To Reclaim Is To Create



Reclaim: From the Middle English reclamen, to call back

Some days I feel like old barn wood.

Solid, yet slightly bowed in the middle …

Curved in places that were once straight and narrow …

Brown locks fading to gray.

It’s heavy enough to truly recognize that I’m growing older but the image of a barn slanting westward on the roadside feels weightier. It reminds me that I am mortal.

So when I found out at forty that I was pregnant for the third time, that weathered tilt that lurks in my lower back sighed ever so slightly. This body-house of mine felt every bit its age.

And just as I might question the wisdom of, once again, using a vintage barn that has stood empty for years, I leaned into the Holy Spirit, whispering questions and what-ifs by the handful.

“Is this a good idea?” I murmured, more than once.

But in the way of God, there is no waste, no throwaways, no over wrought.

God is in the business of reclaiming our spent goods and worn-out offerings and then fashioning them into new shapes.

God welcomes the opportunity to call out beauty that is hidden behind splinters and weathered knots.

For these old boards are not done yet.

The sunlight of twoscore seasons of four has faded their color, yes, but it has also left stories in its wake. Stories hidden in tree-cast shadows and ivy tendrils or stories hewn from summer’s blazing heat, as well as the gentle beam of winter’s smile.

There have been storms that have blown through the cracks, cold and bitter, whistling through the weak spots and whipping around rough corners. Rain has fallen on them enough times to carve out silken valleys in the wavy grain of the wood.

And within the frames that have held this whole structure together, there has been laughter.

But all of this exposure has served a purpose: weathered boards are stronger, they are rich in history, and they are beautiful because of, and not in spite of, their steadfast standing.

So God and I? We are creating something together these days. We’re taking what has been and what once was and we’re fashioning all of that into what will be. For things that lean must also depend and my slanted walk simply gives away my dependence on something bigger and stronger than I.

My weathered form is the perfect medium for a new kind of art—the art of reclaiming beauty that has always been.

Holly Grantham
Holly is a wife, very relaxed homeschooling mom of three boys, snapper of photos, coming of age writer and a soul drowning in grace. After years in Atlanta where she attended college, married the love of her life and lived in an intentional community, she found her way back to her home state of Missouri. She now lives in an antebellum stone house, raises chickens (sometimes) and pretends that she lives in the country.
Holly Grantham

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Holly Grantham
  • What a wonderful metaphor. You write beautifully Holly…I am savouring the images and the words themselves.

    • Holly

      Thank you, Susan. Perhaps we can all identify with growing older. It is the beauty part that is harder to embrace, is it not?

  • oddznns

    What a lovely piece Holly. And how much trust you have. It will all go well, whatever transpires. In his will, we give it all up to him.

    • Holly

      Thank you. I will walk, along with you, into God’s hopes and dreams.

  • Amy Hunt

    YES!!!! And, amen! He uses all for purpose. Thinking on how he reclaims today. Celebrating His surprise gift in your story.

    • Holly

      Surprise is right, Amy! Grateful for your shared joy, friend.

  • oh, to grasp the glory of kinds of beauty that are “because of, not in spite of”. indeed, that is reclamation.
    a humble, holy gasp at this piece, Holly. truly well done.

    • Holly

      Your words mean so much, always. And that “because of, not in spite of” part? I’m learning that new every day.

  • “For these old boards are not done yet”


    • Holly

      Can you identify? That there is still so much that God wants to do in our lives?

    • I agree!!

      • Holly


  • cjdeboer

    Such beautiful writing Holly 🙂 I’m so excited for you during this new season in your life and I know God has wonderful things in store for you as you lean on Him. xo

    • Holly

      Oh thank you, Claire. I, too, am excited. Each time I feel this baby kick (and he kicks a LOT) I am reminded of the quickening that God wants to do in my own life..of the places and things that are still in store for me. Grateful to have you alongside for the journey, friend.

  • Shelly Miller

    This line got me, it’s so beautiful I went back to it: Rain has fallen on them enough times to carve out silken valleys in the wavy grain of the wood.

    It describes reclaiming beauty in such a profound way. Love the way you write friend.

    • Holly


      Thank you, friend. Just like driftwood becomes worn and even, so, too, is God making some of my rough places smooth.

  • Such a beautiful metaphor, Holly! I love your writing …

    • Holly

      Thank you, Idelette. What a wonderful theme for SheLoves–Reclaim. Because aren’t we all longing to hear the call that speaks to the deepest part of our hearts?

  • Karen

    You’ve been so much in my thoughts these last few days my sister! Good to hear the barn is not only still standing, but is beautiful. As is your writing! Thank you once again xxx

    • Holly

      Thank you, Karen, for remembering me. We barn-folk need to stick together, no?

  • Megan Gahan

    Holly, this is such a stunning post and beautiful self-portrait. I wish I had some profound compliment but everything I tried to write paled in comparison to your words! Thank you for this. Much love

    • Holly

      Thank you so very much, Megan. Your words are so very kind.

  • In a stage of my life where worn out and falling down feel like a permanent state of being, it is so helpful and hope-filling to be reminded that I can be reclaimed. Thank you!

    • Holly

      Oh Rachel, yes, you can and will be reclaimed. Do you hear that voice, calling you now?
      Oh how it longs to sing over you. May you be filled with hope and peace this day, friend.

  • Oh Hols. You leave me breathless.

    You pretty much had me at:

    “Some days I feel like old barn wood.
    Solid, yet slightly bowed in the middle …
    Curved in places that were once straight and narrow …
    Brown locks fading to gray.”

    Stunning imagery. Stunning parallel.

    Also, I didn’t know that “reclaim” is from Middle English reclamen, to call back. Hmmm. I love that. I can’t help but think that sisterhood is a pretty crucial piece of the calling back.

    Our sisters “call back (out)” our virtue and sing praises over our “solid, yet slightly bowed in the middle” selves when we don’t/can’t.

    If we lived closer I’d give you a foot rub and serve you a cup of your favourite tea.

    Love you friend,

    • Holly

      Oh, to live closer to you, my friend! And YES, that calling back and out and around is so much of what this community does for me and other women. Truly a sisterhood that harkens unto us in order for us to discover our truest selves.

      And about that foot rub….


      • Teehee. Hey! If a foot rub is what it takes to get you to Vancouver…!

  • pastordt

    And we wait with you for ‘what will be.’ Lovely, Holly. Thank you.