Nestled between layers of bubble wrap and paper towels, seashells of varying shapes, sizes, and colors filled the plastic tub. My sister in law mailed a special package from the Florida coast to surprise me; a pile of special shells with mended cracks and broken parts.

None were perfect. These shells revealed years of growth and marks from being buffeted by the elements. Proteins and calcium worked together to create rock solid homes for the vulnerable ocean inhabitants that previously lived inside each one.

When shells get cracks or scratches, the mantel secretes a substance to thicken crystal like layers which keep the crack from spreading. Mollusk shells repair cracks and damage from within. Interestingly, repaired cracks or breaks remain visible on the outer shell for the entire life of the shell offering a distinguishing adornment.

Repair – To fix or mend a thing suffering from damage or to put right a damaged relationship or unwelcome situation.

I find it amazing that shells within the sea, designed by God, repair themselves and yet carry remnants of the damage for the remainder of its existence. I never knew shells actually repaired themselves.

The shells remind me of the ancient Japanese art called Kintsugi which means “golden repair.” Kintsugi takes broken pottery and repairs it, mending it to reveal an even greater beauty. Kintsugi takes the pieces of fragmented pottery and repairs the cracks with a lacquer resin and a dusting powder of gold, silver, or platinum. Within the flawed and imperfect, beauty emerges. Instead of disguising the damage, the brokenness of the ceramic becomes even more stunning making it rare, unique and lovely.

Both the repaired seashells and Japanese Kintsugi remind me of the redemptive movement of God in humanity. God, the master Repairer, offers healing and hope to broken and suffering people by His Spirit within.

Our Triune God made a way to repair creation’s severed relationship with Himself through the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Before knowing Jesus love and embracing Him as Savior, perhaps the largest crack in our lives is the disconnection between our soul and its creator. When we surrender to God, He pours the resin of His love into our being, filling the crack and painting it with the beauty of His presence.

Reflect on your relationship with God – do you need to invite His healing presence into your connection with Him? In what ways you see the grace of God in your connection with Him?

Mending relationships flows from the heart of God. Not only does God mend our relationship with Himself, but He also mends damaged relationships in our lives. Maybe you’ve been hurt or betrayed by someone? Welcome God’s healing resin to mend the cracks by bringing His healing and depth into a renewed relationship.

Consider your relationships with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and ministry partners. How can Jesus mend the cracks of miscommunication and mistreatment between those involved? Ask the God of all hope to pour out His love and peace into each relationship. Humble yourself, forgive, and love well.

Repair – To fix or mend a thing suffering from damage or to put right a damaged relationship or unwelcome situation.

The repaired seashell, Kintsugi pottery, and each person on the planet reveal the potential presence of brokenness transformed into beauty. Not only does God mend relationships but He also enters into each person’s unique suffering. God takes our brokenness, the pieces of our lives, and redeems and restores us. We are His vessels and the instruments through which He shines his love and truth. (see 2 Timothy 2:21)
God meets you in your places of longing, despair, confusion, and sorrow. What cracks need God’s curing lacquer in your life? Welcome the tender attention of God to the pains in your life. God not only meets you in your pain, but He redeems the broken, creating lasting eternal wholeness and holness.

Ask God to extend His mending presence into the cracks in your life. 

There’s no need to hide or disguise your cracks, scratches or brokenness. Imagine God’s love mending your cracks and brokenness into your shining features.  It is His love that shines through His work in the cracks of your life.

Jesus mended cracks for the leper, the bleeding woman, the seizing child, floundering fishermen (Peter and Andrew), tax collectors ( Zaccheus and Matthew), the unfaithful (the woman caught in adultery), the abused (Tamar), friends (at the wedding in Cana), and his family.

Today, by the Holy Spirit, He offers repair to the cracks in our lives. Let Jesus repair the cracks in your life with His presence, letting His transformative work reveal the beautiful vessel He created you to be.

The next time your accidentally break a dish instead of discarding it, maybe repair it and remember it as an example of God’s redemptive work within your own life and the lives of those around you.

Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.

2 Timothy 2:21 –  Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.

Isaiah 61:1-3 –  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning.

Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Read these recommended books to fill your soul.

Rebecca Olmstead. Loved So Much It Hurts: Purpose in the Pain Walla Walla, WA. 2020.

Jody Thomae. . The Creator’s Healing Power–Restoring the Broken to Beautiful: Bible Studies to Nurture the Creative Spirit Within.   Ashland, OH. 2018.

Sprinklings of Truth: Soak in meaningful songs. Check out these music videos to lift up your spirit.

Gunger. Beautiful Things.

Mistermotoki. The Art of Kintsugi | Transformation through Brokenness & Restoration.