|HE HUSBAND AND I are "boat people." Not the kind that fled from Viet Nam. We're the kind of boat people who drive half a day to wait in line for an hour at the boat landing, just to take a thirty minute boat ride.|
H.M. is actually more of a boat person than I am. Having nearly drowned in a high school swimming class, I don't much like water and could live without setting foot in it except that I must shower occasionally. In fact, I'm uncomfortable near any body of water unless it has a drain and a faucet.
The husband has spent nearly as much of his life in water as he's spent on land. He's so impassioned with restoring antique wood boats that he can't resist a rotted hull any more than a hemorrhoid sufferer can resist Preparation H.
When I look at a dilapidated boat, I see peeling paint, rusted chrome, and rotted wood. The husband, however, envisions the boat's previous splendor and the magnificent treasure that it will be after he's worked his magic. He gets more excited than a squirrel in a peanut warehouse, and he can hardly wait to begin restoring his treasure to perfection.
I think that's how God is with us. He sees what we're made of; but He also knows how much better we can be, if we allow Him to renovate us from the inside out. Just as the husband can't wait to refinish a boat, God is eager to perfect each of His people. Unfortunately, we're not always eager to let Him. We're content to remain as we are. That is, until life falls apart. Usually, it is only then that we soften, becoming compliant and changeable.
Boats that come into the husband's shop for rejuvenation look aged, battle scarred, and worn out. Yet, they're never beyond repair. He must often gut entire sections that have rotted. With tender care, he reconstructs them. He replaces missing parts, overhauls the engine, and refinishes the chrome.
The last step in the restoration process is to painstakingly apply layer upon layer of varnish. He sands and polishes it to produce a smooth finish in which he can see his reflection. In a matter of months, he transforms old wrecks into trophy winners. It's possible because he's a craftsman who knows what he's doing.
People can also be reconstructed by a master craftsman. Who better than our creator could transform our brokeness? Even renovations that seem impossible become glorious possibilities with the master's skillful touch.
Have you felt like a battered old boat, beaten by the waves and rocks of life? Have you suffered abuse and neglect like a peeling, rotted hull? Are you weary and no longer able to stay afloat in the sea of adversity? Maybe, like an antique boat, you need a restoration.
God wants to remove from your heart the decayed parts affected by bitterness, selfishness, unforgiveness, or other sins. Just as the husband is compelled to undertake boat projects, because he's anxious to see what they can become, God is eager to see His purpose for you completed. His goal is a total makeover, and He will persevere until he's renovated your heart. If you don't resist His makeover, you'll become like Him. Then, like the new finish of a renovated wood boat, you will reflect the image of the one who restored you.
Though God loves you just as you are, He can't leave you that way any more than the husband can turn away from an old weathered boat. H.M. has a gift for recognizing what's worn out but precious, and making it new again. God also recognizes the value of his precious children, and He lovingly offers us a new life.
Will you allow His masterful touch to restore your heart?
Marsha Jordan is a disabled grandmother, author, and shower singer who began her writing career on the bathroom walls of St. Joseph's Catholic Elementary School. Now her writing appears in restrooms throughout the country. Jordan has two boys, ages 30 and 55. She's been married to the 55 year old for 31 years.
She's been held captive for a quarter of a century In the north woods of Wisconsin where she shares an empty nest with her rocket scientist husband and their badly behaved toy poodle, King Louie who rules the household with an iron paw.
After her grandson was badly burned, Jordan created The HUGS and HOPE Foundation, a nonprofit charity devoted to cheering critically ill and injured children.
Jordan's inspirational and humorous essays are available in her new book, "Hugs, Hope, and Peanut Butter." The book is illustrated with drawings by kids who are battling for life.
More columns by Marsha Jordan