Restoring More than Homes
As many others do, every year I choose “one word” that is intended to shape the lens through which I see my life. I try to choose a word that keeps me focused on the life I want to live, and what I’m asking God to do both in and through me. Often, this word takes on a life of its own throughout the year… and I’m sure this year’s word will be no different.
As a woman that restores and renovates homes for a living, I thought it fitting this year to claim the word “restore.” But at first, I struggled to understand its complexity and what it meant for both my life and my career. What I did know were these two things: First, when I see a run-down home I instantly see its potential… and it energizes me. And secondly, after a lifetime of taking on more than I should and not getting nearly enough rest, I was in desperate need of personal restoration.
The reason I struggled with my word was because I didn’t just want to put homes back to their original condition, I wanted to make them better. I didn’t just want to return to who I used to be, I wanted to be better. So, my studies brought me to this definition:
Restore: To repair something to its intended design. And then I understood. This journey was going to be about stepping into who I was made to be, not who I used to be. It was not about putting homes back together, but about giving them new life.
To me, homes are like people.
Homes are aging. Just like us, they are slowly but surely falling apart. We try and combat this daily by tidying up. Sometimes we take inventory and decide what to keep and what to purge. And every once in a while, we put on a fresh coat of paint as a bandage. But in almost every life, there inevitably comes a time, after years of neglect or when a disaster strikes, that it’s just best to gut the whole thing – to take it back to its bones and start over. How many of us look back and think, “how did I get here?”
The funny thing about restoration is that something must be demolished before it can be rebuilt. It must be ruined before it can be transformed. And it must be broken before it can be restored.
As a business owner and a single mom, I often get tired and overwhelmed, and forget to open my eyes to the beautiful picture of humanity that surrounds me: Creation – Brokenness – Restoration. What an amazing privilege it is to be an active participant in the joy of restoration. I get to take something that is broken and make it whole, all the while understanding that ruin is part of the process. After the year that Wilmington had last year through the storm, I know that I am not the only one.
When I stand back on the sidewalk and look at the difference I’m able to make in each home, and I’m reminded to be thankful and hopeful. In the same way that I tear these homes apart before beginning their transformation, God has broken me. But through the lens of restoration, I understand that it is for the purpose of rebuilding me into something greater. For Wilmington, and for me, this is a year of restoration. As I read Psalm 51, I am encouraged, “Give me back my joy again; you have broken me – now let me rejoice… Restore to me the joy of your salvation….” Joy is on the other side.
The homes that I restore will never be like they used to be. But they will have charm, character, and even the flaws that come with age. But they will be purposeful and live-giving to the families that choose to live in them.
So I ask you, is it time for an adjustment and a fresh coat of paint? Or, like me, is it time to take it back to the bones and start over… stepping into a better version of who you were created to be?