My church, Northstar Church, graciously extended an invitation for New Hope Girls to have a dedicated spot in the entry way in which we can share about our organization and give people an opportunity to support. As I thought about designing an experience that helps people feel invited into our work, I knew that buying brand new items just wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted to feel the process and work that went into preparing for the beautiful space.
My first stop was the Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I went by not really sure what I was looking for but certain there was a gem waiting for me. The space required a narrow fixture and I knew it would take a creative solution. I found a self-standing white hutch that was in rough shape but nothing a little bit of elbow grease and paint couldn’t fix. It also had a cork board backing that just wouldn’t do – but I felt certain I could cover it with something interesting and help it glow-up.
On to Lowes I went. And there I found vinyl peel + stick tile in the clearance section. It looked like slate, which helped match the feel of the church lobby. My husband then encouraged me to buy a stronger adhesive to help it stick for the long – haul. You see, transformation work requires the input and support of others.
A Labor of Love
Next, began the process of cleaning it, removing shelves, putting wood putty in holes, and painting it. I tried white spray paint initially and that was an epic fail. I checked in with Adam and suggested to him that it was good enough. He held me accountable to not settling and figuring out a better solution – roll on paint. He was right (yes, I said it) and it looks so beautiful now!
Then, Adam applied the tile backing to complete it. The unit cost me $20.00 and the tile cost me $3.00. The putty and glue might have been another $10.00. We did things in a clever way to create a custom solution that you simply cannot buy.
I also went on a treasure hunt at the local thrift store, which is entirely run by local volunteers. There, I found interesting woven baskets that provided a texture contrast to the clean, sleek fixture I had upcycled. In the process, I learned more about how our local community is serving others and met a host of selfless volunteers who run the MCEAP thrift stores.
At times I wondered – why didn’t I just buy a new fixture and save myself all this time. I felt it might have been foolish to pour into something that clearly required a lot of energy to restore. After all, they say time is money. I spent time bouncing from thrift store to Lowes and in my garage cleaning and restoring. But here’s what I know:But as soon as I thought those thoughts I realized there was a deeper and more powerful realization washing over me.
Had I bought the fixture and all the accessories brand new and shiny, I would have missed the opportunity to experience the work of transformation. I would have missed the opportunity to sit back with a smile and realize that someone’s trash had become my treasure. Through the process I worked collaboratively with my husband and it became ours – not just mine. Had I ordered brand new off of Amazon I would have not enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about the good in my local community. It also felt good to do something hands-on in preparation for something significant. The work of transformation is work that is laced with care and intention.
On the Journey of Transformation
This experience got me thinking about the work of internal transformation. Of healing journeys. Of change that matters.
When we choose to walk with others in healing and hope it is a process. Stepping into the beauty of that process and choosing to see value in the journey – not some shiny destination – it is immensely valuable. It honors the work-in-progress that we all are. It invites teamwork, support, and personal growth for all involved. Deeper learning is achieved.
Investing in the transformation journey invites richness and beauty that can’t be bought with shortcuts. It is hands on, messy, and challenging work that yields beauty beyond our wildest dreams.
I wonder if you are willing to put in that work today? Not with a hutch or piece of furniture or repurposed baskets but with a fellow human. Are you willing to journey through the bumps, scratches, and messes to see what might be possible on the other side? Will you avoid the temptation to lean into shortcuts and commit to the marathon that true heart-work requires?
I feel certain that if you are willing to hold space for the work of transformation in the lives of others you will find a return on your investment that is far more lucrative than any amount of earthly currency can provide. You will find the soul-satisfying ROI that comes form making a lasting – and maybe even eternal – impact.
PS: My church created a video of me sharing about the work of New Hope Girls. No doubt you have heard me talk about our organization A LOT but I invite you to watch this 2 minute video and learn something new!