My husband Don and I got married almost 20 years ago (I cannot believe it's already been 20 years). For one of our wedding gifts, we were given the most beautiful china tea cup. The story prompting -- that gift is precious in itself. Our friends, Jim and Maureen Lyon (who gave us the gift) shared with us that this was the china pattern they had registered for their wedding years ago, and each year Jim buys one more piece of the same pattern for Maureen. It is very special and sentimental to both of them. So to receive a cup and saucer from them was so very special -- on so many levels.
We have had that cup and saucer all of these years; that beautiful little cup and saucer has been on many many journeys with us throughout the years. We have moved 4 times in our marriage years, and it has been packed and repacked at least that many times. It sits in a place of honor -- where NO ONE can touch it!
One weekend, when I was traveling and the family team was holding down the fort, the accident happened. It started out as a simple game of catch in the family room. Which then escalated into a game of catch from the kitchen into the living room. And then kickball ensued into the dining room. At the pinnacle of the game, someone (who shall remain nameless), kicked the ball and it headed straight for the "place of honor" and CRASH!!!!!!!!! Down went the tea cup and saucer. After moments of stunned awkward silence, there was instant unanimity as it was spoken aloud by everyone...."We can't tell Mom!"
And so Mom didn't know about it for years. Because the family team had instantly super-glued it back together and placed it back on the "shelf of honor." It wasn't until years (yes, that's right -- years) later, when I was packing up for a move, that I saw the crack in the cup. "What is this?!" I cried and was met with the story that I just shared with you.
They began to eagerly share with me that it had been super-glued, and "look Mom, it's stronger than ever! You can't even break it apart if you wanted to.”
I looked at that broken cup that I was holding in my hand. Then I looked around at all the guilt-ridden faces standing before me in the kitchen. Thinking about our family story of Beauty and Broken-ness and realized there wasn't a better tangible illustration of God's glorious redemption. Some of the sweetest moments that we have had over the years have been in our kitchen. And this moment was sweet, unexpected, and eternal.
I have heard before that "the strongest bonds are in the broken places." I don't think I would have believed that until I saw that sweet tea cup and saucer. It's true. I think the cup and saucer would chip so easily everywhere, EXCEPT where it had been glued back together.
So... here is what I am learning from my broken tea cup --
Often, we set aside one of the most precious gifts we have; because we don't want to take the chance of a crack, or a slip, or a chance that we could be seen unblemished. In the playfulness of life -- in the journey -- things are going to get broken. Those things might be relationships, vocation, health, finances, children…. Rather than hide the brokenness, bring the brokenness to the Great Healer. When our Savior mends the brokenness, we find we are often stronger BECAUSE we have been broken.
Brokenness and the healing of brokenness give us a fresh sense of serving others. The black and white of life becomes a little more gray. There is more grace to celebrate and to extend.
Because of brokenness, I can now have a little more patience with myself. I don't have to "wonder" if I'm going to blow it. I've blown it. Whew. Got that out of the way. Now I can live.
When life gets broken and you're in despair
He'll carry your burden when it's too much to bear
It's down in the valleys where He'll give you strength
There is nothing you have lost that He can’t replace
He'll help you start all over again
When life gets broken….