So if you guys know me at all, you know that one of my loves is crafting. I dabble in a little bit of every type. I enjoy paper crafts such as card making. I’ve done a little painting. I especially enjoy sewing. And although it’s more difficult for me, I also really enjoy wood working.
I don’t know how or when it started but at some point my crafting became mostly about turning old stuff into new stuff. This requires a little more patience and ingenuity but it’s so worth it. I love the patina and the character in the old stuff. Every antique or vintage item has a story. Some have been passed down and treasured through generations but sadly many have been long forgotten and discarded. Those are the ones I love the most!
It’s popularly known as upcycling; a type of creative recycling whereby one transforms by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
It’s different from recycling where things like plastic or glass are simple shredded or mashed up, melted down and used to make something totally different. Recycling is melting plastic milk jugs, drink containers and plastic bags and making them into plastic park benches. Upcycling is taking a pair of jeans you adored, that have been ripped in the nether region, and turning it into an apron embellished with scraps of lace, a few discarded buttons and stitching it together with love. It’s still loved, it just serves a new purpose.
I’ve used wood lath pieces reclaimed from the old plaster and lath walls to make picture frames, vegetable plant markers for the garden and fun signs. I’ve used windows salvaged from 19th century houses to make dry erase message centers for the kitchen. Many of the items I work with are discarded items that had outlived the usefulness of their original purpose.
It wasn’t until a few years ago that someone (probably a marketing person) put a name to this type of craft but I am sure people have been doing this type of recycling for a lot longer.
And my friends, I am convinced that God does this type of crafting too! In us.
The Lord does not cast us aside or discard us when we seem unwanted or useless by others’ standards. He finds a way to transform us into something new and of better quality. When we face adversity; when we are being stretched to our limits; these are times when He is upcycling us. God is using these times to paint us with empathy, sympathy, kindness and compassion for others. He embellishes us with gratefulness, humility and thankfulness. He stitches us back together with grace and His everlasting love. In doing this, we are made new, of better quality and of higher value to those around us.
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
God is The Original Master Craftsman! He knows what He is doing with us and for us. After all He did create the universe and all that lies within it.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
My hope is that after reading this you might look at old things around you a bit differently. The next time you are about to throw something away, think about how it could be used in a new way. Could you put some TLC into it and make it useful again? How about your relationship with a neighbor, coworker, friend or even your spouse? Could they use some of your compassion and grace to be renewed? You just might revitalize a treasure.