Saturday, August 29, 2009


In a creative wirting course in college I was assigned reading from a collection of short stories by Denise Levertov entitled Tessarae. With apologies to Ms. Levertov I do not recall any of the stories – but I do recall the title. Tessarae is the plural form of tessara which is a small piece of tile used to create a mosaic. The analogous jump to moments of our lives being tessarae is not a hard one and it is one that has stuck with me all these years. I coupled this word together with a quote I kept inside my Bible from D.l. Moody – “God can do great things with broken pieces, provided he gets all the pieces.”

In my life – those broken pieces came about in much the same way they do for many people – dreams and hopes that go unfulfilled because of lies, betrayals, and our own mistakes. For a number of years all I could see was the tessarae. The broken pieces with their sharp edges scattered about in a fashion that just looked they were trash. Pieces that reminded me of what they were before they were broken. Pieces that reminded me of how they were broken. My head knew the truth of the Moody quote. My eyes had seen the beauty of mosaics. I didn’t want a mosaic though – I just wanted the original – before it was broken.

Over the past year or so though I’ve started to see the mosaic take place. It’s not just the career change. It’s not just the new location. It started long before that. I’m beginning to see how the pieces are being re-shaped into something new. How brokenness becomes beauty. And, there are still pieces that I don’t want to surrender to the Artist. Still pieces that I wish I could see in their original form despite how much I know that original form was flawed and cracked from the beginning. Some days I’m good at letting him have the pieces. Some days I am futilely trying to put them all back together myself. The recent move actually seems to make me do more of the latter – if I had my guess into my inner psyche I’d say I’m trying to hold on to something familiar. Even if familiar isn’t what is best. The Spirit in me tells me this is all part of equipping me to offer authentic mashena and that gives me joy because now I know the intricate mosaic is so much more beautiful than any of the original pieces.

(and just as an end disclaimer – I always feel like these types of entries make me sound sad. I’m not sad. Just thoughtful. No worries!)


  1. You gave me that quote several years ago and I have never forgotten it. I've struggled with giving Him all the pieces but it's never left my memory. What a comfort to know that God is so patient with us. He knows just what's best and how beautiful our mosaic can be, but He allows us to determine when the Artist can all of the colors to work with. How gracious and how merciful is He to not push us into the person we could be but allows us to grow, learn and find that person.

  2. "...the intricate mosaic is so much more beautiful than any of the original pieces."

    Beautiful. :)

  3. beautiful post. it was very soothing to read this and encouraging as well.