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The new artwork hanging in my office is a beautiful reminder of this truth.

“Brokenness is not the end. It’s the raw material for a breathtaking masterpiece, where each fracture is a stroke of courage.” -Lindsay Wanner

After feeling extremely fortunate to spend almost every night at home in January, the work schedule shifted and launched us into a wildly busy and deeply meaningful month of February.  Taking full advantage of the extra day this year, we traveled to 14 cities and spoke with 18 different groups. (An added bonus, we are now on a first name basis with most of the St. Louis airport staff!)

On one of the few days I worked from our office last month, we were able to hang a piece of art in our lobby. As beautiful as it is, it’s the process of how it was created and the story of the artist who brought it to life that is most meaningful to me. Let me explain.

Lindsay Wanner didn’t set out to become a world-renowned artist. After college she found herself unfulfilled professionally and began creating art for friends as gifts. A skill she had always possessed, but never fully embraced, led her to became so popular that she began selling art online. As demand grew, Lindsay was able to leave her job and begin working as a fulltime artist.

Lindsay takes the very objects that others view as trash and creates masterpieces. Hundreds of pieces of discarded wood, broken record albums and magazine covers are intricately layered and glued together on the canvas. In the early stages it looks completely nonsensical and totally unimpressive. An untrained eye sees only mismatched broken pieces, a collection of disjointed junk.

In time, with the master’s eye, piece by piece the canvas transforms into stunning works of art.  Her artwork has featured Kobe Bryant, Pink and the artist formerly known as Prince. They hang as centerpieces in the houses of celebrities and the lobbies of businesses, including our office in Kirkwood, MO.

The art that hangs in our office features a little boy seated in his wheelchair. His fingers have been amputated. Arm splints and a neck brace immobilize parts of his body. Scars are visible on part of his face.

Perhaps surprising, though, this little boy exudes a radiant smile shining not merely from his face, but his eyes.  Why?

Because he’s seated in the radio broadcaster’s booth of the St. Louis Cardinals. The Hall of Fame announcer Jack Buck is seated next to him. There’s a packed stadium and beautiful skyline ablaze in the background.

In the center of the masterwork are the weathered, toughened, generous hands of a man, partially open, extending toward the little boy a signed baseball.

A moment of undeserved grace in my life caught brilliantly the heart of Jack Buck. He encouraged me as a child to not only endure the struggles of the day, but to resolutely pursue something worthy in life.

Hundreds of broken records, torn magazine articles, and discarded album covers are pieced masterfully together to bring this story of redemptive hope, incredible generosity, and genuine love to life.

But that’s the thing. It’s all the brokenness, arranged intentionally with a clear vision that makes this artwork so beautiful.

My friends, we all have scars, have all endured hardship, and have all experienced brokenness. We have been disappointed by those we love, and through our decisions let down others, too. And yet the suffering endured in the past and the challenges faced are not the end of the story.

As Lindsay reminds us, brokenness is the raw material used for creating a breathtaking masterpiece. Sometimes it requires a little bit of faith to see, but each broken record not only represents a fracture endured, but also courage revealed.

And each layer draws us closer to the masterpiece we are intended to become.

The work continues, but the best is yet to come.

This is your day. Live Inspired.

6 replies on “Broken Pieces Can Be Used for Good”

Thank you, John. I will forward this to one of my adult daughters who is going through a difficult time. (Relationships can be so tough.) I admire you and am proud to call you my friend!

I would like to nominate Donna Johnson. She is the epitome of changing lives one person at a time and has been doing so for 4 decades! She is a leader, influencer, woman of faith and the ripple effect she has created is mind blowing. She introduced me and hundreds of others to your story and book years ago, I can’t remember the exact year but I can remember reading your book that summer and not being able to put it down! And I wanted to tell everyone about! I’m so grateful for Donna Johnson for many reasons but she changed a lot of our lives that year by telling us about your book and later that year hearing you speak at our Arbonne conference! What an honor!!

An awesome reminder of how God has taken the broken fabrics of our life and is methodically making His masterpiece! To God be the glory!

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