God’s transformative restoration

Michelle Tennens

Tales from the potting shed of restoration by Donna Walker

The figure ‘27%’ sat boldly in the right-hand corner of my school report, in the teacher’s flamboyant squirrely handwriting – from the one teacher who actually tried to help me. This was my English literacy examination result in my 3rd year of secondary school. The other grades were more or less the same. “Donna’s exam results do not reflect all the hard work she has put into the subject”, my English teacher commented. Her feedback was the kindest of them all.

I can now recognise that God had a restoration plan in place for me and know that he also has a restoration plan for each and every one of us who experiences difficulty, challenge and change in our lives.

One of the definitions of restore is ‘to bring back something or someone to an earlier and better condition.’ I chose the name Restore for our creative day retreat as I have known and experienced God’s restoration love and power through creativity. I must hasten to add, creativity is not just through art and crafts; it can be experienced through a myriad of mediums such as music, running a business, education. I have learnt that to experience Restoration it is important to have time, rest and space away from our usual routines to connect with God. During the most challenging times in my life, my close friend would take me on a country walk where we would walk, talk and pray about the difficulties I was facing. Restore also provides these opportunities.

I’m told by most people who come to Restore that the thing they most value is the opportunity for quietness with God. Which we can provide space for, as well as making new friends and perhaps learning a new skill in making something. This is all underpinned by our great team making sure everyone is listened to.

My Restoration story really began when I gave my life to God at the age of fourteen, nearly forty years ago. Since then, God has restored so many things in my life. I began by telling you the story of my dreadful exam results as a fourteen-year-old.  In the chapters written after that, I’m happy to tell you that I returned to education as a mature student and after changing degree programmes achieved a 2:1 in Development Studies at the University of Sussex; the leading university in Global Studies.

The amazing thing about restoration is that it leads to transformation. At Restore, scraps of fabric can be transformed into a beautiful useful piece

The scraps in the picture at the start were from a discontinued upholstery sample book bought for a few pence, I made this cushion from them. A gift to very dear friend of mine. I believe that God’s intention is to restore us to the people he intended us to be as life can bend us out of shape or leave us feeling rudderless; he can transform our life experience and make us anew.