If you’ve been a follower of mittonmusings.com for any length of time, you’ll know that I would love to have a set of backyard chickens. Crazy, I know. Living in the city doesn’t allow me the luxury of the coop, but my Instagram feeds follow a variety of homesteaders who have hens, so I live vicariously through them. Recently, they have all been posting great pictures of eggs…stylish rainbow shades nestled in cardboard cartons and vintage bowls or balanced on thick wooden farm tables. It’s the middle of January and their hens are still pumping out breakfast blessings in all kinds of shapes and colours (Yes, different hen varieties produce different coloured eggshells…another reason to want a flock…humbug to store bought, plain old white eggs…but I digress). So, eggs.
One must admit that eggs are a pretty cool part of God’s creation… the shell of a chicken egg contains more than 17 000 tiny pores that allow air and moisture to travel in and out of the workings of the inner egg. The shell is made up of almost entirely calcium carbonate, with two thin membranes underneath that contract and cool when laid, making the egg fairly solid and bacteria and dust resistant… and yet we think of eggs as entirely fragile. (reference: https://www.exploratorium.edu) Apparently the colour of a hen’s ears will determine egg colour… and has something to do with developmental proteins…. wait… chicken ears??? Okay, let’s just stop there.
So, eggs. More specifically, eggshells. While scrolling feeds and enjoying posts of coloured eggs, my mind began to wander to Easter and eggs and those fabulous carved eggs and the Ukrainian burnt (Pysanka) eggs… all so pretty! I read an article about the famous Faberge eggs bejeweled and bedazzled for Russian royalty in the mid 1800’s. Designed as miniature works of art, most contained a “surprise” inside — a tiny picture or little automation. Ancient “kinder-surprises” minus the chocolate! Artisans often marvel at the perfect shape of an egg… and consequently it’s been used as a base for all kinds of art.
Notwithstanding all the facts we’ve discussed above, we must all agree in one simple fact about eggs: they are fragile. Even hardboiled eggshells can easily be pealed and crushed. I am sure there are many an artist who were heartbroken when eggshells snap at the slightest over pressing of their tools. Perhaps this is why they choose this delicate medium…the fragility adds to the beauty.
And so, my friends, it is with us. Our fragility makes us beautiful. Oh, we think we are strong. Bold and courageous, we harden our hearts and press on through life thinking we can do it our own way. Perhaps we even flaunt our rainbow colours and stand out against the whitewash of the crowd. We are like the Faberge eggs: bedazzled works of art on the outside, but contain small surprises on the inside. Surprises that catch us off guard when a crisis comes: surprises like guilt, fear, and doubt. Our inner insecurities leak out when we are cut deep…like the yolk that oozes from a soft boiled egg. We are weak, fragile and easily broken.
Yet, it is in our brokenness that we learn to trust in the One who makes us strong again. Some of you may remember that I’ve chosen a word for the year: BRAVE. (Read about it here) Part of the growth I want to develop in myself this year through “brave” is described in 2 Corinthians 4. As a follower of Christ, I have a great treasure to share, but I am a weak vessel, a jar of clay, a fragile egg, if you will. I easily succumb to fear, doubt, shyness and insecurity. Especially when it comes to sharing God’s “good news”. The Bible reminds me that it is not me who does the work…but me in Christ who becomes the Brave one.
Sometimes that strengthening needs to be through brokenness. We need to be softened, molded and corrected. Sometimes we may just need to be bold and take chances. Circumstances can make us brave… through Him. Are you still walking on eggshells? Or are you ready to be brave with me? Until we meet again, friends!