finding beauty in brokenness


I was recently introduced to the art of broken pot gardens


As the name suggests, broken pots are upcycled into mini tiered gardens. Using the pieces of broken pot to create retaining walls, steps and other features. Some are transformed into magical fairy gardens with toadstools and miniature houses. 

When a pot is broken we generally consider it useless. It can no longer fulfil its purpose.

But these broken pot gardens are such a beautiful metaphor for the way God works in the brokenness of our lives. And this metaphor was made all the more powerful for me given the context I was in when I heard it. 

I was observing a team serving in a Girls Juvenile Prison in Thailand. There were more than 20 girls in the session – most of them incarcerated for drug related offences, some for prostitution; some for theft. Two of them were pregnant, there were two mums breastfeeding babies. 

So much brokenness.

The leader spoke of how we can feel like our brokenness disqualifies us from a life of purpose. How it can seem our bad choices or things that have happened to us can render us useless or leave our life in pieces.

She showed pictures of the broken pot gardens. They were beautiful. Ornate. Lush and healthy. So creative and imaginative.

Brokenness isn’t the end of the story. Your brokenness can be turned into something beautiful. Your life may not look like it was anticipated to look but that doesn’t make it useless or worthless. 

Perhaps there’s a message in that for you today. What is being made of the broken pieces of your life? What beauty is being created to make something of the damage, wounding and disappointment? 

how prayer saved my year 12 exams


A few (cough) years ago I was finishing my year 12. Back in those days, exams were a significant portion of the overall results (50% in some subjects!) and so the exam week was very much considered “make or break” in terms of final outcomes. 

My PE exam was on a Wednesday. On the Tuesday night I studied until late with plans for a long sleep-in to be rested and ready for my afternoon exam. 

Except at about 8:30am I woke suddenly and just felt “off”. I was sick in my stomach and unable to shake the feeling that something was wrong. I went to Mum and tried to explain what I was feeling and had a sudden sense of the connection between what I was experiencing and my exam. 

I decided to ring a friend who was due to take the same exam. I got through to her mum who confirmed what I was starting to suspect – the exam was in the morning! My friend was already there!!!

The exam started at 9am. We lived more than 20 minutes drive away from the exam location. I was in my pyjamas! Reading time finished at 9:30am and after that point I would be unable to enter the room. 

I threw on some clothes. Mum grabbed me a banana for breakfast. We drove in – under that terrible tension of knowing that without breaking the law or putting ourselves at risk (Mum would do neither!) we were going to be cutting it so so fine. 

I think I got out of the car while it was still moving and ran flat out to the door of the venue. I burst in and the whole room was watching the door. They all knew the time constraint and were panicking on my behalf. 

I sat in my seat at 9:27am. 

The following Sunday I was at church and sharing the story in response to questions about how my exams had gone. An older couple questioned – what time was that? What day?

When I told them, they exchanged stunned looks with one another and then shared the fact that on Wednesday morning they had been praying together as they did most mornings. At one point the lady had interrupted her husband saying “I think we need to pray for Kim!” It didn’t make much sense to them but they prayed anyway. 

I asked them what time that was. 

8:30am 

She remembered the time because when my name came to mind she had looked at the clock to see if it prompted any recollection of what I might be doing at that time or an association to lead them in their prayers. 

This story is a powerful testimony to me. It reminds me of God’s faithfulness. It reminds me of His nearness. It reminds me of the power of prayer. 

And I know that it was equally powerful for the couple. It confirmed that they had heard God’s prompt correctly. It encouraged them to know God might use them in His plans for someone else. 

Oh, and I passed the exam and subject too! 😃

Do you have a story of an experience like this? Have you had a powerful encounter with prompts to pray or God’s miraculous provision through prayer? Please share!

let’s start at the very beginning

So I did it! I completed my first ever tap class!

I encountered an early set back when the tap shoes I ordered online arrived and were the wrong size! They were too small. 

 
But they’re so pretty!!!!

So I had to do my first class in my good old sneakers. Clearly, anything that I got wrong was because of my inferior footwear and not at all correlated with my skill level! It was nice to have that excuse squared away early. 

Miss Abbie is the teacher. She is excellent. She said lots of dance-y words and made us repeat them because then we will remember them and then we will know what they mean and do them and then we will be doing them and that is the goal. 

Mostly what you do is flap, brush, hitch and drag and then hop, skip & jump. Oh wait, no, not the last bit. Although if you do that with a little shuffle in the middle you may just get away with looking like you know what you’re doing. 

Early learning – just because you say it out loud doesn’t mean your feet will do it. But that didn’t stop me saying it out loud – perhaps too loud – and louder the less my feet were actually responding (maybe they just couldn’t hear me?). 

Silly sneakers. I’m sure the tap shoes will work better.