*This story was written as a part of a #livefree campaign for Suzie Eller.
I’m not a “new” type of girl. I swoon over all things vintage or retro. An appropriate license plate would read:
“I stop for junk.”
I like old things. I adore taking something old, tattered, worn, and giving it new life. I call it upcycling. Maybe I’ll give it an entirely new purpose, maybe not. Maybe I’ll pick a piece for its solid bones and completely change its facade. Or maybe I’ll take an old-school approach and simply clean it up, allowing its original beauty to shine. Either way, I’m a sucker for this art. My home is one big eclectic restoration project. Including the people who inhabit it.
Thankfully, my God is into restoration, too.
Heaven only knows the trash pile I’d be under right now if He weren’t. I see myself in every piece that I’ve painstakingly restored, and I realize just how tired He must be.
An unstable-nomad of a daddy who dragged us to every next stop. A too-young grieving momma held captive by his hand. Constant head games. Uncertainty. Fear. My granddaddy was a preacher. He and my grandma lived the Love of Jesus but never lived close enough to us. This child? A people pleaser. A far-too-responsible Fixer. A mother duckling. Perfectionist. Dreamer. A glimpse of Jesus here and there. A skewed vision of a vengeful God. Splashes of beautiful memories.
Grace? What’s that?
I was the good girl. I didn’t know how to be any other way. Until I was tired. Tired of being hurt, of faking happy. Soon after marrying young, I realized that many of my dreams would be tossed away. And BAM! Walls that had begun to form years before, grew taller, in every direction of my being. They went up fast, and each day, I painted over them for fear of being found out.
Eventually, I was so lost that I couldn’t even remember which wall had gone up first and why.
My masks were many. I was a liar. A fake. My family: a mess. My marriage: in shambles. I was a terrible stay-at-home mom. I had no joy. I was confused. Emotional. Broken. Called into ministry? Pshhh! Go find another trash pile, okay God?
But He didn’t.
After slowly surrendering my entire being to Christ (again), He began to peel away layers. I was (am) a progressive project. Restoration = blood, sweat, and tears. It was (is) hard. And painful. I had to forgive. I had to allow myself to be forgiven (hard). I’ve had to overcome fears… many. And Grace. Oh, beautiful Grace. His mercy I still don’t deserve.
Today, I am a pastor’s wife (That shambled marriage? Restored!). A happy momma (Joy? Restored!). God gave me new dreams… His… and assured me that I’d been in the right pile all along. Every bang and nick will always be a part of me. They give me beautiful, cherished character.
He restored my soul. Upcycled my heart.
I’m so grateful that Jesus stops for junk, too.