China cabinets are typically showcases for fine china, crystal, figurines, and other items of great value. That being so, I’m certain it would seem odd to most folks that proudly displayed in the center of mine is a pig. You read that right, a pig. Specifically, it is the remnants of a ceramic piggy bank that has been carefully sutured together with copious amounts of hot glue.
What a strange item to have on display in a cabinet meant for items of great value, no?
Well, that little piggy taught me two very important life lessons, and that’s why it’s on display: so that I will never forget.
The first lesson, and quite honestly it’s the easiest one to remember, is that you really shouldn’t buy a fragile item for a three-year-old. Of course, most of y’all probably knew that already, but clearly, my husband and I lacked that kind of wisdom. Thanks to a certain piggy in the hands of a toddler, that is no longer the case.
The second lesson is a harder one to learn, and it tends to be the sort of lesson we easily forget, even though it harkens us back to the most important thing —
“For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”Galatians 5: 14 (NKJV)
LOVE. Love everyone. No matter how broken. Because you were once broken too.
Let me tell you the story …
It was my daughter Emily’s third birthday. Em was an adorable little thing with her big hazel eyes and wavy blonde hair. Although she would grow up to be an excellent dancer and even a black sash in Kung Fu, at that time there were many good reasons that her nickname was “Crash.” Em would trip over the air. So, with an abundant lack of wisdom, we decided to get our clumsy toddler a ceramic piggy bank for a birthday gift.
She had seen the piggy at a craft store, and since she liked it so much it seemed like the perfect gift. We purchased the pig and some sparkly decals. At the time, honestly, it didn’t seem like a terrible idea. So, after the usual birthday festivities, Em ripped open the wrapping paper and squealed with delight at the sight of the glistening white pig.
For the next two hours, Em and her dad carefully placed the decals all over the piggy bank. The finished product was absolutely adorable — a shiny white piggy with sparkly hearts, stars, and swirls. It was a masterpiece! With the piggy bedazzling mission complete, her dad joined me in the kitchen.
It was maybe thirty seconds later that we heard the CRASH.
There was a brief moment of stunned silence.
My husband and I stood there, staring at Emily — her little hands still outstretched with the piggy smashed at her feet. Then, having processed what had just happened, the corners of her little mouth turned down and the river of tears began to flow. I scooped her up, kissed her cheek, patted her back, and promised that we’d get her a new piggy, but she just buried her face in my shirt and continued to sob. It was positively heartbreaking.
My husband dutifully gathered up all the pieces and put them into a box.
I figured that was the last we’d see of Piggy.
The next morning I woke to find my husband in the kitchen, painstakingly putting Piggy back together. There were hundreds of pieces — some big, some small, some really, really small. But there he was, carefully sorting through the rubble, finding the right pieces, and hot gluing them into place. I’m fairly certain he got hot glue burns on all ten fingers.
I’ll be honest, I was kind of taken aback …
That piggy was smashed to smithereens, damaged beyond recognition, what was the point? It would never be perfect, it would always have scars. But there he stood, for hours, doing what no one else would see any reason to do.
I saw a pile of rubble, something not worth saving. He saw something that once had value, something that a little girl loved, and that was reason enough to fix it.
I looked at that mended piggy, sitting on my countertop, once again whole — white, shiny, glistening, covered with sparkly hearts, stars, and swirls — I was amazed.
Was it perfect? Of course not.
Hot glue scars stretched from front to back, and there was even a quarter-sized hole in its back end because those pieces were either lost or just too small to glue back into place.
But it was beautiful despite the imperfections.
I was so excited to show Emily and see how she would react. I could imagine the look on her face … great big smile, maybe a cute giggle, and she’d want to put it in a special spot up in her room. I was expecting thrill and delight, but after seeing it she said, “It’s ugly. Throw it away.”
Ok, well, she was three, so it was probably a stretch to think she would be able to see past the scars. But I could.
I took that scarred-up little piggy, opened the china cabinet, and put it right in the middle for all to see. It has been in that spot for 14 years, and it will always be in that spot — right beside the crystal and china.
We’re all damaged in one way or another. None of us are perfect. Even so, God accepts us at our worst … shattered, broken, smashed to smithereens, useless, perhaps seen as nothing more than trash by others … but not to God.
He did what no one else would see any reason to do.
He made our brokenness His problem. He took on the pain and the work of fixing us, of picking up our broken pieces, mending us, and making us whole. He loved us and saw our value and worth when no one else did.
But what about the scars? I still have scars.
A scar marks the place where we were once broken. We all have scars. Some have hidden scars. Some have huge, deep scars that are impossible to hide. Scars help us remember. Scars help us love others because they have scars too.
Jesus had scars. In John 20:20 He showed them to Thomas — nail scars in his hands, and His pierced side. Those were supposed to be our scars, but He loved us, so He took them instead.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
The underserved gift of His sacrifice is why our brokenness can be mended. It’s how we have our value restored. All we need to do is believe and accept that gift.
How often do we look at others and think, “They are too far gone. They are too messed up. There’s no hope.”
But that piggy in the china cabinet calls out, and every time I walk by it reminds me …
Every person, no matter how busted up they may be, still has value in the eyes of God.
No one is beyond repair. He can restore their worth. Look at your scars and remember …
There are always reasons to hope because God loves the broken.
What ‘scars’ do you have from the failures of your past? Do they ever make you feel unworthy?
Is there someone in your life that seems unreachable, too far gone?
How do you think God sees you? How does he see that broken person?