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Standing in the kitchen after our dinner party had ended, I picked up the beautiful China plate that was my husband’s grandmother’s. We purchased it at her estate auction.  I admired the sweet pink roses that patterned the milk white glass as I washed and dried the fragile family heirloom.  As I was placing the plate into the cupboard for safekeeping until the next dinner, it slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor.  I stood there – frozen – looking at the broken remains of what was once one of the most beautiful treasures.  I was upset, and angry at myself.  How could I be so careless?  

I picked up the pieces and stored them in a box until maybe one day I could fix this plate in some way.  My sad attempt, I guess, to make myself feel better.  

One day finally came.  I sat out back of the house on the picnic table.  The sun was shining and the birds were chirping and I felt good about restoring this plate… into something, even if it wasn’t a plate any longer.  I just couldn’t let this heirloom be trashed.  I just couldn’t.

I had gathered some information about mosaic art. I figured that I could transform this lovely broken plate into some sort of new family heirloom.  

As I sat alone and carefully picked up each piece and placed it on some poster board to arrange my pattern. My thoughts went astray…

What if this plate was not a plate? 

What if this plate were a person?

How would I help that person?

Was that person meant to be fixed? Or, would the person remain shattered?

What do I do when I see a broken person?  Do I walk away and ignore them like I don’t see the brokenness in them?  Do I scoop them up and try to help them repair their brokenness?  

Wouldn’t I want someone to help me if I were broken?  Wouldn’t I want to still be admired? Wouldn’t I want someone to still love me? If I were broken or chipped or worse – SHATTERED – would I still matter to anyone?  Could I still be loved?

God commands us in Deuteronomy 15:11 (NKJV)
“For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore, I command you, saying, you shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and your needy, in your land.”

Galatians 6:2(ESV) tells us:
 “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

On this journey through life, we are going to meet broken people.  Sometimes, we will barely be able to even see their fractures until we are up close and personal. For others, we will be able to see how shattered they truly are, even from a distance.

Will we want to get involved? Do we need the drama? Do I have time to take on someone else’s hardships? It’s easy to just pass on by the broken but God commands us to help them.  He says to open our hands wide! He doesn’t tell us to walk by with a clenched fist, murmuring “I don’t have time for this.”

Matthew 25:40(NLT) Jesus speaks the words:
“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sister, you were doing it to me!’”

I got up from my picnic table and searched the house for a more suitable way to store my broken plate.  When I returned to the table I gathered up my beautiful, broken plate pieces and I carefully placed them in a jar. I put a small doily over the top of the jar and tied it with a piece of tattered string.   I proudly displayed my jar in my kitchen right in front of the other plates. My plate was perfect just the way it was.  It was beautifully broken.  

When company would come over, my jar would almost always come up in conversation. They would tell me how beautiful the pieces looked through the wavy glass jar. It made my heart smile as I would explain to my guest that God gave me this sweet reminder to always remember how fragile people are.  All of us at one time or another are broken.  It was a reminder that we need to scoop each other up and love each other through the brokenness and to sometimes just hold onto each other. It’s a reminder that some of us are whole and some of us are broken but each of us are beautiful and loved and valued by God.

Dearest Heavenly Father,
Give me a heart that always sees the needs of others and to always remember that your command is for me to love them.  I know, Lord, that I will not be able to mend everyone but, Lord, I can love them through their brokenness.  Thank you, Lord, for the people that you have sent my way to “scoop me up” and to love on me also.  With this prayer, Father God, I pray that the broken that do not know you find a path to you.  Help me to be a guiding light.  
In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Deb Ridenour

Deb Ridenour has been married to her teenage sweetheart for almost 34 years. They have three children they are so very proud of and they have five grands that they are even more proud of! Deb is a doggie mom to Gunner and it is no secret that he is her favorite child (he even has a tag to prove it!)

Deb seeks to honor and glorify God in all she does.

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