In my spare moments, one of my favorite pastimes is the work of restoring old furniture.
I smile as I write this, because as a mother of 8, spare moments are hard to come by. But occasionally the opportunity does present itself, and I inevitably turn my attention towards my next project piece. There’s something gratifying about helping an old, rundown hunk of junk become an object of priceless beauty, that brings me great pleasure.
My favorite piece to date, is an antique secretary desk that I discovered at a nearby garage sale. It immediately caught my eye, as most worn down, old furniture typically does.
It was late in the afternoon, and I’ll bet that desk had been overlooked by most. Mistaken as worthless junk.
But my eyes saw something different. I saw what could be.
Attempting to contain my excitement, I approached the owner of the desk, hoping that he might not realize the value of the treasure that had caught my eye.
No such luck. He was no fool. He firmly stated his price, and without hesitation, I made my purchase.
Like its owner, I was well aware that although she was shabby and unstable- lacking in grandeur- I too knew what she could become.
As soon as I got my new project home, I inspected her thoroughly. Her legs- missing hardware- were wobbly and unstable. She was marred with deep scratches and warped wood from years of neglect and abuse. Her color, once lustrous, was now faded and dull.
Running my hands along her rough edges, my mind reeled with possibility.
I had my work cut out for me- no doubt- but she was well worth it.
Thoughtfully, I prepped her for the hard work she was about to endure.
I steadied her legs by tightening the screws and bolts- making her strong and sturdy- able to withstand the agitation that would occur during the restoration process.
With a damp rag in hand, I carefully cleansed her from top to bottom, removing the dirt and spilled juice that had left an unsightly stain deep within her grain.
Beginning with paint stripper, I worked to remove her old coat of stain. The process was messy, but oh, the beauty of the bare wood that lied underneath!
Reaching for the palm sander, I removed the lingering residue covering her surface. As the sandpaper made contact with the bare wood, it began to smooth away the rough edges, evicting the scratches and dents from past afflictions. The stain ran deep, but with constant, subtle pressure, it would eventually relent.
Standing bare before me, my mind began to wander. What would this desk say, if it could talk?
Would it scold me for the seeming abuse I had inflicted upon it?
Would it question my devotion to tenderly care for it?
Would it fear that I was stripping it of its character- of all that had marked and defined her?
I smiled as I thought on these things, and I was instantly encouraged to finish the work.
She didn’t know it yet, but I was preparing to make her magnificent!
Gripping the tack cloth in hand, I wiped away the remaining dross and grime.
Now begins the real fun!
With the use of wood putty, I began by filling the cracks and holes, leaving no room for anything foreign to penetrate the deepest parts of her again.
Her surface was smooth and soft. Flawless.
I gave her a fresh coat of stain. Oh, how she came alive!
But before I could declare her finished, it was necessary to seal her with a protective clear coat. This process guaranteed that she would be able to hold up under pressure. There would certainly be those who would fail to see her value, and treat her with carelessness again. This time, however, she would be protected.
As I stood back and admired the transformation, I could not quench the desire to show her off.
I placed her in an area of our house where she would be seen and adored. A place of honor.
What once was dull and worn, and in desperate need of care, was now beautiful beyond all compare.
My thoughts immediately turn to our heavenly Father.
The way He cares for His children is not unlike my work with the desk.
He usually finds us when we are broken and unstable. Mistreated and abandoned. Covered in filth and proudly adorning our scars.
Heartsick, He quickly scoops us up in His arms, determined to rescue us from a life of hopelessness and despair. Without so much as a flinch, He gladly offers to pay the ultimate price; the death of His only son.
For He knows our true worth. It was He who has made us.
Searching us, He perceives our inmost thoughts and deepest wounds, and He gently prepares our hearts to be transformed.
He girds us up by his precious Holy Spirit- under whose wings we find our refuge.
He does not shy away from the hard work that lays ahead. He knows it will take time, and the road will be hard, but He is in the business of making all things new.
Tirelessly, He works to remove the grime and dirt that covers us. The scars are deep and the stains are sure, but His loving hands meticulously work- sanding away at the our hardened hearts.
We question His goodness. His treatment of us. His love.
Tenderly washing away the dross, He smiles.
The painful part is over. Now begins the process of making us new.
Pouring out His Holy Spirit on us, He fills our emptiness with the glory of His love.
Every crevice, filled to overflowing.
We are given a new coat. Gone is the sin and shame that once consumed- replaced by robes of righteousness.
Standing back to look on us, He gleams with pride & adoration. And He declares that it is good.
Beloved, our Heavenly Father desires nothing more than to restore us to Himself. To a life of purpose, beauty and joy. A life that is cleansed from our past sins. A life where our wounds are healed and we are made whole.
Won’t you let Him?
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