Transformed by Jagged Grace

The painter’s brush strokes glide across the page to create a beautiful masterpiece. The quilter gathers scraps of fabric and pieces them together to make a gorgeous quilt. The film maker captures snapshots in a frame to build a video masterpiece. These are just some of the ways God uses individual’s gifts to make art; to make pieces into something whole.

Six months (and 4 days ago), I began a journey that was quite unexpected for me. It caused me to live in liminal space; between the what was and what was yet to come. I found myself standing in the midst of the fog searching to see where God might be leading me next. There were days I wondered if I would ever be able to find the light again.

Yet in the midst of this jagged grace, God showed up big time like God always does. As I stood 300 feet from the base of the mountain last June, a sense of holy peace fell upon me as the tears began to pour from my eyes. Standing there, as I laid the past behind me and began to reach for the future, a glimmer of hope opened the door to new possibilities. Ellie Holcomb’s words echo throughout the wide open spaces at the top of Estes Cone.

“We’ve buried dreams, laid them deep into the earth behind us. Said our goodbyes at the grave but everything reminds us. I know sweet ache when he asks us to go on. How do we go on?” (Ellie Holcomb-Red Sea Road lyrics)

We go on because in the midst of jagged grace, God blesses us beyond measure. God promises to never leave us or forsake us. God places incredible family and friends in our lives who wipe away our tears and give us a shoulder to cry on or simply a place to just be.

I remember sitting on the paddle boat on my friend EG’s farm. Together, in the stillness of the North Dakota prairie, I again found myself overcome with a deep peace that only comes from God; a deep peace that would sustain me in the coming days, months, and weeks.

In the midst of liminal space, or rather jagged grace, it can be so hard to find our way out of the darkness back into the light. Yet our God is a God who gives us the grace to be made whole again. Again in the words of one of my favorite songs “Beautiful Things” by Gungor, “God makes beautiful things out of dust; out of us.”

In the last six months, I have been dropped, molded, and shaped back into a beautifully broken but whole again child of God. This time of jagged grace has shaped me back into who and whose I am as a beloved child of God. But most especially, in this time of jagged grace, I have been made whole again. I am a living example of God’s kintsugi; the gold lacquer shining over my broken pieces and telling the story of God’s love for all people.

Six months later and after these 31 days, I now know the power of jagged grace. Jagged grace is indeed a grace that overcomes life’s obstacles. It is a grace that absolutely breaks forth and changes us. In fact, how can it not change us. This jagged grace is indeed a grace that sustains us all in our own brokenness and makes us whole again and again and again.

I stand here today, knowing that I am changed; transformed by jagged grace. I stand here knowing that, through jagged grace, I have been able to overcome many of the obstacles placed in my path. I stand here with the marks and scars of my own brokenness. And most of all, I stand here knowing that I am one of God’s masterpieces created to share God’s love with all the world especially in the midst of our times of jagged grace.

I am linking up with Kelly and the Ra Ra linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart and Kristin and Porch Stories.


 


Click Here to Head to the Jagged Grace Landing Page

A Holy Eternal Light

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.”

There are times that the darkness can be so overwhelming. Growing up, as a daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness, there were times that my family and my mom especially could not see past the darkness. They were blinded and paralyzed by the darkness of life. And it is during these times that we yearn to see the light; to grasp for the candle.

Have you ever noticed during a power outage how a candle gives just enough light? The candle allows us to see in the midst of pure darkness. A simple candle burning its light to give just enough light in the house.

During my times of jagged grace, it is then that I have especially have yearned to find the candle to bring light. It is during these hard times that it seems that I cannot find my way out of the dark. I am clawing my way out of the dark back into the light.

Jesus is the light that comes in the midst of all of life’s darkness; in the midst of all of those times of jagged grace. Jesus is the light that shines forth for all the world to see. And Jesus calls us to shine forth our own lights; to shine for our friends and family and all who are yearning to find light in the midst of jagged grace.

This light is the holy eternal light that burns brightly and promises never to let the darkness overcome us. Thanks be to God!


Click Here to Head to the Jagged Grace Landing Page

A Bruised Heart

Throughout life, we experience all sorts of unexpected change and broken dreams and hearts. Sometimes those changes and broken dreams and hearts are expected. And other times they seem to come out of nowhere…bruising our tender hearts.

It’s like when we bruise our body and wonder what we hit to cause the black and blue mark to appear. Life too is full of those times when we are hit straight in the gut. Our tender hearts left black and blue from the reality of life.

Yet like the black and blue marks on our bodies, they heal. Our hearts heal too. We are more cautious about who we let in. We are more wary about taking chances. We know that God gives us the strength to overcome all that happens in life. God works together for the good of all people especially in the midst of jagged grace.

With a tender heart, bruised by the realities of life and jagged grace, God has given me the courage and bravery that allows me to trust. To trust that I can overcome anything that is placed in my way. Knowing that my tender heart will be made whole again but still bearing the scars of Jagged Grace.


Click Here to Head to the Jagged Grace Landing Page

 

When You Realize What You’ve Overcome…

I am linking up for the Five Minute Friday. This is also Day 27 of the Write 31 Days challenge. The FMF is hosted by Kate Motaung over at our Five Minute Friday website. Today’s word prompt is “overcome.” We would love to have you join us.

When you’re standing here and realize how far you’ve come; how much you’ve overcome.

I overcame systematic theology. Two times and an independent study. And a professor who realizes you are an auditory learner so he creates an independent study for you.

I overcame climbing a mountain in the Colorado Rockies. Pushing myself beyond what I thought my limits were.

I am continuing to overcome the Write 31 Days challenge. Overcoming a love-hate relatyionship. Overcoming interludes. Overcoming fog. Overcoming the summit of a mountain. Overcoming the changing seasons of fall. Overcoming a lot!

I have overcome so much–an unexpected job change, wondering what was next, then a new job and a new home. But I’m standing here; changed and renewed.

God has this way of standing with us and helping us overcome Jagged Grace. God works together for the good of all people. God gives us the strength and redeems us so we can overcome the next hard thing. It doesn’t mean the hard won’t come, but that God will continually give us the strength to overcome.


Click Here to Head to the Jagged Grace Landing Page

 

 

The Changing Leaves of Fall

Green yields to red
Red to orange

The sunburst colors of a sunset
Now set out in the changing and falling
of the leaves.


I love watching the colors of the trees change this time of the year. The deep greens yielding to the brightest colors of reds, yellows, and oranges. The trees changing and transforming before our eyes.

It often literally takes my breath away as I drive down the highway. Coming over the hill, deep in the valley, the shades of red, orange, and yellow spread out across the land. It is yet another sign of the changing of the seasons.

Soon the colors begin to fall to the ground and we are left with barren trees. Fall yielding to Winter; Winter then yielding to Spring; Spring to Summer; and then Summer back to Fall again. It is a continuous cycle of the beauty of God’s amazing creation. It reminds me of how God changes and transforms all of us.

In this Fall season, I am thankful for how far I have come over the last six months. I see the ways God has been moving in my life; how the Holy Spirit has been moving and breathing in my own life. I see where my cracks are now covered in gold lacquer like in the Japanese art form of kintsugi. I stand here knowing that I have been transformed in new and amazing ways. I had to be broken down in order to be built back up. And now I am whole again; but just a little bit more wary and fragile because of where I have been.

Our God is a God of renewal and transformation that walks with us and continually transforms us in the midst of jagged grace. For it is in those seasons of jagged grace, that we are blessed again and again through the waiting, renewal and resurrection of our own stories. It is in this very same place where we are again and again also reminded of who and whose we are. In other words, we carry our own beautiful colors of the changing leaves of Fall.


Click Here to Head to the Jagged Grace Landing Page

Our Gold Lacquer

The colored sand spilled out on the floor to create a beautiful cross. I remember this moment as if it was yesterday. It was a hot summer day when my co-counselor and myself found ourselves in the craft shack with our campers. One of our more difficult campers picked up the jar of colored sand to work on her piece of sand art. But in her carelessness, the jar spilled out onto the floor. Frustrated with our camper, we began to grab items to clean up the floor. But in moments, we were stopped dead in our tracks. I looked down and laying on the floor was this beautiful cross.

In it’s brokenness, it was not a perfect cross. In fact, it was far from perfect; spreading from one side to the other the sand created a new image on the floor. And in our own brokenness, God makes us whole again too; makes us new. In fact, it is the gold lacquer of our own stories that tell again and again who and whose we are as beloved children of God.

My gold lacquer shines forth as I share the words “I am the daughter of a woman who lives daily with a mental illness.” My gold lacquer glistens as I share the stories of my own faith journey. My gold lacquer is still a little wet from living through unexpected change and coming to the other side of the mountain; to the next best thing. And, my friends, your gold lacquer shines and glistens as you tell your own stories of kintsugi; of brokenness.

And Jesus himself holds his own stories of brokenness. Jesus bears the scars of the nails in his hands and feet and the crown of thorns on his head. Jesus bled as he uttered his last breath. Yet Jesus overcame death and the grave because of God’s power–the one who ultimately has the power to overcome death and the grave. God resurrected his son from the grave. God redeems all that is broken. In fact, our God is a God of redemption and hope.

Redemption and hope that carries through our own cracks; our own broken lines that are covered in gold lacquer. Gold lacquer that continually reminds us that we are never alone; that God promises to never leave us or forsake us. It also continually reminds us of the promise that we are God’s beloved children. The gold lacquer tells us again and again who and whose we are especially when we can’t seem to remember who and whose we are.


Click Here to Head to the Jagged Grace Landing Page

I am also linking up with Kelly and the RaRa linkup, Jennifer and Tell His Story, Holley and Coffee for your Heart, and Kristin and Porch Stories. 
 

 

Just Too Much

Fear is a crazy thing. It can so easily paralyze us in the midst of life;especially in the midst of changes and jagged grace. In fact, fear sneaks in so quickly that it can stop us dead in our tracks and prevent us from trying the next new thing. Yet the words “Do not be afraid” appear many times in Scripture; 365 times to be exact—one for each day of the year. I believe Jesus said those words that many times because God wants to remind us that God will never leave us or forsake us. God will be with us every second, every minute, every second, every hour, every day.

Yet in the midst of life’s challenges though, it can be so easy to forget that promise. We get caught up in too much fear, just too much of it all. Yet the truth is that God has plans for each and every one of us.

“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.”–Jeremiah 29:11-12

There have been times when I have had a hard time trusting that God is with me every step of the way. I have found myself curling up in a ball and wanting to shut the entire world out. There have been times when I have fallen deep into the depths of fear, sadness, and lost hope.

Yet the reality is that our God is a God of hope! God overcame death and the grave. God is the light that shines in the midst of the darkness. God is a God who gives us the strength and courage to get through the next hard thing…and for that I am eternally grateful.


In relation to today’s post, I have to share about Annie F. Down’s new book 100 Days to Brave which releases TODAY! I loved “Looking for Lovely” and “Let’s All Be Brave.” And I am so excited to read her new book. Annie has this way of conveying God’s love in a gentle loving manner that continually reminds me of who and whose I am.


Click Here to Head to the Jagged Grace Landing Page

God’s Beloved Kintsugi

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.”
And then Jesus breathed his last.

A man in his humanity
Dies on the cross
for our sins.

Jesus, in both his divinity and especially humanity, feels the power of jagged grace; of brokenness. Jesus hung on a cross for our sins. From the manger in Bethlehem, to the cross of calvary, Jesus feels, hears, experiences all that humanity has to offer. As an infant, Jesus wet his diaper. He cried out when he was tired, or hungry or both. Mary held him in her arms and together Mary and Joseph did everything they could to protect their son from harm.

Jesus is the ultimate example of kintsugi (as my friend Lesley said), Jesus knows what it means to be broken and then to be made whole again. It is a hope-filled promise that reminds me, reminds us all that we are not on this journey alone. Jesus too suffered. Jesus was broken and beaten…but then Jesus was made whole by overcoming death and the grave.

As we trust in this promise, we know that we are not alone. Jesus understands and promises to never leave us or forsake us. Jesus pieces us back together and reminds us that we are whole but a little bit more fragile than before. Jesus applies gold laquer over our own cracks to remind us that we are who we are because of our own broken experiences that shape us into who and whose we are.

Because I am one of God’s own kintsugi, and like you are too, we can place ourselves out on the shelf and share our own stories of brokenness. Remembering that in the midst of brokenness, in the midst of jagged grace, we are beautiful precious beloved children of God who calls each and every one of us by name. We are God’s own kintsugi.


Click Here to Head to the Jagged Grace Landing Page