Love does not disregard or disdain the damaged

by Craig on May 25, 2011


A couple of centuries ago an architect was commissioned to rebuild a 300 year old palace. Getting on in years, this would be the final achievement of his career. It had to be nothing short of glorious. The feature of his vision would be massive and elegant mirrors lining the main entrance way.

Plans were drawn…
measurements made of sun…
calculations of shadows…
equations of darkness and light.

Destined for distinction…
the epitome of design…
The Grand Hallway would be the final stroke.

After a decade of construction the crowning glory only awaited the arrival of the mirrors.

One room laying silently…
in the anticipation of expectation.

Then one day he got word that the mirrors had arrived.  He rushed down to the train station, and hurriedly found the shipment.  Too excited to wait until the mirrors could be transported back to the palace, he had one of the containers opened.

And his heart crashed.

He viewed the most unique and ornate mirrors in the world…

broken and splintered in a million pieces.

If all you have is shattered pieces from a storm of life...source

Frantically he opened one container…
then the next…
and then the next.

But each was damaged.

Some cracked…
some split in two…
some reduced to piles of shards…

the sparkling dust of shattered dreams.

There was reason this hallway was the last piece of the construction. It had taken years to get these mirrors designed, created, and shipped.

Staring at the scattered pieces, the architect knew his plan was finished. As he peered out at the devastation a tear ebbed out of the corner of his eye and flowed down his trembling cheek.

It was followed by another…
and then another…
until a torrent was released.

He went about collecting the broken pieces of his dream.

Maybe there was a teardrop for every splinter of vanquished hope.

But then to everyone’s astonishment, a glimmer of a smile appeared.

And then the tears disappeared.

Excitedly he stood up and ordered the pieces to be shipped to the palace.

Once there he put adhesive on the walls of the entrance-way….
and arranged each of the broken bits there….


btw - all the rest of the pictures are from the same source



He continued for months, one piece at a time, until finally he was finished, and what stood was a spectacular reflection of light, glimmering off of countless bits of his of his broken dream.

The palace still stands…in Tehran, Iran.

Its Grand Hall still shimmers…
the glory of a dream once shattered…

resurrected by a man who refused to accept that brokenness…
means nothingness…

and uselessness.

The Grand Hall of Mirrors…
for two centuries…
has been a dazzling and brilliant display of prisms of reflected light.

Sometimes the storms of life shatter us…
but God can transform the broken into beautiful.

Crushed and destroyed…

awaiting resurrection…

sometimes the broken…

is the only thing…

of use.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle May 25, 2011 at 7:42 am

“Crushed and destroyed,
resurrected in glory,
the broken,
is the only thing
of use.”

Sometimes we need to be broken to be used. Otherwise WE think we can do it, and don’t give the Creator room to move. I love what you’ve written, and will come back later for the pics.


Craig May 25, 2011 at 11:46 am

thank you Michelle, you got here just before the pictures arrived today, the pictures are pretty, the architect did a good job. THE architect still working on me :-) God bless you


Kristin May 25, 2011 at 8:25 am

This was wonderful, and yes, I kept scrolling down waiting for a picture. But then, it’s written so beautifully, I can see it in my mind. I’m so thankful the brokeness can by used!
Blessings to you on this beautiful day!


Craig May 25, 2011 at 11:50 am

Kristin,thank you very much, your words are kind. And Amen I found, by experience, sometimes the breaking is necessary for the using. Sometimes you never get fixed, and he still uses a broken vessel – God is good that way. Don’t care much for the breaking part though. Still, I love the being used heart, and if a little breaking is what it takes, then I’m okay with it – Lord. Thank you again Kristin, and God bless you!

PS the pictures of the palace are up now – they’re pretty :-)


Lisa notes... May 25, 2011 at 9:17 am

“The mirrors had been broken,
broken to be made more beautiful.”

Your writing, which started out great, just keeps getting better and better, Craig. You draw me in with your stories and pictures. I will try to embrace my brokenness today as beautiful instead of pitiful. Thanks for your inspiration.


Craig May 25, 2011 at 11:54 am

Lisa, I can’t tell you much I appreciate your words, to be honest before I began blogging, and other than some editors and such, nobody ever really read my words – thank you for reading me, and being so gracious with your comments. And I guess, since we are all broken, then we might as well embrace it a little bit. :-) God bless you Lisa.


Lynda May 25, 2011 at 9:34 am

ditto to what Lisa wrote. AMAZING!


Craig May 25, 2011 at 11:56 am

Lynda, the story is true, I’m just kind of a reporter. The story is amazing – the lessons to be learned from it so many and varied. Thank you again, and God bless you!


Cora May 25, 2011 at 10:32 am

“. . .sometimes the broken is the only thing of use.” The wonder of it all is figuring out which is the greatest wonder — the broken made more beautiful, or the architect who envisioned the beauty in the broken and made the beautiful. I can tell you this, only those who have been broken and made beautiful again know the answer.


Craig May 25, 2011 at 12:58 pm

there are so many lessons in the story… If you take it as a parable, is the architect God, or is the architect just one of us who is resilient and doesn’t give up? The story though, it’s true,the lesson I take from it is that God can put the pieces back together again – and even if we stay broken he can still use us. thank you Cora – thank you for reading as always, and God bless and keep you.


happygirl May 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

Broken to be made more beautiful. LOVE this story. Thank you for sharing. You have a lovely blog. Your pictures are beautiful.


Craig May 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

I heart the story too, when I first learned of it I thought it was about some mythical palace in some mythical kingdom – to find out it’s a real palace, with a real name – and in THAT place, of all places. Thank you for your kind words – and God bless and keep you this day.


Kris May 25, 2011 at 11:37 am

Beautiful, Craig. *tears* Just beautiful. May we all learn to be such a soul, a person who
“refused to accept,
that brokenness
means nothingness
and uselessness.”
It’s a lesson I seem to have to learn again and again. Thank you for this amazing story. Bless you, brother.


Craig May 25, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Amen – to learn to be that kind of soul, to understand the true value of “broken”. You and I both have to learn this lesson – again and again. I heart the story too, and I heart that you read it. And bless you too, sister


Patti May 25, 2011 at 4:08 pm

What a beautiful metaphor for what God can do in a life. We are all broken, but in God’s hands we become beautiful. The architects refusal to accept defeat is inspiring. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.


Craig May 26, 2011 at 5:44 pm

Patti,thank you. Sorry I’m late commenting back – but a tiny bit deathly sick here – grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. But of all the possible lessons in this story you picked the same two that I focus on when I think of it. Great minds…

God bless and keep you and all of yours – and thank you for reading – don’t read closely in case my reply is contagious :-)


Grace Walker May 25, 2011 at 5:29 pm

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fearGladness for mourning
Peace for despair

I once was lost but God has found me
Though I was bound Ive been set free
Ive been made righteous in His sight
A display of His splendor all can see

He gives beauty for ashes
Strength for fearGladness for mourning
Peace for despair”

Remember this Crystal Lewis song? i think it fits here…


Craig May 26, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Grace, I do think I remember that song, my favorite song of hers ever was her take on the hymn Precious Lord– HEART that!

How God, picks up the pieces of a shattered human, puts together remnants of a broken dream, THAT I really heart.and you are right, the song does fit here :-) sorry I’m late replying, but somewhere in this week I caught a nasty bug – kinda sick like a dog right now – I hate sick.

Thank you for routing again – and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours


Debbie May 25, 2011 at 6:49 pm

I love that song,Grace! And Craig, this is amazing. Have you ever visited He deals with this broken issue all the time, in such a real way, too . . .like you! Thank you! and God bless you and all the ways He is reflected through you.


Craig May 26, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Debbie, I did visit the site once or twice, you recommended it to me once before I think. But he is not on the top of my list of – oh – about a gazillion blogs I heart reading. It’s a toughnlist to crack. His stuff is good. I heart your stuff much more! Thank you as always Debbie, and God bless and keep you.


Mari May 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm

“resurrected by a man who refused to accept, that brokenness means nothingness and uselessness”.
So beautifully put! What encouragement to my heart …God indeed makes masterpieces with our broken pieces =)


Craig May 26, 2011 at 5:58 pm

the Master architect, the Master builder, the only one who can take total chaos and bring beauty out of it – just as you have said, “masterpieces with our broken pieces”. Now that’s beautifully put :-) God bless you Mari, and all of yours and your broken pieces too!


Melissa S May 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm

the broken,
is the only thing
of use.

I love this. Thank you for sharing this story.


Craig May 26, 2011 at 6:02 pm

sadly, Melissa, I speak from a little experience on this. Once so proud, so rebellious, wanting all of God, but wanting him my way. So oblivious to the obvious fact that the one who created us – who created everything – we take the way he is, not the way we want to make him. He is the potter, it took me too long to discover that I, we, are just the clay. Thank you for reading, and thank you for commenting, thank you. God bless you Melissa, and God bless all of yours this day.


Courtney May 26, 2011 at 9:37 am

I came over to your place to share something with you…and instead you lifted my heart with this beautiful story of how the brokenness can be the revelation of His Glory. Exactly what I have been learning and writing of late. Thank you for this.

What I came over to share is this: I heard Laura Story’s song “Blessings” for the first time the other day and this line brought you to mind–“What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near?” Maybe it does take a thousand sleepless nights to know He’s near. Maybe all of us who struggle with physical illness have the incredible privilege of knowing Him in ways that others can’t. And just maybe, being broken is our chance to be beautiful. If you haven’t heard the song, I hope you’ll have a chance to (it’s on YouTube).

Grace to you, Friend.


Craig May 26, 2011 at 6:09 pm

I read the lyrics to that song once – and believe me those are the words that stuck out. There was a time I didn’t understand chronic illness. I hate to admit it, but on the outside I’d be all compassionate, but on the inside not get it, and judge. Having to fight every day with a body that will not cooperate – it teaches you something. No? Thank you for coming here to share that song, thank you for reading, thank you for this nice comment. Today the body is in all sorts of rebellion. Your words are right on – and right on time – thank you and God bless you and keep you and all of yours – grace to you, friend.


Rose @ Walnut Acre May 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Absolutely beautiful, both the writing and the pictures. I got goosebumps reading this and tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing this today.


Craig May 26, 2011 at 6:12 pm

thank you Rose – I heart this story – THE ARCHITECT has pieced together good things from shambles that I have created, and the shambles left behind by devastation. HE is good way – bless his heart. Thank you Rose, just thank you, and God bless and keep you and all of yours this and every day.


Kati May 26, 2011 at 12:23 pm

sometimes the broken is the only thing of use… so true, such a lovely truth.


Craig May 26, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Kati, thank you – and yes, it is true, so true, sometimes we have to be broken BEFORE we can be used. I wish I never needed to be taught that lesson, but I did, and our Lord taught me – through the breaking. Never cared much for the being taught, but always hearted the teacher! :-) Thank you for reading Kati, and God be with you this day, and every day.


Joybird May 26, 2011 at 8:51 pm

broken to be made more beautiful.

Wow. I have a broken glass vision too, that is very close to my heart. Thank you for sharing this incredible room and the even more powerful story behind its adornment.


Craig May 27, 2011 at 10:07 am

somehow, I felt this would particularly speak to you, actually thought if you when I wrote it. We all “broken glass vision”. No?thank you for reading again, and God bless and keep you this day.


Joybird June 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Wow, thank you Craig. I’m touched.


imperfect prose May 26, 2011 at 8:55 pm

sometimes the broken is the only thing of use….

craig… amazing. really. this dazzled me.


Craig May 27, 2011 at 10:10 am

Emily, I am honored every time I see a comment from you here, and I smile, and I know I’ve said it before, but I so admire your writing – and so when you say “well done” – it means the world. Thank you – and God bless and keep you and each and every one of yours this day.


Brandee May 26, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I love this, Craig, and the photos are incredible! I am really coming to understand, lately, that Christ never wastes a hurt: that He can do as much (or more) with what is broken than with what is intact. Do you know this quote from Vance Havner? “God uses broken things. Broken soil to produce a crop, broken clouds to give rain, broken grain to give bread, broken bread to give strength. It is the broken alabaster box that gives forth perfume. It is Peter, weeping bitterly, who returns to greater power than ever.”


Craig May 27, 2011 at 10:13 am

that room! All that glitter! All from broken pieces. And you are so right Brandee, our Lord would have us never waste pain, we do, but it’s not the way he would have it. I had not heard the quote – but I HEART that quote. HEART IT! Thank you for sharing it with me, and thank you for reading, and God bless and keep you and all of yours.


A. June 1, 2011 at 11:53 pm

Craig, this is a beautiful, beautiful story!!!!!! Oh my! And what stood out to me, among other things, was how the architect put each broken piece back into his building…piece by piece. He wasn’t callous even with the broken pieces. Each restorative action was done deliberately and carefully even though the pieces were broken. Wow. Thank you so much for finding and sharing this story with us.


Jeannie March 10, 2013 at 4:52 pm

My associate pastor weaved your story into a sermon about how our “brokenness doesn’t mean nothing-ness or uselessness.” Yours is a powerful story of how God gathers the rubble of life, only to transform it into something He can effectively use for His glory. So true – NoTHinG – NoOnE – is so broken that He can’t bring restoration.


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