud voice giving me an answer…just stillness.

In that dark, midnight hour, I felt to go and sit in my chair and wait on the Lord. I had no plan, no purpose, no idea what would happen…

I went…I sat…I lit candles and let the light fill the room before sunrise. I read the word, I prayed…but mostly I was still… I didn’t really understand what was happening, but in that moment I knew the Lord was fighting for me…all I had to do was sit…and wait…

After 3 hours it was done.
His loved flooded every part of my being…causing me to turn me heart from the lies of this struggle back to Him…
True, heart-felt repentence poured out of my soul…
His strength rose up within me…
His grace covered me replaced the cloak of shame.

It was over…
It was finished…

In the depth of night, in the midnight hour, His love cried out, His unfathomable grace broke the chains that held me down.

No judgement…no condemnation…
He didnt abandon the dark places of my soul…
He didn’t point the finger and place blame…
He loved me to the core of my being…and fought my battle for me…

His grace found me in the darkest hour…
His grace refused to leave me there…

His grace changes everything…
We don’t deserve it…yet He gives it…
More than that…He will reach deep down in the darkest place to stop us falling…
In His great love, His grace is poured out…
We don’t have to strive for it…we don’t receive it in our own strength…
We stand…we sit…we rest…in Him.

Choose life…

Tonight I found myself singing the same line of a song over…and over…and over…and over. It was like a broken record, stuck on repeat…

I pottered around the house and carried on, slightly bemused at why no other words came…tempted to distract myself with playing music…then I realised, through singing these words over and over I was speaking truth to my own heart! 

Sometimes – in fact always(!) – you have to take responsibility to preach to yourself…to speak truth to yourself…to feed yourself right…to build yourself up…because no one else can do it for you. You can be surrounded by the best people in the world, who feed you well (in all ways) but if you can’t feed yourself…well…you’re in trouble! 

You are your own responsibility…

Your physical health…your emotional health…and your spiritual health are your responsibility…

Feed your stomach…feed your mind…feed your spirit…and feed them well!

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