Friday, April 15, 2016

Hope . . . From a Broken Plate, a Book, Patsy Clairmont, and Psalm 34:18

Can you find the cracks in my antique plate? 

Out of all the things on display at my bungalow this small plate, with its Chintz pattern, is one of my favorite treasures. It used to be my Grandma’s and during one of my many moves got broken. It was headed for the trash can when, right before being tossed away, I decided to try and fix it. I knew it could never be used to eat off again, but I could still enjoy its beauty, even with its imperfections. And I do. 

I'm pretty sure Elisa Morgan, author of The Beauty of Broken, would be in agreement with my salvaging my plate. Not because of the use of a piece of china on her book's cover, but because of her message about brokenness. 

The title has been on my "wish list" ever since I first gazed at the simple, striking cover and intriguing title. It wasn't until last week, though, that I took the time to look at the book's summary, author bio and read a few customer comments which convinced me I needed to read this title. So, in a matter of minutes I made the decision to buy the audio version, downloaded it, and soon thereafter began listening to Elisa narrate her own work. Now that I’ve finished it I can report: It was better than I expected!

It might surprise you, as it did me, that the author is the former CEO of Mothers of Preschoolers International, a Christian ministry better known as MOPS. She’s a very capable leader and radio host while being a devoted wife, mother, grandmother and, like all of us, part of a broken family.

I applaud her for writing an honest memoir. In it she reveals her inner battles and those of her original and current family, starting with her parent’s divorce and mother’s alcoholism. From there she lets us see her own brokenness and failed efforts at trying to fix the problems, both in herself and the two children she and her husband adopted. Undoubtedly, to write of her son’s drug addiction and her daughter’s teen pregnancies, one ending in a stillborn birth, or of her brother’s homosexuality, had to be difficult. Yet, it is evident her intent is not to harm but to address a truth which is the crux of her entire work: we are all broken . . . and only Jesus can fix us.

Repeatedly, as I listened to the book’s audio version, my thoughts turned to parents I know who have a similar story. Unfortunately, the broken family is common place these days, as is spotting a parent who tries to fix their kids problems. Or worse yet, one who enables a child and allowing the problem to persist. Anyone you know like that? If so, this book might encourage and help them. It contains good, solid, biblical, and practical advice written from a compassionate heart.

Though never married, nor have children, I found Elisa's remarks, especially about trying to fix others, a reminder I need to hear again and again . . . along with "Fixing others is God's job, not yours." So, don’t rule out suggesting this book to any adult, regardless of age, gender or status. 

While engrossed in Elisa’s book another title, somewhat similar in content but loaded with humor, came to mind: God Uses Cracked Pots by Patsy Clairmont. This author could be a stand up comic as her storytelling often leaves audiences laughing, but also thinking. Hard to believe Patsy was once an agoraphobic, fearful of being out in public and remained at home for some six years, but now a featured speaker at the Women of Faith conferences.

Here’s a snippet from one of her talks:

Years ago I owned a cassette tape of her message, also titled God Uses Cracked Pots, until it became entangled in a device. Unlike the antique plate above, this item did end up in the trash! Out of curiosity I checked Amazon and found it is available thanks to Focus on the Family in MP3 format ($1.99), so bought, downloaded and listened to it this week. It’s still the gem I remember. Made me laugh to the point of tears. I assure you, you will not regret listening to this woman. Also by Patsy is All Cracked Up: Experiencing God in the Broken Places, 2009, 140 pages, $6.99 paperback. I’ve not read it, but given that she’s penned 24 other titles it’s probably safe it say this one is a good read too.

Child-like writing and imperfections -- trademarks of home-spun decor! 

As I final thought, I leave you with a photo since it ties in with today's topic: brokenness. 

Embroidery isn’t something I often do, but last December the ol’ needle and thread were brought out to create this bit of home-spun art, based on a verse in Psalms: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18 NLT. 

It was for a friend who had spotted a similar piece in my home and commented how much she liked it. As she left I tucked away the idea to create one for her as a Christmas gift. It now hangs on a wall in her office and she’s remarked more than once how much it means to her. It's nothing special, but I include it here as a reminder that though we are all broken, we've a loving God who knows how to fix us.

It wasn’t my plan to write about “brokenness” this week, but I felt compelled by God to set aside my agenda and follow His lead. Hope it is exactly what you needed to read or hear.

P.S. Just a reminder: if you want to be notified whenever I put out a new post all you have to do is submit your email up top. I promise you I won't share your information. 

1 comment:

  1. I just loved everything about this post, Julie. I have met Patsy and heard her speak. I'm sure you've heard of Florence Littauer, creater of CLASS seminars for writers and speakers. I was privileged to attend twice and met Patsy and her dear friend, Marilyn Meberg. Let me encourage you to get Marilyn's book: Choosing the Amusing. She and Patsy both have great testimonies about rising above extremely difficult life situations with grace, dignity and humor. I so enjoyed reading your comments about broken dreams, lives, yes, and plates. Great work!


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