Restoration is not for wimps

I am in love with restoring old furniture that people have discarded as junk.  I remember growing up watching my Mom restore old furniture, and now  I love searching thrift stores for little treasures that other people have thrown out.  No matter how broken down it is, I love to picture what it has the potential to become.  Of course, restoring furniture is time consuming (not to mention nail breaking) work, but the finished product is a brand new piece of art.  It is fascinating to me how you can take something that was seemingly worthless, and create something new, beautiful and useful!

One of the most time consuming components of restoring furniture is removing the old paint, varnish or lacquer that may be covering it.  You can’t just slather on a new paint or stain without first stripping away the old.  Not only will the new color not adhere properly, but the old colors will show through and make the new color look imperfect.  I recently restored an old desk that came with a house we moved into.  I had to apply the paint stripper and scrape at the paint three separate times to get the old finish off.  

As my tired, aching hands worked at scrubbing, scraping and sanding that old desk, I couldn’t help but think about the work that God does in us.  We’re all covered in junk, and life dumps a lot of ugliness our way.  We’re like little kids who just want to keep jumping back in the mud once we’re clean.  But every time, God is willing to cleanse us again and again.  In the same way that every last layer of old lacquer or paint must be stripped away, God patiently works, gently peeling away all the residue that remains of our old lives.  He knows that even the smallest fleck of paint creates one more barrier between us and the work He is envisioning for us!

Once all of our old remnants are removed, God is able to lavishly pour color and beauty into us.  By the time He is finished we can hardly recognize the old sinful, tired person we were, in the shadow of this new stunning masterpiece He has created!  You see, God’s work is so complete that even those who knew us as we were can’t believe the contrast between who we were, and who we are now!  Have you ever run into someone who knew you from “way back when” and they said something along the lines of “Wow!  Something is different about you, I can’t put my finger on it…”? 

God has proven again and again that His promise to restore and repair what has been broken is true!  God is the great restorer!  His work in our lives is never halfway!  He sees the value in broken things, and is willing to put in the time it takes to make them not just useful, but beautiful again.  

Restoration is not for wimps! It is painstaking, heart wrenching and time consuming.  No-one can dictate how long it will take you to heal, nor is there is an “easy way” to heal.  Healing hurts!  It is painful, as God removes parts of you that you maybe weren’t ready to let go of.  True restoration takes sacrifice and courage.  Not man-made courage, that isn’t good enough.  The strength you need to embrace God’s healing can only come from Him!  See how that works, God wants to change us, and He wants to be our strength in the process.  My heart and flesh have failed me countless times, but God has been, and continues to be my strength from day to day.  I have seen God transform me in ways I never dreamed, and in ways that only He can!  An throughout the process, my heart was kept safe as it was being restored by the One who knows it best, its Creator!

The first step towards healing is allowing God in to begin the work.  Will you allow God to transform you in such amazing, intricate detail that you can’t even recognize the former person you were?  My prayer is that you will allow God’s restoring hand to do the work He has set out to complete, knowing that no matter where you start your journey, you will never be alone.  God’s plan for the finished product called (insert your name here), is more glorious than you could ever imagine.  You won’t even recognize yourself!