From Broken-down to Beautiful

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The white car sat forlornly on the side of the road, pushed out to the edge of the property. The tires were missing and its front end was buckled from some sort of impact. I passed it every morning on my way to work – it’s wasn’t a pretty sight. That is until one midsummer morning when I noticed that green vines were beginning to curl out from the crumpled hood and around the back end. Day by day the vines progressed taking over more and more of the broken-down car. Then came the flowers – bright blue blooms swarming over the vines and covering the car until it became a mound of morning glories. That old broken-down wreck was now a beautiful sight to behold. Every morning as I passed that spot, I looked over at the lovely mound of flowers, their faces lifted to the sun and I smiled.

Your life may feel like a wreck today. It may be a series of circumstances you couldn’t control or choices you made yourself, but there you sit – broken, pushed aside, going nowhere. Oh, my friend, God specializes in bringing beauty from ashes – (Isaiah 61:3). I know it’s true because He did it for me. He took this broken-down woman with nothing to offer but pain and foolishness and made my life “a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor” (61:3b). He took on all my sin and shame and gave me His holiness. He washed me clean, dressed me in robes of righteousness, and gave my life meaning, hope, peace, and Joy.

If you will allow Him, He will do the same for you. He will cover you with the precious, blood of His Son Jesus and His love will turn your broken-down life into a garden of splendor – a thing of beauty.  And every time you look at yourself you’ll smile at what God has done.

The God who Restores

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I saw something very cool this morning as I was reading in Revelation. “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (2:7). Do you recall the last time we saw the tree of life? It was way back in Genesis, chapter 3 to be exact. After the fall of Adam and Eve, God banished them from the Garden of Eden and said “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever” (3:22). Because they knew evil (notice the passage said they knew good and evil, but not good from evil) it would be a cruel thing to allow them to live forever with that burden.

Yet the Revelation verse shows that man is restored to all the good things God created for him to enjoy. The bounty of His blessing, the delight of His presence, and the promise of eternal life.

God restores. It is His nature to restore things that are broken. And not only in heaven but also here and now. I have seen broken marriages restored. Broken dreams reignited. Broke relationships knitted back together. Broken minds healed. Broken lives renewed. And broken hearts made whole. He is Elyshib – the God who restores. And He is working to restore you.

Beloved

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I pray for two things every morning over my granddaughter. I pray that she will come to know Jesus as Her Savior at a young age and grow in love and knowledge every day. And I pray a verse over her from Ephesians 3:18-19:
“I pray that Joy, being rooted and established in love may have power together with all the saints to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ [for her], [that she may] know this love that surpasses knowledge and may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
I didn’t grow up “rooted and established in love.” I grew up with judgment. I grew up with scary things happening to me. I grew up believing I was a disappointment to the people I wanted so badly to love me. I was so hungry to be loved that I married a man who, after four years of abuse, told me he didn’t love me. Friends who once told me they loved me, later walked away because my emotional neediness was too heavy a burden.
I’ve been in ministry long enough to know that many of you are shaking your head, probably with tears in your eyes, in understanding
But what I didn’t know, until much later in life, was that there was a God in heaven who loved me from before I was born. He loved me even as others used “love” as an excuse for abuse. He loved me despite all the scars on my heart and body. No – check that. He loved my scars. He loved my wounded, frightened heart. He loved me and the weight of my broken past.
If you only ever grab one thing I write, take hold of this and never let go: God loves you. He loves everything about you – “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Others may have hurt you, failed you, walked away from you, and hurled verbal darts at you. But God loves you with a pure and perfect love that will never end. Never. Receive it. Believe it. Plant yourself in it and grow. You are the Beloved of God.