RECYCLED


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Just recently we had a fabulous women’s evening at Manukau City Baptist Church.  We called it Recycle Runway.  A Runway Show displaying all second hand clothes with gorgeous models from our church family.  After the show the ladies could shop to their hearts content as we had available a huge variety of recycled clothes at the ridiculously cheap prices..  It was so much fun but the recycled theme got me thinking and so on the night I shared this with the ladies…

I have four daughters and for some reason this caused people to have great pity on me.  For a long time I thought my house must look to the outside world like a big red bin with a huge slot in the front.  I am not kidding – bags of clothes would arrive at my house on a regular basis.  My four daughters would descend on the bags like hyenas on a dead carcass.Recycled Runway 3  There was lots of yelling as they grabbed items they thought had potential and there was also the occasional, “mum could wear this.”  And every now and then someone would shriek, “This is even too ugly for mum to wear.”  Within what seemed like minutes the hungry hordes would depart with their treasures in their arms and I would be left standing there thinking, “I can’t remember Hurricane Katrina being forecast for today!” as my house would look like a disaster zone with the clothes that didn’t make the cut flung all over the place. Yes recycled clothes have played a major role in clothing the 5 Holmes girls for the past 20 years.

We all have a history. For many of us our past is exactly that, our past.  We don’t want to remember it and the last thing we can ever imagine is that it could possibly be used for good. But God disagrees.

God knows that if you give him your past and your present no matter how painful and yuk he can recycle it for good.

Romans 8:28 in the bible says:  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Everything!!

How do I know this is true – because I am one very recycled person.  God took a very angry, hurt and broken girl and he has cleansed me, healed me, made me whole and has recycled me, and he’s using my story for good.  I am proof that the promise in this verse is true.

Possibly you are saying to yourself “Well there is no way I want certain things brought up, let alone recycled!”  Look, I am not talking about sin or wrong-doing.  The bible promises us that when we ask God to forgive us for our wrongs then he throws them as far as the East is from the West and remembers them no more (Psalm 103:12).

What I am talking about is experiences.  If you give these to God and you decide you are going to love him, he will cause those experiences to be for good / to be recycled well.

Why would he want to recycle them? – Well from my experience with God it seems to be for two main reasons:

Firstly, to show you personally that your life has not been a waste.  That those years trapped in hurt, abuse or illness, aren’t wasted useless years that would cause you to live a lifetime of regret. When you see God recycle them for good there is no longer pain over that time. And the second reason he recycles them is so that we can help others who are going through similar experiences.  You are NEVER alone in what you are facing.  There have always been others and there will always be others going through similar experiences.  Letting God have those experiences allows him to use them so you can help someone else.

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If you have not experienced God taking away all the wrong doings (sin) from your life and cleansing you and making you feel brand new, then let me share about the miracle that can make this happen. It is called the good news – the Gospel – and it is so simple.  The bible says we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  ALL!  Sin separates us from the loving, but pure and Holy God.  The only way this separation could be fixed was by God coming to earth in the form of the man Jesus, who lived a perfect life and so then was able to be a blameless sacrifice.  His horrific death on the cross, taking on himself the punishment for our sin, was the only way we could be made pure so that we could then come to know that the God of the Heavens wants a personal relationship with each of us.  It’s as simple and mysterious and as amazing as that. And this same Jesus can then recycle your past.

If you allow him, if you say “God you have my life” – that gives him permission to come and clean up the mess you or others have made in your life.  God is in the business of redeeming and recycling situations. Make sure you give him the opportunity to do just that for you.

I Wish…

My 40 hour a week job is a receptionist at a medical centre. It is not in the rich area of town but rather in the middle of the poor in our community. I am honoured to be part of their lives and often this part is during a rough period as 95% of the time people come to see us when they are sick.

In my role I get to meet all of our patients, I get to know them and their families and I get to see how unique and special each person is.

So when one of these precious people is diagnosed with something terminal or a death suddenly happens, I get to be part of the grieving journey with this person and/or their family and friends.

Having experienced grief first hand through Mark’s ten year illness and then with his death I know a little of what each person is having to endure. I watch the shock, hug them through the tears, pray for them but mostly I wish.

That probably sounds like a funny thing to say as a Christian, like I believe in magic or something but that is not what I mean.

What I mean is; I wish that person, their family and their friends did not have to go through this. I have lived it and I know how revolting grief is. It literally breaks your heart, it gives you physical pain, your brain stops functioning, you no longer have control of your emotions, you are irrational, moody and can be aggressive. You become demanding and withdrawn at the same time. Life looks grey, all colour has lost its brightness and hope wanes. Some lose sleep, for me all I wanted to do was sleep. Some don’t eat and others eat for comfort. You constantly want what you can’t have and the majority of the time that ‘want’ is to go back in time – A time before illness and death invaded your life.

But there are no time machines, there is only forward and forward means having to keep living when actually you don’t really want too.

That is what I wish.

But I know that that person and the people involved in that person’s life have to deal with the grief. It is going to become part of who they are, it is going to mould them and if they let it, it will mould them for good.

Good. How can something so horrific like grief bring good?

In the bible it says,

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I don’t know how God does it but truly if we let him he does eventually use all grief for good. How do I know this?

Because the proof of it is in me and my four beautiful amazing daughters. We are rising again out of the ashes of grief. We are facing the world and we are saying we want to make a difference in people’s lives, we want to love like Jesus, and we want to be part of God’s solution to a hurting world. We have endured heartache head on and through God’s love and God’s love alone we have survived and we are ready to be used by God.

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Only the grief we endured could make us the people we are today. Only the heartbreak we carried could make us into the compassionate people we have become. And only by experiencing God heal us could we then with absolute conviction offer this same healing to others.

I wish no one had to face grief but I know that if people let God in and allow him to have control, he can turn that grief into something amazing to live for!

Let God have your grief today and then watch what he will do with that grief and with you – I promise you it will be remarkable!