All Things New

My mother is the oldest of seven children and the product of an electrical engineer and an artist. My grandfather loved learning, order, and classical music. My grandmother loved art, rescuing stray animals, and playing the piano by ear. Their two oldest daughters reflected their personalities. When my mom was seven, she asked her mother — whose idea of packing for a vacation was to dump entire dresser drawers into suitcases — if she could be in charge of packing and proceeded to clothespin matching outfits together for her and her four younger siblings. When she reached her teen years, my mom taped a dividing line down the middle of the room she shared with her sister because she just couldn’t take her sister’s chaos drifting to her side of the room.

Growing up, we lived in the same town as my aunt, and I spent a lot of time at her house in the summer. I was raised in a warm, loving, orderly home. Music was played quietly, we had chores, disagreements were talked through, (not yelled), and wet towels were hung up immediately. At my aunt’s house, arguments were loud and boisterous, we hung in her pool all day blasting tunes, and she gave us money for candy so we could ride to the store, come back, and eat the candy while watching General Hospital. Wet towels were never hung up at her house, and I distinctly remember opening the refrigerator door to see a gallon of milk missing its cap. I asked my cousin Steve where the cap was and he shrugged, reached over, and took a big swig of milk straight out of the gallon.

My mom and her sister were married within six months of each other and, because money was tight, they agreed to share a wedding dress. My mom got married first and, after her sister got married, asked if she could keep the dress at her house to make sure it stayed nice. The dress never made its way back to my mom, and she found out a year later that it was destroyed in a basement flood.

If you had asked my mom if she wanted a replacement dress — a copy of the original, but not the one she had worn — she would have said no. It wasn’t the gown itself that was irreplaceable, but the love, memories, people, and story behind it.

God sees us the same way: irreplaceable.

He sees our lives as unique and precious, and He’s not looking to start over. I love this quote from Pastor Scotty Smith:

“God’s name is Redeemer, not Re-doer. Jesus is making all things new, not all new things.”

God loves you and your one and only life. He created you with intention and gave you special gifts and talents. When He sees you, He doesn’t want to throw everything away and start over. He wants to work within your life, showing you Himself, and weaving the threads of your life into something beautiful. Nothing is beyond His redemption. I find this kind of love to be overwhelming in both its magnitude and specificity.

Author and theologian Dallas Willard has said that it is a wrong thought that God is too great to be bothered by the small details of our lives. Instead, he says, it’s the very greatness of God that allows Him to be aware of and care for every aspect of our lives. Nothing is too small for God’s loving care. Surrender both the big and little parts of your life to God in prayer, knowing that, in His great love, God will continue to make all things new.