The act of returning a structure to its original condition. Most often associated with homes.
Not to be confused with remodeling or renovation – where old things are made new by an addition, or even a complete transformation.
But sometimes – in the case of a heart for example – when the current state is so far gone from its original condition, restoration sure does feel like a complete transformation.
This is my story.
At 29 years old, my heart - and subsequently my life - had become unrecognizable.
It hadn’t been a fire, or flood, or an isolated incident that had caused this damage.
It was more like a gradual accumulation of consequences – quietly destructive effects of the bad decisions made by a deeply-wounded, lonely, hurting woman.
And what had made my condition particularly dangerous was that up until this point I had somehow been able to hide it.
I had slapped a coat of paint called denial on my broken life which made it difficult for others to see the cracks on the outside.
But on the inside, I was falling apart.
And instead of repairing my foundation, I chose to fill the cracks with temporary fixes: alcohol, food, clothes, men…
Of course these solutions only succeeded in furthering the decay.
Until one morning, the corrosive effects of another night of binge drinking finally ate through my fragile facade.
With no recollection of the previous night’s events, but disturbing evidence of considerable damage, I swallowed my pride and called my mom for help.
And she gave me the number for a carpenter.
From that moment on, my heart has been under construction.
And where the temporary fixes had previously failed to fill the holes, Jesus Christ is rebuilding me from the ground up. Brick by brick.
But while the before and after pictures of my life after Christ’s restoration are quite stunning, the real beauty isn’t in how I appear to the world now – it’s how the world appears to me.
I’ve got a new heart now. And with a new heart comes new eyes.
Everything and everyone is more beautiful to me now because I finally see them for what they truly are: gracious gifts from a loving, faithful Father.
Where there was once pain, where there was once fear, where there was once loneliness and unworthiness. Now all I see is the fantastic, perfect, unending love of my Savior.
And my God, is it beautiful.
Unfortunately my heart hasn’t been the only part of me in need of restoration over the years. I’ve struggled with digestive health problems my whole life. I started taking it more seriously about 5 years ago and have since learned so much about the healing powers of proper nutrition.
Soup is one of my favorite restorative meals when my stomach needs settling. It’s so warming and nurturing – like a hug for your insides. This recipe is particularly healing with the abundance of detoxifying vegetables. Treat yourself or a loved one to this bowl of love.
Chicken Detox Soup for the Soul:
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast
2 quarts chicken broth
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
3 cups broccoli florets
2 1/2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups chopped celery
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh shredded or grated ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
Salt and pepper
Set a large sauce pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, chopped onions, celery, ginger, and garlic. Saute for 5-6 minutes to soften. Then add the chicken breasts, broth, carrots, apple cider vinegar, crushed red pepper, turmeric and 1 teaspoon sea salt.
Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 20+ minutes, until the chicken breasts are cooked through. Then remove the chicken with tongs and set them on a cutting board to cool.
Add the broccoli, peas, and parsley to the pot. Continue to simmer to soften the broccoli.
Meanwhile, shred the chicken breasts with two forks, and stir it back into the soup.
Once the broccoli is tender, taste, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.
NOTES: For best results, use all organic ingredients.
“Resurrecting” by Elevation Worship.
My prayer today is for those whose lives are in need of more than just a fresh coat of paint. Whose patched hearts are worn and hurting. I pray that today will be the day they call on you for help. Help them see and believe in the beauty of your original blueprint for their lives. Give them courage to allow you to break ground and lay a new foundation of your unfailing love.
Restoration is not a simple process. Nor is it a short process. Or a pleasant process. The detox of my own heart as I began to give my hurt up to God was messy. And painful. But there is beauty in God’s promises. In the hope and faith we have as believers that God has come to make all things new. In His time. So call the carpenter. Start the project. And watch in patient wonder as God’s love slowly, but surely, begins to restore your heart.