Broken to Beautiful

Stained-glass art made by my sister as a gift to a ministry in Cambodia helping rescue trafficked girls.

To all who mourn in Israel,

he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,

a joyous blessing instead of mourning,

festive praise instead of despair.

In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks

that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

Isaiah 61:3

My sister and I both love art.  For me, art is a stress reliever, a way to spend all the creative capital I have, and is just downright fun!  I like to paint and sew, but my sister is a multifaceted artist.  She loves all kinds of art.  Her latest interest has been stained glass.  She took a few classes, bought the necessary equipment, and she was off and running.  Her numerous creations are simply stunning.  She even talked me into trying my hand at stained glass artistry.  I got through it and made two pieces, but it was painstaking work and is not for those like me who want to see the finished product quickly.  Just looking at all that broken glass and envisioning a finished product is not an easy task.  It takes creativity, vision, and a deep desire to see beauty rise out of fragments.  To the one with no vision, the glass is just broken pieces ready for the garbage heap, but those fractured pieces represent potential and possibility to the artist.  And when the finished product is realized, the artist sits back momentarily and sighs with relief.  And then, she goes to work creating another pile of broken fragments of colorful glass into art.  

I was thinking about this stained glass phenomenon as I read Colossians 1:18-20 in The Message.  Here is what Paul tells the new Christians in Colossae about this Jesus that resides in their hearts.  

He was supreme in the beginning and—leading the resurrection parade—he is supreme in the end. From beginning to end he’s there, towering far above everything, everyone. So spacious is he, so expansive, that everything of God finds its proper place in him without crowding. Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross.

“All the broken and dislocated pieces… get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies… because of his death.”  What an incredible thought.  When Jesus takes up residence in our hearts, all our broken and dislocated pieces begin to fit together.  But not just fit together but are properly fixed and fitted together in vibrant harmony. What a promise, truth, and hope we have, knowing that God’s artistry is at work in us.  If you are like me, I forget this truth regularly.  I see the brokenness in my life and wonder if, or how God might use it.  And yet, Paul, in all his wisdom and with the leading of the Holy Spirit, reminds us that it is the brokenness that God uses to make us beautiful.  Ashes for beauty, brokenness for completeness, fragments to artistry! 

“For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us].”  Ephesians 2:10 The Amplified Bible 

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2 thoughts on “Broken to Beautiful

  1. I love this picture of broken pieces fitting together to make something of beauty! This not only applies to the brokenness of our lives but as broken people come together we begin to display the beauty of God’s Kingdom. The analogy can also extend to the ability of God to fit together people who are different from each other, maybe in gender, ethnicities, economics, nationalities… well, that list can go on and on. There is just nothing like gathering in community with all our irregularities, broken edges, different perspectives and harmonizing–allowing God to fit us together! What beauty!


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