As I was looking through some old photos, I came across a picture of a 1966 Buick Le Sabre that is absolutely beautiful to me.  As I looked at the picture, I began to think of all the work that had to be done in order to make it the masterpiece that it is today. 

     All of my life, I have been around men in my family that love to repair and/or restore cars. A lot of people call them “shade tree” mechanics. These men can tear a car apart and put it back together again just like new, sometimes better than new.  I have seen cars towed to the house that are merely just frames. I have also seen cars towed home that are intact, but are so rusty and dented, to me they looked like straight junk. I have spent many days watching them rebuild cars, piece by piece and turn a pile of junk into a treasure. I guess that saying is true, ‘one man’s junk is another man’s treasure’. 

     The things that I noticed during the restoration process of each car was that one had to be patient, detailed, skilled, coordinated, organized and intentional. I would watch them take the time to put the intricate parts together, such as the motor, transmission, radiator, fuel pump, axle, wheel bearings, brakes, carburetor etc., which was cool, but it was the exterior design that I was most attracted to. Let’s be honest the exterior is what’s appealing to the eye, it’s what catches our attention, but the intricate parts are what makes it move. Watching the exterior restoration was the exciting part for me. I loved to watch color schemes, fabrics, accessories, detailing, paint job, wheels, seat covers, dashboard, steering wheel, radio etc. all come together.

     It was fascinating for me to watch them work that welding machine to put metal pieces back together, sparks just flying everywhere. They would put on their protective gear and say, “Tiffiney don’t look this way” or they would ask me to leave the garage. Yes, we weren’t always in the backyard under a shade tree, God upgraded us to a garage in the backyard. Look at God! See the welding machine generates heat that is hot enough to melt metal pieces and join them together.  The helmet and shield used during this process is to protect your vision. I would witness them pulling, pushing, poking and stretching fabric to reupholster the seats, arm rests, headliners or whatever else needed covering. They would often apply pressure, drill holes, sand, prime and paint in areas that were needed.  

     The restoration process made me think about life in general. There are many things that we encounter in life that cause us to have holes in our hearts from hurtful or painful experiences. At various times we are being pushed, pulled, poked and stretched just as the upholstery, and it doesn’t feel good but it’s necessary because we need to be covered. At other times we may experience the heat of the welding machine, but that heat helps us to mend together broken pieces. During this process we just don’t realize that the heat has purpose.  These are the times we need to remember to keep our shield on to protect our God given vision and don’t lose sight of His promises. In this life we can experience pressure from all sides, but we need to learn how to properly release that pressure, because we don’t want the radiator of life to blow up on us and cause unnecessary burns. That may sometimes require us to hit the gas, sit in neutral, park it, reverse some things and sometime just brake.

One of the things that I absolutely love to do is to attend the antique car shows and see those same rusty and dented cars on display for the world to see. It gives me a whole new meaning to have been able to experience and see for myself the patience, attention to detail, skill, labor, money and planning that went into these masterpieces. Not only are they beautiful on the outside but they are well put together and functional under the hood. Have you seen how much these cars are selling for? You would need to have a clear vision and a master plan to pull something like this off. 

 What I am saying in a nutshell is that just because you are not at your best right now does not mean that you will never be again. You just need a little restoration, don’t count yourself out. It won’t happen overnight, it’s a process and we need to trust the process. Looking good on the outside for others when you are broken down, rusty and dented on the inside is pointless. When we are being welded, God is mending those broken pieces, even when we are being stretched, He has us covered. When you are being sanded down and primed, He is preparing you to become the masterpiece He created you to be. Wear your shield to protect the vision God has for you.

I believe if these cars could talk, they would say, “thank God I don’t look like what I’ve been through!” With all the challenges that life has thrown us, we can say the exact same thing. Now take a moment and throw your hands up and say, “thank God I don’t look like what I’ve been through!” God is a Restorer, He is willing and able to make you whole again, if you let Him.