God Still Uses Broken Things

Ever since I was a little girl, our family has always celebrated Girls’ Day or
Hinamatsuri. Girls’ Day is a Japanese tradition where girls receive dolls or special treats on March 3rd. But this year, instead of getting my girls just another doll that would quickly be tossed aside, I wanted to make something for them that would remind them that their beauty is not what’s on the outside but what is on the inside.

I found a cute heart-shaped mirror from Target around Valentine’s Day and was going to take another stab at using my Silhouette to cut out a scripture verse on vinyl. The verse was simple, “Be beautiful in your heart. 1 Peter 3:4.” After watching a YouTube tutorial, which was excellent for a beginner like me, and purchasing all the extra supplies I needed, I was ready to go. A sweet friend even came over to help me out!

After an hour of working on the mirror, we were finally done. It was adorable! Pink heart-shaped letters on a heart-shaped mirror. When we presented Ellie with the mirror, she was in heaven. I explained that it didn’t matter what she looked like on that outside (which she’s adorable), but what mattered to God is that she is beautiful on the inside.

She was giddy with excitement and I wanted to capture the moment with a cute picture of Ellie, our friend Courtney, and the mirror. Ellie had gone inside the house to put up her mirror…and then it happened!

Ellie, Courtney and the mirror (pre-fall)

I called Ellie to come back and take another picture because I couldn’t really see the mirror in the photo I had just taken. And then standing at the door was Ellie holding the mirror in her two hands with tears streaming down her face. It literally happened within seconds. As she skipped back into the house to put up her mirror, she accidentally hit it against the wall. When she checked to see if it was alright, there was a huge crack right down the middle of it.

My heart almost broke. She was distraught and felt so terrible for breaking the mirror that Courtney had just spent the past hour helping me to make. We hugged and I told her it was okay. It was just a mirror, a material possession and just like the verse said, what was on the inside mattered more than the outside.

A little while later, I asked her what she was going to do with her mirror. She asked if we could make her another one, and I said I wasn’t sure because I bought the mirror as a seasonal item. Then she said, “Well, I’ll still use it.”

And for some reason, her words made me think of how God still uses broken things, too. When I saw the broken heart hanging on her wall, it made me think that this is exactly what God does with those of us who have endured many things that have broken our hearts. He doesn’t toss us aside or try to replace us with something new and unbroken. Instead, He hangs us up on His wall and puts us on display. He still uses us, with cracks, missing pieces, worn edges and all.

There is also a Japanese practice known as Kintsugi which translates to “golden repair”. It is a centuries-old Japanese art of fixing broken pottery by using a precious metal – liquid gold, liquid silver or lacquer dusted with powdered gold – to bring together the pieces of the broken pottery. This repair method emphasizes fractures and breaks instead of trying to hide or disguise them. It often makes the piece even more beautiful than the original version and it teaches us that just because an object breaks doesn’t mean it is no longer useful. It’s brokenness can actually make it even more valuable and precious.

There is also a verse in the Bible that says that “[God] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3). Even though the Lord may restore us and heal our wounds, we may still have scars that remind us of a time of hurt and brokenness. Yet God can also use the scars as a beautiful reminder of how He can turn a horrible situation, full of heartache and sorrow, and make it into something of far greater value and worth.

No matter what hurt or scar you may carry with you, know that God can restore it and pour His refined gold into those deep wounds. If you place your life, no matter how broken, battered and bruised it may be, into God’s hands, He can make you even more useful and valuable than you were before.

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