All Things New
Words by Henry Miller & Music by Catherine Miller
My soul is filled with scars
We wrote this in 2014 as a way of processing the news that our friend and mentor, Ed Hague, had terminal cancer and our feelings about the death of Gordon Folkert, who would have been our son Isaac’s age.
Ed married us in 2008 and spent a lot of time ministering to us. His body succumbed to cancer in 2015 and we were able to share this hymn with him before he died. We had been in a writing slump for years and I sat down at the piano and started working on a melody, and Henry started working on a text to match the tune. The tune has gone through a few minor edits over the years, but this is how I’m presenting it today.
The hymn comes to me when I am sad and in grief over the loss of people I have cared about. Most recently, the last line came again to memory as I processed the death of my in-law’s neighbor, Ray. Ray was so kind to us when we lived with my in-laws. One time he came to my rescue because I literally didn’t have the strength to move a car seat and he came over and rescued me; he did have the strength, and while I can’t remember if I was installing it or taking it out, I do remember that he fixed it. We had him over for supper in the past. He was so funny: he didn’t like vegetables, and yet was a veggie gardener. He just liked growing them. I think he ate the lettuce and cucumbers and tomatoes; just the few veggies he would eat, and a lot of things he would just give away to people. He just enjoyed growing things.The line that came to me was this one, talking about heaven: “and there shall be no more pain, no more death, no fear; for with my own hand, I will dry your tears. My Kingdom, at last, shall be home for you! I’m making all things new, I will make all things new.”
The annotated lyrics above include scripture references that were our inspiration.
by Carol Kelso
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
by Judith Barrett
How to make a mosaic? Here are the instructions: “Select an item: a tile, plate, or glass. Smash with a hammer. Be sure to use eye protection.”
Note the instructions don’t say to pick a worthless, already broken item; instead, select a favorite tile or plate then break it. Smash it, actually, and create a work of art.
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
Psalm 51: 17
Parts of me are shattered. I broke some myself through recklessness, and people and circumstances broke other pieces. I don’t have any use for them, and they are a burden to care for, but they are parts of me that I’m not quite ready to throw away. I hold them tightly even though they make my hands bleed, and sorrow and guilt make them heavy.
Jesus holds out his hands. “Give them to me.” Despite my doubts and wavering trust, I open my hands, and He takes them and even picks out the shards that have splintered into my skin.
“That too.” He points to the only part of my soul that is whole. That one last piece that I’ve guarded from myself and everyone else. The one part that I’m proud of.
“But you have all those other pieces. Use them. This one doesn’t have any cracks.” I rubbed my fingers across the mostly smooth surface. “Well, only a few cracks, but it’s my favorite.”
Jesus sets the other pieces aside, holds his hands out for the beautiful, whole piece of my soul, and smiles. “Mine too. I need that one.”
As I gaze at Him, I’m comforted and offer my whole self.
I’m shocked when he smashes it with His love and watch in awe as He fits the shards into the breathtaking mosaic in front of me.
“No one else could fill those slots,” He says as we admire all the pieces snuggled together—all the shards
of broken lives crafted into a perfect work of art by Him.
This is based on a blog I posted in 2009. When times are tough, I’ve comforted by the thought that God uses even our broken pieces.PHOTO CREDIT: Depositphotos (Stock Photo Mosaic Fish)
Restored by Water
by Deane Norwood
These are two photos taken on the same day showing my hydrangea bush before and after a summer rain. The rains refreshed and restored the bush to new life. This reminded me that when we come to Jesus, he promises us LIVING WATER flowing from within us and we are restored to new life as his Holy Spirit empowers us each day.“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” John 7:37-39
by Sharon Cernogorsky
“I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”
by Angela Jones
About a year ago, I realized that I was very worn out—emotionally, physically, spiritually. As I was praying through the exhaustion, the Lord showed me that I was not taking advantage of the gift of Sabbath. For most of my life I equated Sabbath and my day off. It was a day to avoid income-producing activities and it was a day to catch up on laundry, house projects, or other things I didn’t get to during the week. My “Sabbath” quickly filled with work every week.
As I’ve learned more about Sabbath, I have realized that it is a weekly opportunity to live into the promises of Psalm 23:1-3 (ESV):
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
My Sabbath day has now become a day that the Lord uses to RESTORE my soul. That restoration work is found in prayer, worship, rest, and play. On my Sabbath you can find me delighting in my girls’ joyful screams as they run through the sprinkler, reading a captivating book, baking bread or a special dessert, playing worship music, napping, praying, reading scripture, fasting from social media, and ending the day with a date night with Josh. All of these things help RESTORE my soul and RESTORE my focus on the Lord and His leading and guiding as my shepherd. I am led to green pastures and still waters on my Sabbath day, my soul restored, my feet returned to paths of righteousness for His name’s sake, and I’m so thankful.
When I think of the word RESTORE, I now think of the Sabbath, but it hasn’t always been that way. With this reflection, I wanted to encourage others to discover the rest(oration) that God provides for us if we’ll just take advantage of it.
by Melanie Johnson
It was almost exactly one year ago to the day that I realized my hair had begun to fall out due to the side effects of cancer chemotherapy. It was very strange to look into the mirror and realize that the bald-headed person looking back was me, but I eventually became accustomed to it.
On the morning that I woke up to discover fistfuls of my hair effortlessly falling out, I wept for what I was losing. But through those tears I also began to pray—and asked my friends to join me in my prayer—that if God saw fit to give me hair again, that it would come back curly. And He did! And it has!
Nowadays when I look in the mirror it’s equally strange to see myself with curls, but it’s also a constant reminder of God’s goodness: how he restores lost things and how very, VERY much he cares for the deep—and sometimes relatively insignificant—desires of His children.
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad.
Restored to Restore
by Langdon & Maggie Flowers
“The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.” Isaiah 58:11-12 (NIV)
After a season of loss, the fledgling Trinity church was looking for a home and place to grow. When this broken-down building in the center of town became available, it first seemed a little crazy. Pondering these words of Isaiah though and reflecting on the way God takes all of us with our wounds and broken places and turns them into something beautiful…what once seemed crazy has become a place of grace.