It took four years of fresco painting for the Italian Renaissance sculptor, painter, architect, and poet Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, to finish the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Commonly known as Michelangelo, his time painting was mostly spent alone, on his back, lying on scaffolding. (How painful!)
The painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is one of the most remarkable in the history of Western art. One thing is for sure: the process that altered a ceiling from plain to fabulous required a lot of time, great discipline, and the hand of a master artist. The same is true for us. The journey from broken into beautiful is a lifelong transformation that requires time, discipline, and a Master Artist.
As Michelangelo was working, I’m sure that lots of people came through the corridors of the chapel and stood in amazement. As they looked up at the beauty of his work, I imagine they said things like, “That is the most fantastic work of art I have ever seen!” or “Extraordinary!” To which he might have said, “It’s not done!”
But, I ask you: did the unfinished state of the project negate that parts of the ceiling were beautiful? No! The parts that were complete would still have been extravagant and breathtaking to the average person.
Maybe this is the way God and others see our lives.
At times people may notice the work God has done in us and comment on the beauty. I don’t know about you, but even though compliments are nice to hear, I’ve been known to resist them. (Admit it. You probably have too.) It’s not so much a humility thing as it is an “I-don’t-see-myself-as-beautiful” thing. From my limited perspective, I can see only the unfinished work. But in truth, my vantage point doesn’t negate the beauty of the work God has done and is doing in my life. The same is true for you.
Real beauty isn’t about a finished or flawless product. It can’t be. It’s not possible on this side of eternity to have completed beauty. Our restoration will be complete in the presence of God when we see Him face to face.
Now, you might be saying, “But Gwen, I feel like I can’t be restored or beautiful. You don’t know what I’ve done…or what I’ve been through…or about the mess that I’m going through right now!”
Friend, God knows where you have been, what you have been through, and where you are now. He sees your flaws and loves you in spite of your imperfections. His tender love is far-reaching, grace-filled, and complete.
Your past sins do not define you.
Your painful scars do not define you.
Your present sufferings do not define you.
They are just shards of brokenness that God will use to lovingly refine your beauty.
The transformation from broken into beautiful is neither easy nor instantaneous. It demands a yielded heart and can be quite painful, but it comes with great reward. To get started, God will need your broken pieces—your scars, shame, insecurities, disappointments, betrayals, and failures.
Do you have some of those?
Are they tucked away in a safe, do-not-enter part of your heart?
If you’re ready for God to do a beautiful work of transformation in your life then it’s time to do some serious heart-business with Him, friend. You might find it hard to hand over hurts. I get that. It’s hard for me too. But difficult as it may be, when we hand over our hurts, our Master creates a stunning work of beauty in our lives.
I am humbled by Your willingness to love and forgive me. Please take the broken pieces of my life and don’t allow me to grab them back. I surrender to Your healing. Mold me and shape me into a reflection of Your beautiful glory.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
Read Isaiah 64:8, “Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Meditate on this verse. Think about it. Read it again and personalize it in a prayerful response to God. Like this: “Yet, O LORD, you are MY Father. I am the clay, You are the potter; I am the work of Your hand. Fashion me in Your image. Clothe me in Your grace…”
Love doing life with you, friend!
Are you struggling to trust that God’s love can bring beauty to your life? Learn how God wants to bring you beyond your past heart-wounds and your present challenges to His wholeness, strength and beauty. Broken into Beautiful is a book filled with stories – real stories – gritty and honest, not cleaned up and phony. It’s also filled with Scripture that will inspire you toward the life-changing grace of Jesus. Visit my store to get your signed copy.
There’s also a downloadable companion Bible Study designed to coordinate with the chapters and content of Broken Into Beautiful. It will help you connect the lessons of Broken into Beautiful with your life by taking you straight to the Word of God, then encouraging you in times of prayer, reading, and reflection. Perfect for individual or group study.