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A few months ago, my daughter Novalee picked out a lamp for her bedroom from Target.
The lamp is white ceramic. There are small star cutouts all over the base of the lamp with a bulb inside so that light shines through the stars. The lamp cloaks the room in a soft glow. We sit by the stars each night, her lying in my arms, and I rock her as we pray for everyone (I mean, everyone) she knows.
This is one of my favorite parts of the day: turning on the stars and talking to God with my baby girl.
But alas, she is two years old and if there are going to be stars in her bedroom then she wants those stars to be sleeping right beside her. This is at least how I think her brain was working the other night when we heard a crash in her bedroom not long after she went to bed.
I opened the door of the bedroom to find the star lamp in pieces on the ground and Novalee beside herself, crying loudly, “I broke the stars! I broke the stars!”.
I cleared away the pieces and prepared to go on to get another lamp ordered. But then I had a stroke of genius. The pieces were big. Surely I could fix the lamp. I’d just need a little gorilla glue and we could put the pieces back together. 
As I searched the craft bin for some kind of crazy glue, I found a bottle of gold glitter Elmer’s glue and that’s when it hit me: Kintsugi. 
Kintsugi is the Japanese art of putting broken pottery pieces back together with gold glue. The practice comes from the word “kintsukuroi,” meaning “golden seams”.
The Japanese believe that every piece is unique. When something breaks or gets cracks in it, that’s not a sign to throw it out or give up on it. You can put the piece back together. The gold glue's purpose is to show in the cracks and be a clear sign to everyone that what was once broken is now restored.
At the core of Kintsugi, it’s a belief that flaws don’t make a vessel useless. That cracks and breaks actually make the piece more valuable.
I gathered up the pieces of the lamp and placed them on my office desk so I could try to reassemble them the next morning.
Novalee kept crying, “I broke it. I broke the stars.” I scooped her up and we sat in the darkness of the room together as I rocked her and told her about Kintsugi.
“Kintsugi,” her little voice repeated back to me, her head tucked into my chest. 
“Yes, Kintsugi,” I told her. “Accidents happen. And so do mistakes. But just because something breaks doesn’t mean it stops being useful. Your lamp of stars may be broken right now but the light inside it still works. It can still shine. Sometimes we feel broken, but we still have a big, big purpose to fulfill.”
I explained to her that we can put some glue in the cracks but that it would be gold glue so that we could still see the cracks. The cracks don’t discount us, they actually add to our value. They mean we’ve gone through something tough and we’ve come out on the other side stronger and better. 
I realize she’s a toddler and so half of what I told her about a Japanese art form likely went straight over her head but it was still a sweet, teachable moment for me and for her.
She’s going to grow up in this world and it’s going to try– with all its might– to convince her she’s not good enough. That she needs to change. That she needs to go with the crowd. That she needs to be perfect even though perfection is an impossible, mythical standard.
And, because I’ve stood in her shoes before, I know she might believe the world. I know she might try to fix herself. I know she might try to reach that impossible, mythical standard. I can’t stop that from happening but I can be here, with the gold glue in my back pocket, on the day she experiences that first, tender break.
And though the world might try to tell her that the broken parts of us should be locked away and hidden for good, I know different. I know that the broken parts of us can still work and they can still give light and hope to others. I know the broken stuff is actually the really good stuff.
We don’t have to be afraid when things break, I want to tell her always. When we put the pieces back together after a break, we become even more valuable, and even more resilient. That’s the beautiful thing.
We don’t have to be afraid of breaks, tears, or scars. They’re just proof we showed up and kept going– even when the odds seemed against us.
We don’t have to be afraid when the stars break. We have gold glue for that. We’re going to shine again soon.

keep fighting forward,





I'm an author, speaker, and online educator with a heart for encouraging others to keep fighting forward.


I live in Atlanta with my husband Laney, daughter Novi, and rescue pup Tuesday.