January 13, 2021

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For Christmas, I bought the ladies in the family these necklaces with a beautiful colored glass charm on them. And the Japanese word "nozomi." There's a story behind those necklaces.

In 2011 a tsunami virtually leveled the Japanese coastal city of Ishinomaki. All that was left was fields of debris where homes and tearooms once stood. Sue Takamoto was helping to clear away some of the debris one day when she noticed all the colorful shards of broken pottery that were everywhere she stepped. It was all that remained of the tearooms and kitchens that had been swept out to sea.

Sue and her friends collected and washed those shards, because they saw in those broken pieces a way to help some broken lives. They began the Nozomi Project - Japanese for "hope."

The tsunami had left a lot of single mothers without a job or income. The Nozomi Project enables them to create rings and necklaces and earrings from the broken pieces. Then it's sold online - to people like me.

Sue Takamoto said: "Many of these women lost their community and their neighbors are all gone. Their homes are washed away, and they're living in scattered places. But God can take broken pottery and broken women who think that life is over for them and do anything He wants. We are in the midst of seeing amazing things. In the rubble of our storm, we all have lots of broken pieces. We can leave them broken. Or, she said, with God's grace and help, make them into something beautiful. Something called hope."

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Beautiful Brokenness."

There's a lot of "broken" today. Broken hearts, broken dreams, broken families, broken health, broken relationships. For me, the tsunami was the sudden death of my Karen, the love of my life.

Our word for today from the Word of God is a word of hope for all of us who have some broken in our life. It's in Isaiah 61:1-3 and it's about Jesus: "The Lord...has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to provide for those who grieve, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes." Beauty from ashes. Nozomi. Hope.

A broken heart is an open heart. It's open in places that may have never been open before. And Jesus moves into those places with His transforming love and comfort and healing. For 2,000 years, He's been making beautiful things in people's lives from broken pieces.

I know He's been keeping the "beauty from ashes" promise for me. Something's been happening to me that's hard to describe. My heart's more tender toward other people and toward God than ever before. It's like a new compassion.

I value each day more than ever. I live with a re-fired sense of urgency. I'm thinking legacy more than ever, being intentional about passing on to my children and grandchildren and young leaders what God has taught me in a lifetime. And there's just something very special going on between me and God. He seems closer, seems more real to me than ever. Beautiful things from my broken pieces.

My prayer for you is that you will bring all your broken pieces to Jesus, lay them at His feet and open your hands to receive what He wants to give you. He loved you enough to die for you. He was powerful enough to crush death and walk out of His grave. He can be trusted.

You don't have to stay broken. Jesus stands ready to lead you into a new season where you'll make a greater difference than ever before. He knows broken. He was broken for you and me on a cross. And the Bible says, "By His wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).

You could find out more about beginning your own personal relationship with Him at our website, which this would be a great day for you to go there - ANewStory.com.

He's waiting to do for you the miracle described in a little Gospel song that says, "Something beautiful, something good. All my confusion, He understood. All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife, but He made something beautiful of my life."