Just the other day I was giving my car some much-needed attention by way of a good cleaning – inside and out. I could not remember the last time my poor Mazda had been washed and the impressive collection of straw wrappers and Gatorade bottles were a testament to how long it had been since the inside had been cleaned. After a couple of hours spent working on making my car look respectable again, I was finished. As I stood back and admired my work I said to myself (yes, sometimes there is no one else to talk to) “Just like new…” But it wasn’t really just like new…it didn’t have that new car smell, and no matter how many different ways I tried, I could not reach those two french fries that had fallen between the seat and the center console! As hard as I had tried, I still could not make it “just like new.” It will never be new again. It has on it 40k+ miles of ballgames, trips to work, and running errands. This really made me start thinking about what it really means to be made new – as a person. I believe that in God – through His son – I have been made new. But I still carry with me all of the experiences that have shaped me throughout my life. I do not have to carry the burden of my sins, the regrets of the past, or the shame of my shortcomings…but I am still who I am because of the journey that I have traveled…because of my “miles.” God has me on MY path so that I can each day become made new in HIm and live the life He has planned for me. Jesus died for me – unworthy and broken me – so that I can live a new life. We are told in Romans 6:4 “For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.” I thank God for not only the chance to live a new life through His son, but I also thank Him for the lessons I have learned along the way. I thank Him for the blessings that sometimes came through pain and sorrow. I thank God for the people who have touched my life along the way. All of the days that came before this have shaped this new life that I get to live! But most of all, I thank God for the love that only a father could have for His children…a love that makes me just like new.