Broken Pieces Made Beautiful

Updated: Nov 22, 2019



When we looked around at our fellow missionaries-in-training at our week long Pre-Departure Orientation over a year ago, I remember the excitement and anticipation building in each of us. Learning in theory what life in another culture would be like, how we would navigate our lives practically as expats, and what our goals are as a mission organization. Expectant parents reading through Parenting 101. Listening admiringly to the seasoned vets tell us of their failures, cultural "aha's", and let's not forget the multiple near-death experiences and kidnapping stories. We all imagined, as our future lives flash before us....but in vitro. Eager expectation of what life could be like.

I am His pieces. And every day I need to say "Here I am, Lord. Make me into what You will."

What we didn't know then was what God had already planned for us in Costa Rica for our year of language training. Language training... yeah, that's what we were here for. Ha!

This year has been transformational. That is a pretty big statement to make, but it is true.

I want to share a visual the Lord gave me about half way through our time here.

Before we left as missionaries, Joel and I were these simple flower vases. You know, the ones you can pick up at Hobby Lobby or Pinterest to your heart's content? As we prepared to leave and raise funds, vibrant pictures were painted on our vases. We were polished by others, ourselves and the mission we were embarking upon. And whether we realized it or not, we were being placed on a high shelf. We spoke of our qualifications, our work history, and our zeal for serving God in a foreign place. Each time we shared with our supporters, we reassured ourselves and them that we were prepared and able to complete the tasks we would face.

By the time we arrived in Costa Rica, our vases even popped out of the top with real, beautiful bromeliad flowers native to the Caribbean. Painted, polished, adorned...

Prepared, right?

The swirling winds of culture, language, and... what IS that consuming hurt that creeps in every time I fail? Pride.... Each vase teeters in its own time and ultimately tips from its shelf. Each breaks into impossibly tiny pieces, on the tile flooring that is so easy to clean but unforgiving when it comes to breaking glass or ceramic. Shattered.


This is where I want you, says the Lord. I don't want your painted pictures. I don't want your polished vase. And I certainly don't want you elevated by yourself and others on a high shelf. I know you can't see it. But I have something beautiful in mind. You wouldn't comprehend it if I tried to explain it to you.

Piece by piece God has picked them up. It isn't complete, not even close. But we are where the Lord wanted us to be all along... low, and in His hands. That is what He asks of us every day. Am I in His hands? Have I allowed myself and others to fix me up and put me up high on the shelf. When I am on a shelf I can't see what is happening on the real ground level. Jesus taught this with His life. He, the King, came as a baby, and was placed in an animal's feeding trough. ...rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. Philippians 2:7

His disciples fought over who would be seated high next to the King. And Jesus taught them they must be brought low, like what He was willing to do. For even the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:45

Jesus was not afraid of the low places. When I say low places, I don't just mean poor places, or physically dirty places. Yes, He was and is in those places. But what about the low places the Pharisees and Saducees were lost in? They were lost in a sea of rules, and legalism. I love that Jesus consistently addressed sinners of all kinds. He helped the poor and reached out to the religious too. They all, we all, suffer from the same disease. Sin that infects us.

When I fell from the high place, it was painful. And can I be honest? I still find myself up on a shelf. The Lord has been teaching me the only way to know if I am on a shelf or am low is if I spend time with Him every day. I have to ask the question. Lord am I lifting myself up or am I low? I need to bow my head and confess that I am His creation.

I am His pieces. And every day I need to say "Here I am, Lord. Make me into what You will."

#heart #disciples #Jesus #God #vase #reality #supporters

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Joel & Angel Ballew

770-331-4384

joel@12degreesnorth.org

ballews@gmail.com

Joel's Skype ID: joelballew

Angel's Skype ID: angelynnballew

Twitter: @joelballew

 

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South America

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