Who knew God would choose that moment? You know, that shaming, dark moment that reveals you at your worst. The one you aren’t proud of. I admitted mine to a room full of people—from a stage, at a church, where it often feels like we should have our lives more together once we find Jesus. That felt especially true as the pastor’s wife. But there I stood, sharing my ugliest place in life so far. And it wasn’t in the past, pre-Jesus. It was right then, with Jesus. At the time, I just wanted to be honest about who I truly was. I wanted healing. So I told them about how I spent time in a mental hospital and all the messy reasons that I ended up there.
Several years later, I was talking with a friend who was there that night—a friend whom I greatly admire and who is a talented musician. He said this:
“Jodi, remember that night you got up and talked about the mental hospital and all of your struggles? You said you experienced real church in that place because you could be honest there. I grew up as a pastor’s kid, and we couldn’t be honest with people or tell them what was really going on with us when it was ugly. My mom is a pastor’s wife like you, and she struggled but couldn’t talk about it. But your talk inspired me. I wanted to be honest about my life like that. So I went home and told my mom all that was going on with me, fully expecting her to kick me out of the house as I confessed all my junk. But she didn’t. She just held me, and we cried together. It changed our relationship and it healed me. Now, when I travel doing my music, I tell this story.”
Gulp. My eyes started to leak. Are you kidding me? That moment? Not all the moments when I worked so hard to look good and be good and do all the right things for Jesus? Not those moments when I was on my best behavior and I assumed portrayed you most, God? I wiped my tears, and my friend hugged me and told me he’d see me around. I went home … changed.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” — 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NIV)
This verse is a good reminder for me. I’ve spent so much time trying to be someone I’m not. I spend so much time worrying about being a better or different version of myself that I actually miss opportunities to reveal God’s power through the ordinary and often broken places of my life right now.
I miss chances to be honest, chances to be real, chances to connect with other “broken pots.”
Imagine a world where we don’t worry about what we’re not. Imagine a world where we live just as we are, right now—in progress, free to shine Christ out of our broken clay pots. Yes, Christ shines most through our broken places. It’s in our darkest moments that Christ shines brightest.
“You are the light of the world. A city on top of a hill can’t be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they put it on top of a lampstand, and it shines on all who are in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven.” — Matthew 5:14-16 (CEB)
Jodi Harris is a Bible teacher, speaker, writer, pastor’s wife, and boy mom in passionate pursuit of Jesus and living a better story. She encourages, inspires, and equips women to use their gifts and lives fully for God. To live the adventurous story God has imagined for each of us.
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