“If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
( 2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
Friend to Friend
Junk. That’s what my family and friends thought of most of my purchases. But to me, they were treasures waiting to be revealed.
When I was in my late teens, I had an unusual fetish for beat-up antique furniture. While most of my friends were at the mall shopping for clothes, I was at estate sales, flea markets, yard sales, and auctions hunting for antiques. Often, when I brought my purchases home, my family would roll their eyes and say, “I can’t believe you paid money for that old piece of junk.” But I never saw my purchases as junk. They just needed a little work…okay, sometimes a lot of work.
At one estate sale I spied a little drop leaf kitchen table with three spindle-back chairs. I could just imagine a sweet little older lady spending many years sitting at that very table drinking her morning coffee or perhaps her afternoon tea. I could almost hear the faint whispers of thousands of conversations from generations past. The set was painted a hospital green, but I saw that it had great potential. Obviously the other bidders didn’t recognize a treasure when they saw one, because ten minutes and $35 later, the set was mine.
I brought the dinette set home, all excited about my great buy, and couldn’t understand why no one else shared my enthusiasm.
“Sharon, do you realize how much time and energy it is going to take to make that old green rickety table look even slightly presentable?” they asked. At that point in my life, I had a lot more time than money, so the time wasn’t a problem.
Refinishing furniture is a dirty, grueling task. First, I stripped off the paint with paint remover and discovered that not only had the table been green, it had also been blue, and before that white. But underneath it all was pure walnut.
The paint remover raised the grain of the wood, so I had to go back and sand it smooth. If the sanding isn’t done well, the finished product will always be a little rough. A few joints were loose from wear and tear, so I glued them back together. Then I applied a warm walnut stain which deepened its color and made the beautiful pattern of the wood grain stand out. Finally, I applied a polyurethane coat to seal and protect the piece.
As I worked I began to think of the old broken table as a symbol of my own life. I was also on the auction block, and God had purchased me with His Son’s precious blood. I had layers and layers of my old self that had to be stripped away to reveal the beauty hidden beneath. This raised my grain, but God sanded me with life experiences and trials to remove the rough edges. He glued my loose joints and mended my broken pieces, for He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Then He put a sealer not only on me but in me—the Holy Spirit—who brought out the beauty of who God created me to be.
After I finished refurbishing the old table and chairs, I sat in the garage thinking about all that God had done in my life. My mom opened the door, looked at the old table, and said, “I never thought something so ugly could turn out to be so beautiful.”
I said, “Amen.”
Where are you in the refinishing process? It’s never really over, this side of heaven. But as we listen to God day by day, He will show us what needs to be stripped off, sanded away, and polished smooth to be all that He has created us to be.
Dear Lord, I was such a mess before You transformed me. Thank You for restoring my soul, renewing my spirit, and redeeming my life to become Your treasured possession…a true work of art.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Have you ever refinished a piece of furniture? If so, consider writing your own story of how the process resembles how God changed you.
Even if you haven’t, make a list of all the old layers of self that God has stripped away from your life so far. (It is amazing how they just keep coming!)
If you want to see the old table I refinished over 30 years ago, log onto www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes and take a peak.
More from the Girlfriends
Do you find yourself longing to hear God’s voice – not as a once-in-a-lifetime experience but on a daily basis? If so, Sharon’s new 15-Minute Devotional book, Listening to God Day-by-Day, will help you do just that. It is an expanded version of the smaller book, Extraordinary Moments with God. In it you will find 100 devotions to help you become a woman who detects God’s still small voice in all of life. This is a warm, fun, tender look at recognizing some of the wonderful and unexpected ways God reaches out to us in the middle of our busy days. And for more on how God refinishes and refines, see Becoming Spiritually Beautiful.