October 10th was a glorious and beautiful fall day in our beloved state of Texas. It also meant that 800 people gathered in Waco, Texas to remember the past, look forward and celebrate 125 years of Methodist Children’s Home.
This celebration also meant there would be key note speakers. Waco residents Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV Fixer Upper fame would fill that role. A ballroom full of people who also purchased tickets had an opportunity for Q&A’s with Chip and Joanna (heck yes, I was one!). The Gaines’ shared how they met and their life before HGTV. Here were some of the answers and my observations:
- They are just as they are on TV.
- Chip really does worry about his hair.
- Their faith and love of Christ is obvious.
- They compliment each other. Chip is the risk taker. Joanna is the structure that keeps Chip grounded. Together they have a great personal and professional relationship.
- They are so well grounded during this busy season in their life. They talked about their commitment to each other and their family no matter what.
- Balance. They spoke about how crazy their life is right now. There is no balance and yet that is OK because God is providing them the capacity to get through it.
- Joanna’s favorite neutral paint color: Sherwin Williams Silver Strand
- Joanna’s favorite gray: Sherwin Williams Mindful gray
There was one question/answer that really spoke to me: Why is Fixer Upper so popular with viewers? Joanna’s response was that yes, Chip is funny, and yes, people like her design. But she felt what really resonates with people is the concept of restoration and transformation. We as humans long to be restored and transformed. So the Gaines’ take the abused, forsaken, dilapidated, ignored, deserted homes and every week we watch her and Chip with love and grace transform and restore. And I believe she is right. Much like the homes on their show, we also have hearts that are broken, abused, and forsaken that desperately seek restoration and transformation. But instead of Chip and JoJo rebuilding a house, it is Christ that rebuilds our heart and restores us and transforms us. She also stated several times throughout the Q&A that there is tremendous beauty in the mess if you will look for it. There is beauty in the mess……beauty in the mess if you look for it.
After the Q&A, we got to take pictures with Chip and Jojo and then headed to the large white tent with 800 seats to have BBQ and the planned program on a gorgeous fall day.
Joanna was the keynote speaker for lunch. She is a terrific public speaker! It’s a casual style but honest, passionate and transparent. Chip sat nearby and was ready to take the microphone if she was not able to carry out her duty (Chip’s humor!). Again, during her keynote, God used her to speak to my heart. Once again, she spoke about there is beauty in the mess. How true that is! It doesn’t matter if it is a house or our lives……there is beauty in the mess. She then likened that to what MCH does. She then directed some of her thoughts to current students and MCH alumni that were in attendance. She encouraged them that their personal story is extraordinary and because of that, they have experienced the grace and love of Christ in a way many of us will never know. She encouraged us to take our life stories of the beauty that came from the mess and share it with the world!
She ended her message with James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” (emphasis added) She thanked MCH for caring for Waco’s children and being the hands and feet of Christ.
I was also moved by the personal testimony of the MCH alumni association president, Dan Moore, class of 1991. He spoke of his personal conditions that brought him to MCH and how MCH had changed his life….again a message of restoration and transformation. He is who he is today, because of the ministry of MCH.
Congratulations to MCH on your 125 years! It was a wonderful day celebrating a tremendous legacy and praising God for the blessings He has bestowed upon your organization.
In closing, yes, there is beauty in the mess…….if you look for it…… and if you let the One, Christ, restore and transform it and share it with the world. Amen.