Healing Hands of Restoration

By Devin Swank, Partnership Coordinator

For many, May 20, 2013 was a horrifying day here in Moore, Oklahoma. An F5 tornado ripped through tornado alley leaving structures in shambles and residents to pick up the pieces. Many home owners came back to homes in disrepair and in need of complete renovation. As Next Step arrived the following summer, we quickly met homeowners that slipped through the crack of receiving aid and relief for their homes. That’s when we met Judy.

Judy had been living in California during the time of the storm but moved back to Oklahoma to find her childhood home in pieces. She had no job and no means to renovate an entire home by herself. Next Step saw this as a perfect opportunity to lend a hand. We started with the roof then moved down to the walls, did work outside and inside, and finished with a fence and a shed. Projects that provided work for hundreds of students and leaders over the course of three years, provided so much more than we can ever know for Judy. She would repeat her gratitude again and again for every person who laid a hand on her home. However that’s not where the story ends.

Judy has a loving, hospitable character that makes anyone she meets a part of her family. She calls the Next Step staff her crazy kids for going out of our way to help her, but we would be crazy if we didn’t help such an amazing women. At the end of every week Judy had the kids leave a handprint behind as way to remember them. Whether it was in concrete on her new sidewalk, or in paint around the top of kitchen cabinets, Judy will be able to see all the hands that helped in her recovery. Judy has shown me that through trials and destruction there is always restoration. Restoration can come in many ways and can serve as an awesome reminder as did the handprints in Judy’s home.

This led me to think of all the times when life gets destructive. When we get frightened or scared, are we realizing the restoration that is happening? Probably not, but it’s awesome to rest in the fact that the Lord is restoring us to become new. How different would our lives look if we had constant reminders of the restoration that was taking place in our lives? The words of 2 Corinthians 13:11 says this “Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.” With all the distractions of this life it’s easy to lose sight of what God is restoring us to be, but with one another we can strive for full restoration and remind one another of the power of Gods healing hands.