New Identity

June 20, 2007
by Lisa McDaniel

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (KJV)

My grandparents built their home with little money and much love. It became a monument of memories: meals in the kitchen, laughs in the living room, bubble baths in the claw-foot tub, bedside prayers, and occasional spankings in the laundry room.

During their elderly years, the house deteriorated, as did their health. But while they were slow about fixing a leaky roof, they hastened to wipe away my tears. Though they neglected household repairs, yet they always mended my heart.

Their comforting words became echoes in empty rooms.

When grandma died, the wonderful kitchen aromas were no more; company rarely gathered in the living room; the tub was no longer an adventure; prayers seemed senseless; the laundry room lost its fearful gloom.

Few things remained the same: papa still loved for me to scratch his head, the floor still squeaked, and the woodstove blazed year-round.

Each visit, papa comforted me as best he could by offering my favourite treat — a moon pie and an RC Cola. Still, his love couldn't offset the pain I felt when I passed grandma's room. Though she was no longer there, I still smelled her scent and heard her loving voice.

Eventually, papa joined grandma in heaven. Only that wonderful old house remained.

On the dreaded day of decision, I pulled into the driveway and saw the construction crew waiting. The foreman pointed out how costly remodelling would be, not realizing that the old house was priceless to me. I couldn't accept his logic that it should be demolished and rebuilt.

Exhibiting grandma's stubborn streak, I said, "There must be something you can do to fix it — this place is a big part of my life!"

"Ma'am, the roof is caving in, the floors are rotten, and the walls are buckling. It's no longer safe. Allow us to level it down to the foundation."

My tears started. I couldn't hold onto the past, but feared that destroying my grandparents' home would somehow erase not just memories, but moments in life that moulded me into who I am.

The foreman, a wise, kind man, understood my dilemma and said, "Ma'am, keep what needs to be in your heart, and let the old go. Start with a clean slate."

As painful as it was, with a nod of my head, I surrendered to his advice. "You're right, this old house needs tearing down."

Before he began the wrecking process, the foreman spoke comforting words I shall never forget. "One's past must undergo painful demolition when it causes more harm than good; only then can new construction begin."

My pain was stripped away, realizing that by getting rid of the old I was able to be transformed into a new creation — having a better, more stable structure. In letting the past become a stumbling block to development, I hindered God's construction. By allowing God to become the Foreman of my life, each moment becomes a building block representing my new identity created within.

Prayer: Thank You, Jesus, for helping us to renounce obstacles in our lives that prevent us from becoming the children You created us to be. Dear Lord, please continue to reveal any of the old that obstructs us from being transformed into a new identity — one on and in which You can dwell. In Your name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lisa McDaniel
Oxford, Mississippi, USA

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