I do not have the gift of seeing an old piece of furniture or an old house and seeing what it could be when placed in the hands of people who have a gift of restoration. However, I have been the beneficiary of a number of these special treasures. My husband loved to do what I call dumpster diving. I never knew what he was going to bring home. Going to yard sales or auctions is one thing. Going through others’ trash is quite another—in a word, yuck!
I was recently dusting an old oak bookcase that sits in my hallway. The bookcase has a special memory, as it was found in the basement of an old house at the children’s home where we served as houseparents. It was clean-out day and it was being placed on the trash pile. My husband claimed it, and I thought, “Why?” It was filthy dirty and had multiple coats of paint that had long faded. But in his hands, it became something very special. Underneath the surface was a beautiful solid oak antique treasure. As I dusted the shelves, I was thankful for this special bookcase and the memories it holds.
On the top of the bookcase sits an old camel-back clock that John rescued from the dump as he was hauling away trash. As I dusted the beautiful old clock, I remembered the day John presented me with this treasure—and, at the time, it was anything but a treasure. “What in the world do you want with that?” I asked, as he proudly held his new find. Unimpressed, I forgot about the old clock until one day it returned. I couldn’t believe it! It was refinished, new works with a full set of chimes, and a new door in the back. It was beautiful and it has a lovely sound. That hopeless old shell became a treasure. As I dust the clock, I hold it carefully in my hands celebrating the beautiful memories I have of its journey.
All it took was someone who could see its value and commit to restoring it. What looked hopeless wasn’t hopeless at all. The old clock just needed a loving touch from one who saw its beauty. About eighteen months ago, I received a call from Keith Henry, BCH’s chief operating officer, to join him for a tour of an old house located across the street from the house where I live on the Mills Home campus. The basement had three feet of water buildup, had been empty for sometime, and it was in bad need of major repair. My immediate reaction was: “You want to do what? Why?” As we walked through the house, Keith was excited about what the home could be—a real treasure. He encouraged me to look below the layers of dirt, coats of old, chipped paint, and the three feet of water in the basement. But, all I saw was a mess. The excitement and vision was contagious and I began to see it differently.
Keith envisioned it as a home for birth moms. He saw a place of support as birth moms walk through the emotional grief that comes with placing their child for adoption. That got my attention. It would be a place where lives would be changed and new beginnings could be experienced. It would be a lot more than a
building. This place would be a treasure where hope and healing can be found for each young woman who walks through the home’s doors.
I recently toured the house that is now called Emmanuel Home. The water problem is gone. Volunteers gutted the house and the layers of dirt and old paint have been removed from the walls and floors. A treasure has emerged! Beautiful stained glass, gorgeous wooden ceiling beams, exquisite hardwood floors tell a story of restoration. Life has been brought back to this house and it is now a home. Like my beautiful oak bookcase and my camel-back clock, Emmanuel Home is a treasure. It is a place where memories will be made.
I am excited that these young courageous ladies who have chosen life for their babies will be living across the street from my house. I am so thankful for the opportunity to pour encouragement into their lives. The BCH staff members are anxious to stand in the gap for these precious women and be a daily reminder to them of the true Savior who loves them more deeply than any human ever could. So many people walk through our doors everyday needing the right place and the right people to help them. They feel alone and hopeless. The people who were supposed to protect them and provide for them either couldn’t or didn’t. They are desperately in need of people who can see them as the beautiful treasure they are in the hands of our Lord and Savior. And then there is healing, then there is restoration, then there is Easter.
Easter is about hopelessness and hope—in that order. After Jesus’ arrest and trial, the disciples were afraid. While the disciples had some uneasy feeling about going to Jerusalem for Passover, they never anticipated the horrific turn of events. Betrayed by one of his own, carried away under the cover of darkness, and facing a trial at the hands of his opponents, things were going very badly. Then came the crushing news that Jesus was to be crucified. The one they had placed all of their hope in was to die. The one they thought was the fulfillment of so many years of expectation would now be placed in a cold dark grave. And then there is Easter!
In the middle of hopelessness, something happens. Not a cliché, not the power of positive thinking, but something really happens. Easter! In the very heart of this hopeless time, hope was born! In the wounds that were meant to take life, life finds renewal and restoration At the victory, messengers proclaimed triumph. In the moment of hopelessness, God acted and created Hope with a capital “H” and it forever stands as a promise that hopelessness has once and for all been defeated. And then there is Easter! From broken and worn by trauma and darkness, restoration and new life breaks forth!
For more information on how you can be a part of this transforming restorative ministry, call me at 336-689-4442. The Emmanuel Home dedication will be held on April 25th at 10:30am. Join us as we celebrate the restoration that will take place in this home.
Written by Brenda Gray, Executive Vice President, Development & Communications.