Doing New

“Not only were sad things coming untrue, the friends realized, they were becoming new again.”
~The Jesus Storybook Bible

*Last* year's purple hand-me-down coat

Rhema got a brand new turquoise blue coat for Christmas from her grandparents and the timing could not have been better. Her purple coat – handed down from her older cousin two winters ago – has served her well, but now the sleeves are too short.

After Rhema was zipped up in her new coat, I gleefully turned to Hope with the old coat.

“Hope! Now this purple coat belongs to you!”

Hope shook her head and backed away. She had watched her sister wear the coat day after day for years. She was not impressed. I quickly licked my finger and rubbed out a snot smudge near the top button.

“Noooo,” Hope protested. “I wanna just wear my pink coat.”

“But your pink coat is too small for you now.” Then I gasped in horror. “Look! The tags says 3T!!!”

Her face registered the shock. How could she, the big 4 year old, be caught dead or alive wearing something for a lowly 3 year-old??

I grabbed Rhema’s old purple coat with a flourish, ready to show her that this coat was indeed age appropriate. But all the writing on the tag had faded away.

Brandon and I talked up the wonders of the purple coat. We reminded her that purple was her favorite color. We ooohhhed and ahhhed over the cool, furry hood. But the kid was not convinced.

Until Grandma picked up the coat, walked over to a drawer, pulled out a Black permanent marker and wrote a big “4” on the tag.

And just like that the coat became brand spanking new.

Hope shrugged off her 3T outerwear and lovingly adorned her big-girl purple coat.


It’s a new year, a new chapter for us here — this month we move into a new home, we start new jobs. Brandon is home from Iraq – our marriage, our family, new in many ways.

I gave my life to Jesus at the ripe old age of eight. I believed with all my heart, then as I do now, that He has the power to re-make us. To breathe life into dry bones and give beauty for ashes.

He leaves His mark upon us, calls us new creations, and we are.

There are times, though, many times when I feel cloaked in hand-me-down sorrows and failure. The same-old, same-old ho-hum baggage across the shoulders. I’m faded and jaded and stained.

How do we do this, be new in old skin?

On the 16-hour drive to Michigan we passed huge, flat fields of corn and sugar beets that stretched as far as the eye could see. Covered in smooth, white snow, I imagined the land was a never-ending plate of whipped cream. Here and there brown, dead-looking corn stalks kept popping up in my fields of sweet cream. The stubborn corn stalks reminded me of a Promise:

“I’m about to do something brand-new.
   It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?
There it is! I’m making a road through the desert,
   rivers in the badlands.” 
Isaiah 43:19, The Message

On the hard days, when the old sins plague, the husband and I cling to the belief that God is making us new.

And grace teaches us to do new, put it on like a coat.

Anyway, it’s a good start.

It’s an exciting start.

13 thoughts on “Doing New

  1. I needed this. My “coat” is frayed all around the edges and has plenty of “snot marks” on it. I pray that we all have a wonderful year filled with newness. hugs, g

  2. Great post. It reminded me of the time I re-made a teens demin back pack into something cool for a Kindergartner. I embroidered stick children playing on a playground, jumping rope, playing marbles, bouncing balls etc. I made the children look like my girls and their friends with hair color etc. That backpack became a treasure I couldn’t part with.

  3. Oh thank you Jeneil!!! I really needed this today! We didn’t do a vacation ‘camp’ for Jack over Christmas vaca & his transition back to school has made ‘old’ behaviors ‘new’ again! I have to re-learn my old patience for things I thought were in the past. I think of you often and your faith strengthens my own. We may have lost touch physically but we are truly kindred in spirit! Happy New Year!

  4. Your perspectives and your ways of drawing parallels between daily happenings and biblical truths always blow me away. You’re great at this. Your blog belongs in a daily devotional of some form. It would be a great encouragement for any mom raising a child with special needs. Autism by Faith.

  5. Bringing pop-culture references to such a lovely devotional doesn’t seem quite the thing but…

    Grandma’s save-the-day actions reminded me a little bit of the Wizard of Oz, where the Wizard convinces the Scarecrow of his own smarts via a diploma, etc!

  6. Yay for Grandma’s and Permanent markers! 🙂
    Happy New Year…can’t wait to “hear” all the ways He will make all things new for your family this coming year!

  7. Gotta give it to grandma!

    And yes, a toast to all things new! May we grow less content with our old and more willing to cloak ourselves in God’s new. So often we anticipate less, expect less, live with less when all the while God has ready our “more”… an inscription that allows us to grow up as our age moves forward.

    Oh that we would all have the heart of child, willing to move into our new clothes with a new tag of identification!

    Peace to you all as you begin… again.


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