I was given the opportunity to speak recently at our church’s women conference. The theme was “You Are God’s Masterpiece”, which derives from Ephesians 2:10 NLT:
10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
”You are God’s Masterpiece” is such an inspiring theme and definitely something to rejoice over. But, what God gave me to speak on that day didn’t seem like a masterpiece at all. But, I felt led to discuss beauty in brokenness.
How to Find Beauty in Brokenness and Become God’s Masterpiece
When we think of a masterpiece, we think of perfection, right? We can all probably think of a guy or two that we thought was a masterpiece straight from Heaven (Mine was Usher back in the day). You might say a delicious piece of cake is a masterpiece. If we know someone took the time to create a beautifully designed outfit, we may say that it is a work of art. Whatever it is, we step back, gaze, and say “That is a Masterpiece”.
The definition of a masterpiece is a work of outstanding artistry, skill, or workmanship. Many versions of Ephesians 2:10 says God’s handiwork or His workmanship. It is a piece of the Master. And, isn’t that awesome? Yet, we often have a hard time viewing ourselves as a masterpiece. Or, yet a Piece of the Master, our God.
We don’t think that highly of ourselves. At least there are many occasions, that I haven’t thought that highly myself. We may have had situations or people that have broken our hearts. So, it can be awfully tough to see the beauty in brokenness and yourself as a masterpiece.
Broken Crayons Still Color
But, I shared with the women at the church conference and now with you, that broken crayons still color. I never really sit and thought about that fact until I came across a Facebook post, just a few months ago.
We would typically select a new crayon for a masterpiece. It is still has the paper wrap; it looks nice, barely used and sharpened. Most people’s would shy away from the broken crayons. But, these broken crayons can work just the same, and maybe even better. I even googled one day all of the uses for broken crayons and was amazed at all of the things that can be done with it.
God Uses Brokenness
And, there is where lies the beauty. Because our brokenness, just like the broken crayon can still be used. In fact, God uses brokenness for His Glory. It may not feel or seem like it right now, but I pray that one day you will see.
God uses brokenness to show that in our weakness, we must rely on his strength. The beauty is a testament to our faith and demonstration to believers and unbelievers alike.
See, we have certain guidelines for being a work of art or masterpiece. We don’t understand or would prefer to avoid the brokenness. And, we don’t want to come to terms or see the beauty in it. But, the primary thing that God needs for your masterpiece is the pliability and the ability to be used.
Signs of Brokenness
Here are a few signs of brokenness that, you might can relate to.
There is a feeling of emptiness and a point in time where you have ran out of energy and gas.
It looks like hope is lost, faith is gone, and there’s no point of return.
It looks like you are in the 12th round of a fight and just took a surprise uppercut. Although you area good fighter, this time you got knocked out. And, you really don’t know if you can get back up.
Brokenness occurs when the very ones you loved turn their backs on you or cut you deeper than ever before.
When you have no words, prayer or strength for action, brokenness may have crept in.
You are trying to figure out, “Where is God?”
Brokenness like that crayon is when you feel stripped, beat up, broken, and all alone. No one really knows how to deal with you.
If you have dealt with any of those things, the good news is that you can find beauty in the brokenness.
Examples of Brokenness in the Bible
There were two women I wanted to focus on that served as examples of brokenness in the Bible for me.
The widow, her son and the prophet Elijah – (1 Kings 17: 10-12) – If you read 1st Kings, the widow explains that, she can’t provide Elijah with a meal. The widow showed signs of brokenness, as she explained that she had planned to give up and anticipated death for her and her son.
The Woman And the Alabaster Box – (Luke 7: 36-50) – She shows us how to find the beauty in the brokenness, and there were four lessons I wanted to share with you.
How to Find Beauty in Brokenness Like the Woman and the Alabaster Box
Embrace the Brokenness – One of the first things to do to with brokenness is to embrace it. Luke 7:37 paints a colorful picture of the woman and the alabaster box. We ultimately derive that she was immoral or lived a sinful life. The following verses doesn’t say what she has done or what this woman thinks about herself.
But, The woman with the alabaster jar does not argue or fight back when others talk about her. She is also crying that would indicate sadness from the brokenness or the sin that may be eating at her. In my opinion, she has embraced her brokenness. We all had some things that kept us broken and feeling unworthy. But, we cannot get the help that we need if we don’t acknowledge or accept the brokenness that comes into our lives.
Position Yourself in the Brokenness –And, Luke 7:38 says Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.
She knelt behind Jesus at his feet, crying. In other words, this woman was real about her issues. She may not have had words, she may have not known, who’s house she was in. But, we do know that she was at the feet of Jesus. To be at someone’s feet can symbolize humility and respect. She may have not even felt worthy to be near Jesus, but her kneeling position shows that she was grateful to be there.
This is where this woman needed to be. She made herself available. I can imagine this unnamed woman saying “Okay, Jesus. Here I am with all of my issues.” And, we too, must do the same in the midst of brokenness.
Share Your Brokenness Despite the Crowd -The Christians in this story had an opinion about what the woman with the alabaster jar was doing and how she was doing it. And, yet this woman didn’t move and provides another example of how to find beauty in brokenness..
She stayed despite what people thought or said. The woman with the alabaster box did what she had to do. Matthew 26:8-9 said even the disciples were like, you could have did something different than this. Luke 7:38 NIV uses the word “kept”, which indicates that this woman would not stop. In your brokenness, are you getting moved by the people or are you becoming immovable to be closer to Jesus.
Bless God in your Brokenness – Despite the unnamed woman’s issues, she pulled out her very best to bless God. The Bible tells us that the jar of perfume was expensive. Although others consider the act a waste, the woman with the alabaster jar decided to use it on Jesus. This immoral woman also kissed the master’s feet, a sign of humility and worship to our Lord, and Savior.
When is the last time, someone questioned you about the price you were willing to pay in your brokenness? Have you ever been called crazy because what you were willing to give to God? When has your worship caused controversy?
We know the woman with the alabaster box blessed Jesus, because he does several things:
He praised her for what she had done
He forgave her sins.
He gave her honor.
He saved her.
MY BREAKING POINT
In the Summer of 2017, I refer to it as the Summer of Hell for me. It was definitely a 12th round situation for me. Unexpectedly my mother, a spiritual force died. It took a lot of me that she left and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye. I loved her so much, but I didn’t always verbally express it. I immediately saw my world broken into pieces. And, I am still recovering two years later. A month after my mother had passed, I had to watch another dear family member fight for his life. During this summer, I would also have to endure my 7th pregnancy loss and the unexpected death of my dog (who was like a baby to me).
I had felt so beat up to the point one day, I found myself in a restaurant with tears streaming down my face. No words, just tears. And, my husband Marcus was scared that they were going to call the police in fear that he was holding me against my will. Brokenness had shown up at my door.
Beauty in Brokenness is Necessary
There are plenty of times, that I look back and ask God why those things had to occur in my life. And, as much as it hurt me, I could hear a whisper tell me that it was necessary for me to broken. In order to get to another level of service and worship to God, the brokenness had to occur. It gets me closer to becoming the Masterpiece that he destined me to be. Although it still hurts, the death of my Mom was a part of God’s plan for me. And, the brokenness that you may be feeling is a part of your plan too.
Because the second part of Ephesians 2:10 says:
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Healing from Brokenness
Listen, a lot of us are waiting for a healing from brokenness to move on. Or, we make plans to do God’s will once things get back to normal. I, too felt that way. But, one day, my husband told me to stop expecting to live life the same way as I had lived when my Mom was here on this Earth. We can’t change the past, but we can use our brokenness and experiences to shape our future.
God will and can heal us from brokenness.
I am also reminded of Isaiah 61:3 that says
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
But, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still color right now. Your usefulness is not broken, for you to be God’s masterpiece. Your purpose is still there.
The Beauty is the Result of Your Actions
The beauty can be seen as the actions that draw you or others closer to God. What has happened for me is a commitment to understand God’s Word. I am just days away now from completing the Bible in a year for the very first time in my life. I would have never even gotten to this milestone without the brokenness.
Although I started my blog before the summer of 2017, I didn’t truly dedicate my time to it until September 13, 2018. I have been more committed to my blog now than ever before. And, I enjoy creating resources that others may find helpful. And, I am truly amazed when someone downloads a resource or reads a post. What actions can you take to work on your relationship with God or to even spread the Gospel?
How to Find Beauty in Brokenness: It Starts With You
I want you to know that we all have the opportunity like the woman with the alabaster box. You can find beauty in brokenness. It may just be a teeny and tiny step in the beginning. Or, maybe it will be major like the woman and the alabaster box. But, we all must understand that in times of brokenness, we can only lean on God.
In Luke 7:50, Jesus said to the woman,
“Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
God has granted us permission to pour our all into him – our worries, our heartache, our brokenness. And, we can do this that we can live in peace—knowing that our Father is there. Don’t be afraid to use your brokenness to color on life’s canvas.