Later, I overheard them say, “I wish we had a game to play.” I pointed out the stash of board games I discovered earlier, recommending Taboo. They invited me to join them to make an even-numbered team. It was a great game. Together the four of us laughed, shared stories, and enjoyed coffee and conversation.
People in the Pacific Northwest quickly notice I am not a local. I don’t think I have an obvious Texas accent, but apparently I do say, “y’all” quite frequently, and it makes them smile every time. I cannot explain why I am in Pullman, Wash., without explaining that I moved here to work at Resonate church.
My new friends were not familiar with the church or with Christ, and their countenance changed when I mentioned it. Thankfully, their personalities and language did not change when they found out I was Christian. It was unusual how they thanked for me accepting them. As we were exchanging contact information and saying good-bye, one of them asked me what my necklace meant.
The charm on my necklace is a pottery jar with a cracked heart on one side and a cracked cross on the other side. I explained that when you literally look through the broken heart, you can see the cross shining through.
“It illustrates what I believe,” I explained. “We are clay in God’s hands, and he is the Potter uniquely molding every one of us. We all have brokenness in our hearts and lives, but the love of Jesus has the ability to shine brightly through the broken places.”
I could see the perplexity in their eyes as they tried to comprehend this abstract metaphor about God’s role in one’s life as a loving Creator and Designer. They seemed to recognize that the cross of Christ was valuable to me. I am certain I am an imperfect vessel, but I rejoice in the reality that God still uses imperfect vessels to shine the light of his gospel.
My friends from the evening have since contacted me, and we plan to get together soon. I love when God intervenes—when he interrupts our daily routines and brings into our path someone in need of a genuine smile, word of encouragement, and glimpse of his kindness. It is a great responsibility and privilege to bear the name of Christ. People are desperately longing to be loved, noticed, and accepted. We love because Jesus first loved us, and we have been called to redistribute the hope that fills our hearts to a beautiful but broken world.
Jane Owen is a student missionary correspondent serving with Go Now Missions in the Pacific Northwest.