The pot shard

 

 

Back in my uni days, I studied among other things, physical anthropology. We looked at slide after slide of archaeological sites, of pot shards and ceramic fragments. We studied piles of these shards in class. And even now if I come across a piece of broken pottery in the ground, it makes me think of the history it represents. The stories of it’s use, of how it was broken.

When I was a child I remember clambering around  in the mangrove mud at Port Albert, near the site of where my great great grandfather had a boat building business. I found an old iron (the kind that was heated on the fire). Well rusted and worn, but still identifiable, and I still have it sitting in a box in a cupboard.

Yes, the broken, vintage things of yesteryear can be  very beautiful to us. They hold memories, sentiments and stories.

But even more than the brokenness, I love restoration. I love to see what was broken returned to it’s former glory. Although, most often, items are conserved so not to break down further, as opposed to actually being restored.

11 The Lord will guide you continually,
And satisfy your soul in drought,
And strengthen your bones;
You shall be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 Those from among you
Shall build the old waste places;
You shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
And you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach,
The Restorer of Streets to Dwell In.             Isaiah 58:11-12

The Lord is our ultimate Restorer. His heart is to see the waste places in our lives rebuilt. To repair. To heal.  And He gives us a heart to desire to see this happen in the lives around us. And calls us to minister in restoration.

When we feel broken, dashed to pieces, we are not forgotten. We are not left trodden into the dirt. When we are experiencing drought, that is not the resting place for our lives. We are not a ceramic vessel, but a vessel of honour. Made and crafted by God. Loved by God. Cherished by God.

If you are experiencing drought, or even feel that all is in ruins,

I pray the Lord will guide you, that you will be strengthened, that the waste places will be rebuilt. That you would encounter the Restorer.

Beauty will flourish again!

 

 

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help God! It’s all on the floor.

I know

I haven’t been here in a bit.  But I have a story to share with you.

Imagine a young child of about 4 yrs. (I imagine a girl with dark brown hair tied back in a pony-tail.. but you can change that bit  up). She is at kindy / daycare, and she LOVES to paint. She loves planning her paintings, she loves the actual painting process, it is her passion. Her delight. She has been entrusted with carrying a tray of cups of paint to her table. She is filled with pleasure and anticipation, and is carefully carrying her tray that represents all she loves.

Suddenly, without warning she is bumped and her tray crashes to the ground. Every cup is upended and paint is splattered everywhere. She freezes, and a myriad of emotions come over her. Sadness, that she can’t do her painting, that the picture she had in her mind wont be done, helplessness that she can’t salvage the paint. She is aware enough to know she was not at fault, that it was just one of those things, and feels no anger at the ‘bumper’. She struggles with abandonment as everyone steps out of the way, and no-one wants to deal with the mess.  Her confidence is battered. She stands bewildered,  trying to make sense of what happened.

Another child, another personality might react differently. Maybe avoid all memory of it happening and busy oneself at the woodwork table, or perhaps go sit in a corner on their own…

Ok

So maybe I wasn’t 4 yrs old, and maybe it wasn’t paint that ended up on the floor… but these have been the emotions I have been working through the last 18 months. When a church closes suddenly and without warning, the journey through the aftermath is a painful one.  The paint on the floor represents my dreams, my trust, my love, my friendships, my sense of direction.  And arrogance. ( That, I hope, will stay on the floor!!).

The rest of the colours I want back. I choose to dream again, I choose to love again. That is how I want to live. I chose many months ago to forgive. Our God is faithful and His gift is grace. He is the restorer. Healer. He is the Father of Glory.

The abandonment struggles have instilled in me the vital importance of pastoral giftings. Never underestimate the healing power of a hug or email asking ‘how are you?”.

God is handing out fresh cups of ‘paint’. Do I want to risk carrying them again?

Yes. I trust you Jesus with my heart.