Its date night! The love-burkes have reason to celebrate this evening. A job well done, a chance to show it off, and plenty of good food, good friends and good vibes to do it with!
For the last few months my carpenter-sweetie has been transforming an old pizza parlor into a new, fun, vibrant pizza parlor. A Hawaiian/Polynesian themed pizza parlor. Think beaches and bamboo and thatch. It has come together beautifully and tonight, the weekend before the grand opening, we get to enjoy a private celebration with the owners, staff, subcontractors, and some of our family and friends.
I got a sneak preview last week, and even though it was still in the last phase of finishing touches, I could see the creative details that my husband put into it. Gone were the garish red counter tops and walls, the Christmas colored booths and chairs. It's been totally transformed!
|almost complete and ready for the grand opening.|
In anticipation of date night, I've been primping already this morning. Picking out my outfit and accessories, putting on fresh nail polish and adding extra product to my hair to ensure it has longer staying power. Putting in a little more time on the workout so I can eat guilt free this evening. When my sweetie left this morning, I was still in my robe and slippers, hair looking like shredded wheat, un-caffeinated and mostly incoherent because of that. When he comes home tonight he will find me totally transformed.
Transformation can be a scary word. It usually represents change and you know how some of us are about change. We like status-quo. If it aint broke don't fix it, right? The 'old' pizza parlor that was sitting empty for awhile, there wasn't really anything wrong with it. The kitchen still worked-- you could still crank out a pizza in its ovens. You could still sit in the booths and not get poked by broken springs. But with fresh paint, fresh decor, a buzz of excitement comes and it's attractive and people like attractive. My sweetie adores me and he doesn't care that my hair isn't brushed or that I look desperate for coffee, but he truly does appreciate the extra efforts I make when I 'gussy up' for him on those special occasions.
God is in the transformation business. He loves us, unconditionally, as He proved so long ago by sending His Son to us, to die for us and rise again. (John 3.16) He accepts up, just as we are, offers us forgiveness, redemption, and grace. But He doesn't just stop there. He takes our old dirty rags (our old selves) and clothes us in robes of righteousness. (Isaiah 61.10) And still He does not stop. As He proclaims us without sin, without blemish, He also adopts us into His family, giving us full access to the Throne of Grace. But there's more! God wants to continue the amazing journey we have embarked on when we stepped on to His path. To paraphrase Max Lucado, yes, He loves us just as we are, but He also loves us too much to leave us there. So He calls us, Come, be transformed! Come be like Jesus
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 2 Corinthians 5.17
We are new! Like a brand new restaurant, ready for its grand opening-- still capable of welcoming guest and feeding people good food, but in a fresh, clean, vibrant and exciting way. We are new! Like an excited wife who's had her coffee, ironed her new polka dot dress, and polished her nails, still me, only sparkly!
Yes, God is, still, in the transformation business. I am not the same girl I was 45+ years ago when I asked Jesus to save me. I am not the same girl who at 14 made a more public profession of faith by being baptized. I am definitely not the same girl who ran away from home, got married at 17, and was divorced at 34. I am not even the same 'girl' I was 5 years ago. I am constantly being changed, by the things around me, and most importantly, by the changes I allow inside of me.
Romans 12.2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, and that can only truly happen when we surrender it fully to God. Like the project manager of a restaurant remodel, He needs full access to the whole shebang.
from The Message:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.