Healing Journal & Devotionals

A Broken Gown Points to True Love

She’s sold for a cheap price because that’s what she’s worth. Broken with missing beads. A ripped inner skirt. Lace that’s old fashioned. She’s not as beautiful as the others. She’s used.

The manager of the tailor shop called me to talk about her. “Are you sure you want to fix this dress?”

She was my wedding dress.

And she only cost me Php3,000. I’ve grown emotionally attached to a cheap gown that I started calling it, “she”.

Days of scrolling endless online pages led me to a dress shop in faraway Marikina. All the Ready-To-Wear stores in my city had the potential to break my wallet. Meanwhile, hiring a dressmaker for a custom-made gown was an unlikely possibility. It would take at least 6 months to create a dress from scratch.

I only had a limited budget.

I only had less than 2 months till my wedding day.

When I found the Php3,000-worth wedding dress, I was ecstatic. She had a beaded bodice, an elegant v-cut neckline, and a great flowy skirt that was my dream style. Her measurements were exact for my frame; it’s like she was made for me.

But she was broken.

“Your gown has lot of stains; it looks like it was stored for a long time.” The manager says, genuinely concerned about my choices. She notes everything wrong about the gown; everything ugly about it.

Like the loose threads.

The weak ribbons.

The rust-colored blemishes.

Yeah, those blemishes were the worst parts.


I brought my thrift gown to the alteration shop, hoping to remove the old lace…but simply cutting the length wasn’t going to be enough.

“I doubt that dry cleaning can remove all the stains. It might cost you more to repair this dress than to get a new one. Are you sure you still want to push through with it?”

The nice seamstress lady had a point.

Was I going to lose face, being too idealistic over the idea of restoring a secondhand gown?

What if I need to settle with walking down the aisle, dressed in a stained dress?

Maybe I made a foolish choice.

It would be easier to start all over again with a new gown, one that’s already perfect from the beginning.

The gown itself is of less worth. The cost of restoring her was becoming worth more.

But then a compelling reminder came over me…


A Better Love Story

I was reminded of John 3:16, the verse showing us that God didn’t abandon a broken world but came to save it.

Isn’t this how God saw us too? He knew what we were — broken with missing parts. Just like this wedding gown, we weren’t worth much.  We could’ve been as cheap as a 3,000 peso-worth wedding dress compared to a God who breathed beauty and perfection.

But despite beholding all our mistakes and imperfections…To Him, we were still worth it (Romans 5:8).

His sacrifice was worth more than we were. When He exchanged His life for ours, it was like trading gold for a lump of clay. His life for our flawed souls. His unrelenting pursuit for our fickle hearts. (2 Corinthians 5:21).

It cost Him more to invite a mere human into a grand relationship with Him.

It was pricier to redeem us than to just start over… the same way that it’s costing me to restore this dress.

“Go ahead and fix it,” I told the manager. This could be a story worth telling someday.

Restoration Begins

As they repaired my wedding dress, I asked another supplier to create a veil with stars. A sparkling, celestial veil could cover whatever remaining stains my dress might have. The gown won’t have to solely rely on her own design to be beautiful anymore.

And yeah, I knew she’d need intense cleaning, the kind that wouldn’t ruin her fragile beadwork.  After a lot of research, I contacted a laundry shop called Reviva, which was a name that was surprisingly apt. My wedding gown was in desperate need of reviving. I’m pretty sure it needed a resurrection from how dead it originally appeared.

It may have cost me more to clean her, but she was coming together to tell of a greater love story after all.

Beauty from Brokenness

“The manager told us to add more crystals. She made us fix your dress three times.” One of the seamstresses told me. It was time to pick up my gown from the alteration shop, and when they presented my gown, my heart leapt. I got teary-eyed.

In the places where my gown lost her beads—in the places where threads were torn—they placed numerous, glinting crystals. She didn’t look like her old self. My gown sparkled; she had stars in her cloth.

It reminded me of how God really doesn’t just stop at “saving” a person (I John 3:1). Just like a secondhand dress, He can take broken people and love them to wholeness, making them stronger—and more beautiful—than who they once were.  (Ezekiel 37:1-10; Isaiah 61:1-3). He does not abandon torn hearts; He restores people into completion, turning them into a beautiful display for His glory (Philippians 1:6).

And despite my gown’s stains, the laundry shop took care of her, cleaning her to the point that her dirty-white color became a striking pearl-white shade.

In an epiphanic way, it was a picture of how God also takes away our mistakes and shame. He removes our stains, creating a fresh start (Psalm 51:7). Even though a heart may feel dirty over a dark past, True Love makes a person completely pure again. God doesn’t give up on people, no matter how broken or how lost they may be (Psalm 147:3).

Fortunately, my wallet didn’t burn a hole from all the expenses.  Overall costs ended up being cheaper than buying a new dress!

Journeying with this wedding gown was like living a Cinderella story. I was holding a tangible reminder of how True Love can turn something broken into something beautiful.


Photography: Ram Marcelo

Hair & Make-Up: Phyl Lunzaga

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