The Broken Transformed Into Graceful Beauty

“Redeemed Elegance” by Bella Forte Glass

Have your heart and your life ever felt like shattered glass? Broken into a thousand pieces? Irredeemable? Worthless?

Chris McGahan and his son, Micah, take broken pieces of glass, pieces that are thrown away and worthless to others, and arrange them on a ceramic plate. They then heat them and roll them up on a blowpipe. The result? Beautiful blown glass they call Redento Raffinato (Italian for “Redeemed Elegance”).

Redeemed Elegance
Broken, Flawed, and Worthless
Transformed into Graceful Beauty

Do you see the parallel to the work of Christ in our hearts and lives?

“There are remarkable parallels that accompany every step and point toward the work of Christ in our lives, starting with the broken pieces. We all have failures and shortcomings in our lives. Who would have thought that the broken or discarded ‘worthless’ pieces that represent failure could be used to make something even more beautiful and valuable than what was originally intended? But that is exactly what we do. Every single step throughout the process points clearly to Christ at work in our lives.” (Chris McGahan quote from AFA Journal – Brokenness to Beauty)

Are you broken into pieces? Do you feel worthless and irredeemable? Do you think there is no hope for you?

There is hope in Jesus! He will never throw us away when we seek His grace. He has bought every broken piece of us with His blood. He died and rose again for us. He has the power to pick up every single broken piece, even those hidden deep in our hearts where no one else sees. He lovingly blows the breath of His love and grace into our brokenness. The result? Redeemed elegance beyond what any person can make out of broken glass.

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
Isaiah 43:1b HCSB

“Mosaic of Grace”
by Shelly E. Johnson

“Just a pile of broken glass
Pieces of a painful past
Shattered by the storms of life
This is all that’s left inside
 
He can take the fallen pieces
And lay them in the perfect place
When His work is finally finished
You will be a mosaic of grace
 
In your pain you may not see
The beauty of the masterpiece
But there’s a greater work of art
Than what each piece alone imparts…”

Only God’s Truth Can Fill Up What Bullies Take Away

“You see, we have a bucket inside of us,” She spread her little fingers across her heart. “When someone is mean to us, it empties our bucket. But if they say they are sorry or if they say something nice, it puts something back into our buckets.”

“Oh, I see… So if I say ‘Kamryn, I love you. You are so special,’ will that overflow your bucket?” Her face beamed as if to say, “Yes! You got it, Grandma!”

This story my grand-daughter heard nearly four years ago in Pre-Kindergarten concerning bullying really touched my heart. So simple, yet so profound. Scoop by scoop, condemning remarks can empty us of our security in who we really are. We can start basing our value on what others say instead of who God says we are.

We can become our own bully when we believe the lies cast on us by others or by Satan: What is wrong with me? I’m so ugly. I’m so dumb. I’m not good enough. I don’t deserve to be happy. I’m not worth it. I’m unlovable. I’m not strong enough. I can never do it as well as he/she can, so why even try?  And on and on… Shovelfuls of the “me God created us to be” go flying out of our buckets until there is nothing left to give.

Do you beat yourself up a lot? I’ll admit I do. I have a hard time liking myself. I wonder if it’s prideful or selfish to be kind to myself. But I am learning inch by inch that it’s not only ok to love ourselves, but it’s what God wants. This is not about self-adoration or narcissism. It’s about appreciating the unique person God created us to be.

“When you wound yourself with your words,
it’s the same to God as if you were doing it to someone else in your life.
Jesus said to love our neighbors as ourselves.
That means all of the ‘one another’ statements in Scripture
(i.e. be kind to one another, encourage one another)
apply in our relationship with ourselves too.”
Holley Gerth

So how can we be kind to ourselves? By filling our emptied buckets with God’s Truth. A solid, secure Truth that no one can steal from us. A Truth that will more than fill up what self-criticism or others’ bullying comments have robbed from us.

Every word of God proves true.
    He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.”

Proverbs 30:5

God’s Truth for our emptied, wounded hearts:

💞 I am wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

💞 I am His masterpiece, created anew in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:10)

💞 I am redeemed with the blood of Jesus. (Isaiah 43:1)

💞 There is no condemnation for me when I belong to Jesus. (Romans 8:1)

💞 I am precious and honored. (Isaiah 43:4)

💞 I am His royalty, a crown of splendor in His hand. (Isaiah 62:3)

💞 I am His own special treasure. (Malachi 3:17)

💞 Nothing will ever be able to separate me from the love of God. (Romans 8:37-39)

💞 Because of His faithful love and mercy, I will never perish. (Lamentations 3:22)

💞 He will restore my ruins. He will rebuild what is broken. (Isaiah 44:26)

💞 He fills my emptiness with good things. (Psalm 107:9)

💞 I can do all things through Jesus who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

We can’t always control the inward and outward bullies in our lives, but we can learn to be better equipped to handle them, both past and present. We can allow Jesus to fill our emptiness with His Truth, His healing, and His love. Then we will be able to base our identity, not in those negative voices, but in Jesus, who emptied Himself so our emptiness can be filled with Him. In Him, we are redeemed. In Him, we are secure. In Him, we are free.

“Beautiful”
by MercyMe

The Voice of Jesus Conquers the Lying Voices of the Past

Unstoppable-by-HolleyGerth.com_

“You’re not enough!” Savage whispers like an ax hacking away at the root of our being. Timberrr! And we’re down, wallowing again in the mud of despair.

Sometimes those negative voices seem to appear out of nowhere. One minute we’re at peace and feel enough in Christ. Then bang! Something triggers, and we sink into accusing voices of insecurity. While sometimes we can pinpoint the trigger that causes the feeling, there are other times we can’t.

Last week a stormy cloud of depression was pulling me down. While I knew I was really, really sad for the survivors of an extended family member’s passing on, I realized it was something deeper and gloomier that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

I knew I was struggling also with the fact that I was feeling guilty that I didn’t go to the funeral, even though I had a valid reason in that my health and the severe cold prevented me from going out. But I reasoned through that as I know there are other ways we can show our support and sympathy.

Since the funeral was in a church I grew up in – one more of hell-fire condemnation than of the love of Jesus and the one where I was abused by a minister – I’m not sure I would emotionally be able to go anyway. Ever since the time when something broke inside of me and I sunk into a deep depression, my emotional well-being feels shaky sometimes. It took me a long time to rise up out of it, and I ended up taking an anti-depressant. Since then, I have learned it’s ok to protect myself from judgmental people, but still I was feeling down about my failure to go even if I was physically able to go.

I was grieving over a death which made me deeply saddened, yes. But I could somewhat reason myself through these events in life we have no control over. Yet some heavy weight in my heart was plunging me deeper into depression.

I was fighting all these feelings when I wrote last week’s blog post. I was going to just skip a post altogether, but I felt the Spirit nudging me to write anyway. In spite of the heaviness, I tried to dance anyway, listening to what God whispers.

When I shared with my hubby the two songs I included and how they comforted me, he told me about “Greater” by Mercy Me. When I listened to the lyrics, I knew what was bringing me down. It was that ghost of the past, that “I am not enough” enemy, that was at the root of the downward spiral of depression.

“Every day I wrestle with the voices
That keep telling me I’m not right
But that’s alright

‘Cause I hear a voice and He calls me redeemed
When others say I’ll never be enough
And greater is the One living inside of me
Than he who is living in the world”

Do you feel voices telling you “I’m not right,” “Something’s wrong with me,” or “I am not enough”? Or maybe you don’t even realize they’re there, but you know some culprit from the past is weighing you down?

There is a Voice that is infinitely greater than those lies. A loving Voice that reaches out to us and calls us “Redeemed.” In Him we are enough. For us, He not only took on the full weight of our own sins, but also the ugly voice of shame and every lie Satan or the world taunt us with. We may get battle weary sometimes, but the battle is already won. The ultimate victory is already gained! Greater is the One living inside of us than all the enemies who hack away at the root of our being!

“Greater” by Mercy Me


“Redeemed” by Big Daddy Weave

Praying the loving Voice of Jesus will quiet the storms in our hearts and lives!
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