Rachael Mitchell, writer and speaker, wife and mom, relies on faith, humor and an up-to-date Google calendar to make it through. There’s a high chance you’ll catch Rachael dressed in sweatpants with a book in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, totally forgetting that she’s supposed to be in the car picking up a kid from soccer practice. Connect with her on Instagram: @mitchellfreelancewriting
RESTORED TO FORMER GLORY
A floor plan is a strange thing to thrill a child, but since the age of about seven, home design, architecture, and house layouts excited me. Whether I was creating creative floor plans with Legos or drawing elaborate plans on graph paper, house design intrigued me.
Rivers ran through some of my house plans, fountains decorated the entryways, hidden passageways, elaborate music rooms, and giant bathrooms were “musts” in my “signature” home designs.
I struck gold when I married my husband, who happened to be a contractor. My vision paired well with his brawn and know-how. We loved Chip and Jo, teared up during Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, celebrated Nicole Curtis’ finished homes, and we’re still fascinated with the meticulous work on This Old House. I follow people on Instagram who are restoring old mansions and was giddy when, eight years ago, we purchased an older home in need of major remodeling. I still dream of buying an old mansion in England that needs restoration. My husband began to be less and less excited when I’d start a conversation, “So, I have an idea…” while eating dinner and I’d point to a wall in our house, “see that wall? Um, can it come down? I’d really like this space to be opened up.” Even though it was load bearing, and required a 400-pound beam in its place, my next question was, “OK, so when can you start?”
I love being married to a contractor. Let’s replace that sliding glass door with a window! Ready go!
I began to think about why I loved seeing something broken get fixed. Why does the “unveiling” make me emotional? Why do the before and after photos make me scroll back and forth 15 times? Why is it so satisfying to see something “restored to its former glory”? I’m obviously not alone in this interest—everyone loves a good before and after, and there are shows, books, magazines, and an entire channel of TV dedicated to home transformations.
I think we love watching transformation because we are longing to be transformed.
We easily see what is broken not only with a dilapidated mansion, but with the world, and inside us as well. Whether conscious or not, we know something is off. Even though we love the restored final results, it’s frustrating when we continue to be bent on what is broken. We hurt the people we love with our words, actions and selfishness. We hurt people we don’t know by our criticism, materialism, and lack of care for the earth. We complain, compare, and consume. We watch people killing other people, governments warring against other countries, famine or disease ravaging the lives of those already stuck in poverty. We know in our spirits it’s not supposed to be like this. We long for transformation in our own lives and in the world. We’re cheering “move that bus,” and hoping to see something new and beautiful revealed. We are longing for things to be set right and restored to their former glory.
Thankfully, Jesus transforms. From the inside out, He observes what’s broken and tenderly begins to set it right. Just like in the remodeling shows, what we don’t see are the hundreds of carpenters, painters, and builders working around the clock. We don’t experience the hours and hours it can take to strip paint off old window casing or a handrail. We want our homes and our hearts transformed in 30 minutes when, in reality, transformation takes a lifetime. There’s no glory without the blood, sweat, and tears of setting right what is broken. We might see what is broken in our own lives, but we hide or cover our eyes in hopes it will disappear, knowing that the transformation process will be hard and painful. It takes courage to face what is broken, just as it takes determination to sand old paint off of window casings. The work of transformation requires surrender. Surrendering to Jesus takes great faith and a willingness to be undone and put back together from the inside out.
We are longing for things to be set right and restored to their former glory.
Thankfully, Jesus transforms. From the inside out, He observes what’s broken and tenderly begins to set it right.
Working away on front steps with my “helpers”
Jesus’ death and resurrection was a courageous act that allows for our restoration. Our sin and the world’s brokenness can be put back right because of Jesus’ willingness to go to the cross, die a horrific death, and then rise again, restored to his full glory, three days later. We can be restored because He is the Great Restorer. He did it first and set it right. Not all things will be restored on this side of heaven. We’ve still lost people we love, relationships are still torn apart, people are still suffering. But because Jesus offers us the forgiveness of sins, we have the power and ability to live differently—transformed—in this life.
Though a quick transformation seems like it would be easiest and with the least amount of pain, Jesus transforms our hearts over time. We grow and change as we face our brokenness and allow it to be restored to its former glory in the hands of Jesus.
Written by Rachael Mitchell for The Anchor Journal
Catch up on last week’s journal entry!
Passing the Baton
Through a kind gesture, Katie was reminded to press and pass on the greatest news and hope that Jesus brings as the anchor for our souls, firm and secure.