“Necessity… the mother of invention.” I think this was first a quote from Plato, but many have since used its wisdom. I am one of those many. Being the wife of a minister, part time nurse, and full time mom of four has not afforded me all the resources I have sometimes needed. On occasion, I have had to get creative. I once gave myself a perm. That was interesting. I have hung and finished sheetrock with my husband. Also interesting. I have completely re-landscaped my yard (also with my husband), learned to sew curtains, and made all manner of Halloween costumes- to name a few DIY projects.
My latest endeavor has been furniture refinishing. My sons were in need of new dressers for their bedroom. Early on, we bought them both matching chests that they have long since outgrown. As I began shopping for new ones, I quickly learned that buying new was not going to be an option. So I shifted my shopping to local thrift stores.
I knew finding matching chests at a thrift store was going to be a long shot, but I looked anyway. I didn’t have to look long before I found it. Way back in the back of one of my favorite thrift stores stood one of the ugliest chest of drawers I had ever seen. It was big though, big enough for my two teenage boys to share. It was sturdy, but someone had taken to it with a red paintbrush, and the result was anything but lovely.
Several of the drawers were off their tracks and one would not close at all. Still, the twenty-five dollar price tag had me hooked. I looked at the chest from all angles, and saw this piece had real potential. It just needed to be refinished. Only, I had never refinished a piece of furniture before. Having never let this issue stop me previously, I called my dad to see if he would help me with the mechanics of the drawers (he would), called my husband to get his opinion, (he said, “Go for it”) and then decided to pay for it and load it up in the van.
I spent a lot of time researching just how to best go about turning the twenty-five dollar eyesore I had just bought into a priceless treasure. My next stop was to the local Home Depot to buy my supplies. I must have looked like a total novice to the store employee. He kept cautioning me on the caustic nature of the paint stripper I was buying. He finally asked me, “Ma’am, have you ever done this before?” I told him, ”No.” To which he said, “Oh my.” Still undaunted (Ignorance is indeed bliss), I carried my supplies home, eager to get started.
It was a few days before I was actually able to begin. Carefully following the instructions on the paint stripper can, I began. First, I applied a generous amount of the stripper to a drawer front, waited the designated fifteen minutes, and then using my special tool, I began scraping the paint off the drawer. It was exciting. It was hard.
And just FYI- paint stripper burns human skin.
There was more than one layer of paint to get off. I had to repeat the process a couple of times before I got down to the wood, but the result was amazing. I did the same thing to six more drawers that afternoon. It was hard, painstaking work, but the result was well worth it. I have four drawers and the cabinet itself to go, but I am really looking forward to getting the rest of that old gunk off. The more old paint I get off, the more I can see just how great this piece is going to be.
This is what happens when we turn our lives over to Jesus. Maybe we’ve been tossed away like thrift store fodder, but He still sees the value in us. The world may slap a cheap price tag on us, but He sees us as priceless. As only He can, Jesus will then take us and gently began to strip away all the gunk we’ve picked up along our way. He is gentle, but it can be painful still. Old ideas and opinions are gone. Old habits are stripped away. Until, little by little, something beautiful emerges. Just because the old muck is gone doesn’t mean He’s done. Oh no. It’s then that the artistry of the Savior begins.
I know this is true. He’s done it for me. And He’s not done yet either. One day soon, I’ll finish this chest of drawers, and It will be ready to serve out it’s purpose for my boys. But as long as I live, and as long as I’m willing, Jesus will continue to work in my life and make me all that I can be. Stripping away that which doesn’t belong and adding back those things that make me more like Him, so that I can be His masterpiece.
Jesus is in the people refinishing business.
The Skit Guys probably say it best: