Until recently, I've always thought there were only two options for those of us who care to keep memories around in tangible form as long as possible. My way of thinking has been, keep them as long as you have room to store them. Keep them organized and perhaps one day someone in the family will find them to be as important as you. About a week ago, I found the Bible I carried to church as a child. The one with the picture of Jesus and the children on the front. I could picture and actually seemed to feel the pride swelling up in my heart that I once felt as I pitter pattered down the sidewalk to the Primary Department for Sunday School at North Kannapolis Baptist Church. My grandmother held my hand until we reached the door of the room where a semicircle of tiny chairs surrounded a flannel board where all the Bible characters came to life for me as a child. I was disappointed to find the back was off the Bible since I'd thought of giving it to my granddaughter, hoping it would make her heart beat faster to carry a picture of Jesus under her arm... the Jesus who loves little children so much.
The tattered Bible still holds onto the promises as long as the pages are attached to the front cover so I declared it “non trash worthy” and returned it to the box to keep awhile longer. Perhaps there might be a way to “repurpose” this treasure from my childhood. This word “repurpose” has been coming up quite often these days. It seems it's a new term for “recycle” and bounces around in craft and art circles I've visited online these last weeks. I actually have had the idea of repurposing before I learned there was a name for such an activity. The idea that I might use the birthday, Christmas, thank you and other greeting cards I've saved to make something completely brand new has entered my mind over the years. It wasn't until my sister's recent birthday, I decided to give it a shot.
A couple of months had passed since I laid eyes on this card with the thought of making something new and unique from it since otherwise it would sit in a box with no purpose whatsoever or might need to find its way to the trashworthy pile which would make me very sad. I gathered my scrapping tools and began cutting the image of a most beautiful birthday cake from the front of this vintage card circa 1955. I was elated to discover on the frayed and yellowed envelope, the year of my sister's birth. I decided the postmark would be a special touch and fastened it to the back of the card surrounded by some flowers I'd taken from the front of the card that once held the sentiments of my grandmother to my mother on her special day. New cardstock in a bright blue and some glitter applied sparingly to detail the flowers and voila', my completely recreated card was finished. For me, it held not only my special feelings for my sister, but spanned the years to include the blessings of our grandmother as well.
A few days ago, I read the following words on a crafting blog. “Keep things that matter; repurpose everything else.” Suddenly, I thought about the verse that says “For we are God's own handiwork, recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined for us [planned beforehand] for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them.” His recreating us is a bit like my repurposing the card first sent to my mother and then made new to send blessings to my sister. When we come into relationship with Jesus, there are things of our old nature that will not matter in the eternal plan of His kingdom. Our new life in Christ and all the blessings He preplanned for us are wrapped up in our decision to accept Him as our Savior.
I'm so happy to know that He both keeps me and repurposes me so that I can be all that He created me for in this world. He keeps me because I matter to Him. In His Word it says He beautifies, dignifies, and crowns me with His loving kindness and tender mercy. What a glue and glitter job that is for Him! But He's not willing to let me go and so He trims away at the things that don't matter in His kingdom plan and adds some colorful splashes of grace and...
I am repurposed, recreated in Christ Jesus, to carry the original blessings and intent of His heart to others. I am repurposed to carry the love of Jesus to others who perhaps have never had the new birth experience. If I felt the genuine feelings of love for Jesus as a child by simply carrying a picture of Jesus under my arm, what blessing might I bestow if I gave testimony of how He has faithfully “kept” me and “repurposed” me over the years since I gave my life to Christ? As I look back to the vintage birthday card and the Bible hidden away in a box in the garage, I realize how important it is to allow Him to continue to rework, recreate and repurpose us for His use. His eternal purpose is always at work within us. For those of us who have trouble “letting go of the past” and I'm not speaking of cards here, may we be reminded that He keeps what matters AND repurposes us so that one day we can take these repurposed lives and offer them back to Him for his glory.