A Soul Renovation

by Angela Correll March 6, 2024
“Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved.” Matthew 9:17 (ESV)

Dust motes swirl as workers chip away old plaster from the ancient walls of a former horse stable in a tiny, Tuscan, hilltop town.

My husband and I took a wild leap of faith to buy this property in our favorite village, hoping it would serve as a place of rest for ourselves and others. Despite hopes of using it right away, we soon realized we had a full-scale restoration on our tired hands.

The first step to historic renovations is always demolition. We can’t slather new mortar over crumbling plaster, or both will be destroyed.

Jesus spoke to His disciples about the same principle in Matthew 9:17 in answer to a question about fasting. While the Pharisees bound people to the old laws, Jesus offered a new kind of grace-filled relationship with God. He showed this with an illustration comparing old and new wineskins:

“Neither is new wine put into old wineskins. If it is, the skins burst and the wine is spilled and the skins are destroyed. But new wine is put into fresh wineskins, and so both are preserved” (Matthew 9:17).

Wine was stored in wineskins. New wine needed new wineskins, pliable enough to expand as the wine fermented. It wouldn’t work to put new wine in old wineskins — both the wine and container would be destroyed. 

The religion that the Pharisees offered was brittle, like an old wineskin. It would be impossible to mix their old religion with the new relationship Jesus offered.

Standing in that Tuscan horse stable, I reflected on this truth in my own life. The last few years had been a struggle with birthing multiple businesses, juggling family and aging parents, dealing with painful losses, and wrestling with people-pleasing, performance-based tendencies. Rather than trying to force my old life into my new reality, I needed a soul restoration.

As a landmark birthday approached, I planned an improved version of myself, with better boundaries and balance. This would be my year of letting go, of making lasting changes for a new decade. The birthday came and went. Nothing changed. Instead, I slathered on a few more goals, more things to strive for, more ways to be found wanting. It’s no wonder I felt as if I was crumbling inside.

As the old plaster fell to the floor in mounds of debris, I realized why my hopes for change never came to fruition. There must be demolition before lasting restoration can take place. Otherwise, I am continually trying to pour new wine into an old skin. And what is this new wine? Galatians 5:1 says: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (ESV).

This sets me on a journey to get to the very foundation of my heart, where beliefs and behaviors are established, where Jesus wants to free me from the yoke of sin. It takes me back to childhood memories long buried, events that formed false beliefs about God, myself and others.

I invite Christ to reveal the truth, expose my sin and heal my brokenness. I accept the new wineskin He offers, knowing it’s much better than the old wineskin of my past. This process is hard, painful and long. It’s the dirty work of facing memories that form patterns. It involves asking for forgiveness and giving it.

But as difficult as the process is, the joy of restoration is far greater … and so worth it.

Dear Lord, we come to You broken, injured and on a shaky foundation. We invite You to expose the areas of our lives that need demolition and renovation based on Your Truth and grace. Give us courage for the work. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


For more of Angela Correll’s story, grab a copy of Restored in Tuscany: A True Story of Facing Loss, Finding Beauty, and Living Forward in Hope.

And for a free copy of a book club guide with recipes, go to Angela’s website and type in your preorder number from any online retailer.



Connect with Angela on Facebook or Instagram!

Enter to WIN your very own copy of Restored in Tuscany by Angela Correll. To celebrate this book, Angela’s publisher will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We’ll randomly select 5 winners and then notify each one in the comments section by Monday, March 11, 2024.}


John 15:2, “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit” (ESV).

Is there something in your life that you feel needs changing? When you think about that thing, what comes to mind when you imagine tearing off the plaster and getting to the root of the behavior?

© 2024 by Angela Correll. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Harvest House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

Click here to view our policy on third-party links.

What We Believe

If your life feels too overwhelming, click here for our care and counseling resources.

Join the Conversation