We’ve had a dining room table and chairs made out of light oak for many years.
Long enough that Debbie, at one point in time, thought it appropriate to carve her name in it.
The surface was gouged, stained with drops of paint and marker, discolored where hot dishes sat trivetless. Like a topographical map of the aging of our children.
Several of my daughters, bitten badly by the DIY bug, afflicted deeply by the Pinterest Plague, thought it would look great if we restored the set. Strip it, sand it, stain it, paint it. A total makeover.
So I came back from a day-long meeting and found that they’d been redoing. And my light oak chairs were all white.
Not what I was expecting.
We’d talked about staining. Darker. A little white here and there. Maybe.
Seeing them all white took me by surprise.
I’m told my facial expression, as well as my words, weren’t very accepting. I keep telling them I’m a verbal processor. They tell me I need to tidy up my verbal style.
What really elevated my verbal skills was my little oak side table.
They’d allowed my granddaughter, four-year-old Isley, to help paint it. Red.
Everyone had been painting. She felt left out.
I understand feeling left out. I frankly wasn’t thrilled that this was their mode of making all things equal.
So much for tolerance.
This has been quite a process. I’d helped sand down the chairs, and John and I worked on the table. When the top was stained (yes, darker) there were spots that were rougher than others. Places we’d sanded a bit more industriously. The gouges. The carved name. Stubborn stains. All of which went deeper than the surface.
It’ll look great when the polyurethane is on it. More of the roughness will be covered. The darker spots will add interest.
My life is a piece of furniture that needs restoration. I’ve got gouges and stains that have gone deep into my soul. Those times when I’ve really blown it. Made significantly bad choices. Those times have left their scars on me.
God works to smooth out those rough areas. His discipline causes me to deal with those difficult challenges. To correct the brokenness that’s me. That often feels like painful sanding.
“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when He corrects you. For the Lord corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.” Proverbs 3:11-12
God knows how much better I could be than I am. He’s also aware of my rough places and doesn’t condemn me for them. He wants to redeem them.
My family worked hard to create a new look for our home with our old things. The truth is, I’m liking the new look. If I say that too enthusiastically, they’ll think anything goes. I do, however, freely admit that they knew better.
God is in the process of restoring me. Making me better. It’s often harsh, yes. But He’s taking the old me and making something new.
That’s a look I can get excited about.
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