God always trades-up (w/ Michelle Bounds)

We asked Michelle to tell us her story— about how she came from wherever she was to Transformation Ministries (first of all) and then how she became the School Adminstrator (second of all). That question took, well… a few exciting twists and turns. 



Michelle’s story is proof, as Paul said, that “all things work together for the good.”

If all things work together for the good (again, that’s what Paul writes in Romans 8:28f— not that all things ARE good, but that they all work together for good)…

… then that also means the facts (i.e., a bad situation) doesn’t necessarily tell the entire story, that is, it doesn’t contain complete truth.



In Brennan Manning's book Abba’s Child, he quotes Saint Augustine’s reflection on this verse as stating that in the economy of God, all things work together for our good. All things. Even our past sins.

God can take EVEN that….

He takes every crooked path and makes the way straight. He takes every piece of grit and forms it into gold. He takes the broken pieces of our lives and morphs them into His best. 

Such is the nature of grace. 



It reminds us of a Japanese word: Kintsukuroi.

Google it.

It’s an art form in which broken pottery is repaired. Rather than restoring the piece to look as if it’s never been damaged (which is, really, impossible), the artisan injects gold into all of the cracks as the pottery is being put back together. The flaws are accentuated, celebrated. In other words, not only are they not hidden, they’re actually highlighted.



No. The scars don’t determine the shape or design of the vessel… they don’t control it’s purpose, but they’re there. And they’re there to see.

The “new” version of the pottery looks like the old, but better. It’s simultaneously more raw and more beautiful than the original, “untainted” version.



Can’t miss Paul’s analogy that we’re earthen vessels, pottery with some sort of majesty inside, waiting to come forth (see 2 Corinthians 4:7f.).

And the way it comes forth? By facing- and working through- the hard things (2 Corinthians 4:8f.).

Maybe that’s why Paul delights in weaknesses- because that’s where strength shines (2 Corinthians 12:10). That’s where grace shines brightest.



Grace + healing + wholeness… is the gold. It means our imperfections now serve a greater purpose than the pain and shame originally created.

But… the hitch…

In pottery, the gold can only be placed where there are cracks to be filled. 

❌ No crack, no space. 

❌ No space, no gold to fill the void.

✅ Brokenness is THE thing to which grace almost exclusively bonds.

And, when you find the place of brokenness, you realize that your Heavenly Father always trades-up.



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