Chapter 3

Repaired Pots

Have you ever seen those stunning Japanese pottery bowls, threaded through with veins of gold? Expressively translated to “golden joinery,” is the centuries-old Japanese art of renewing broken pottery. Rather than re-bond the ceramic pieces with an invisible adhesive, the kintsugi technique uses a special tree sap lacquer dusted with powdered gold. Once completed, seams of gold shimmer in the cracks, making each “repaired” pot one of a kind.

God does something much like this with each of his children. He picks up our broken pieces and sets about repairing us. And just like kintsugi artists, who often make the repaired piece even more beautiful than the original, revitalizing it and giving it a second life, God restores our lives. His light shines best through the fractured places. Leonard Cohen said it best when he sang, “There is a crack in everything . . . That’s how the light gets in.”

God restores our lives. His light shines best through the fractured places. Leonard Cohen said it best when he sang, “There is a crack in everything . . . That’s how the light gets in.”

Do you see the golden seams in the broken parts of your story? I am beginning to see them better than ever, glinting in ways big and small. Some may call it coincidence or even grasping at straws. But as I reflect, and learn more of our loving, adopting Father, I see more and more clearly glints of gold:

  • My birth mother is a Dutch/Polish writer, and I adore tulips, pierogis, and writing.
  • My birth father, who proved to be a heart-wrenching disappointment to me, nonetheless passed down some wonders through his DNA, including an Olympic connection (I am the world’s biggest Winter Olympics fan). Best of all, when I took a DNA test, one of my four ancestral homes on my biological father’s side was revealed to be Prince Edward Island, home of my literary life guru, Anne of Green Gables.
  • My dad (my adoptive dad, aka my real dad) passed down his tender heart for the underdog and a lifelong love of books and reading.

Because my dad and my mom adopted me, my husband and I would go on to adopt a baby girl from Korea.

Because an immigrant and refugee adopted me, I have a deep concern for refugees and immigrants. I know what it is, via my dad, to be welcomed or rejected as a stranger in a new land.

Because a bookseller and lover of story adopted me, part of my work on this earth is to write and tell stories.

God is patiently waiting for me—for all of us—to wake up and pay attention to all the ways He is renovating, repairing, renewing, and redeeming our souls.

God is patiently waiting for me—for all of us—to wake up and pay attention to all the ways He is renovating, repairing, renewing, and redeeming our souls.

But God doesn’t just glue us back to together so we merely function. He makes sure never to leave us abandoned in our messy beginnings and situations and choices.

Like a kintsugi artist, day after day, week after week, stage by stage, the Creator cleans us, treats us, enhances us with pure gold, and heals us.

Like a kintsugi artist, day after day, week after week, stage by stage, the Creator cleans us, treats us, enhances us with pure gold, and heals us.

As I’ve said before, my adoption story—like many adoption stories—began in the debris of lust, loathing, abandonment, and grief. But for all of my life, God has also been at work making all things new, though it took me years to see his handiwork.

If you are fortunate enough to own a kintsugi pot, you know how the golden seams flash and wink at you in the light. I am learning to pay attention to those shimmery winks. They remind me that because an adopting Father adopted us all, we know are loved. We know he is making all things new.

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