Finding Something Beautiful
Posted September 22, 2011
... renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Redoing small pieces of furniture and painting things is something I enjoy doing. One of my favorite things to do is go to yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets to find old furniture, shelves, or other small things to clean up, fix, paint, or do whatever I can to improve on them.
To tell you the truth, most of my greatest finds are those things that are in the worst shape or are the dirtiest to clean up. Sometimes the best are even those things I’ve dug down in the bottom of an old box for.
I was reading through one of my decorating magazines recently and there was an article about a couple who enjoys refinishing and refurbishing their thrift store finds. I definitely could relate. As I read through that article, the word "renew" stuck out to me and it made me think of the verse that says,
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
There are so many different ways to make my thrift store finds into treasures. Sometimes I paint, add to, or take away. Sometimes I repurpose as well. Think about how God finds us right where we are, makes us over, and gives us a fresh lease on life.
The items I end up buying at thrift stores or yard sales all have one thing in common. They all need cleaned up. I don’t care whether they look really dirty or not. I take the time to clean them all because there’s always that dirt you don’t see and you never know where things came from or how they were used, so I always clean up whatever it is I find.
Also, if I’m going to paint it, all the dirt has to be off first. Clean up is the first step in making it beautiful.
That’s what Christ does to us first too. When we accept Him as our personal Savior, He washes us whiter than snow.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus 3:5
That cleansing has to be done in order for the Lord to be able to use us for His glory.
Removing Paint or Varnish
I know when I collect old furniture or home decor to paint or stain, some of those pieces have a coating of varnish or paint on them. Some have several old coats and that need to be removed first before anything else can be done.
Before I can remove it, sometimes I may even have to get out some tools and do a little scrapping so all those loose flecks of paint come off before I apply the remover.
Removing old paint or varnish is kind of a harsh process. Ever use paint stripper? It stinks and is full of chemicals. To apply it, you have to be very careful to put on just the right amount and not to leave it on too long so it doesn’t ruin the wood.
Sometimes we have things in our lives that we need to be stripped of too. It’s a wonderful thing to have our sins washed away when we accept Christ, but we are still human and remain in our fleshly bodies so we are still capable of sinning.
That old man will try to rear his ugly head. When we are saved, we don’t just automatically stop sinning. We have to allow the Lord to work in us and strip away those things from our lives that aren’t giving glory to God.
I know sometimes some of us feel like the Lord has put on a little too much paint remover for us to handle, left us soaking too long in some harsh times, or poked around with a scrapper a little too much, but the Lord is the Master at crafting us and knows exactly what we need in order for our beauty to shine through.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
For many of my projects, I have to dig out some sand paper or even my electric sander. Those thrift finds come with all types of flaws and bumps that need to be sanded down to make them smooth. For some, it’s fine sandpaper and for others I have to bring out the heavy gage stuff.
Do you ever feel like the Lord is using some type of sandpaper on you? I know I go through spells like that. I often wonder why in the world am I in a certain situation. I begin feeling that friction. Sanding is not a pleasant process for the wood itself, but when the job is done and the wood is so smooth and beautiful; it is worth it.
I’m so glad that the Lord uses the right gage of sandpaper on me. He knows what I can handle and how much weight to bear down with as He smoothes off the rough edges of my life.
For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Sometimes I leave my thrift store finds in a natural state after I finish cleaning them and preparing them. Other times I finish them off with a coat of paint or varnish.
I have to look at each piece to see what would be best for it. Sometimes I like the natural grains of the wood to show through. Sometimes I think a piece may look better painted completely or maybe paint a little design on it.
When I coat something with paint or varnish, I have to do it in layers and allow each layer to dry before I apply the next. If I don’t, I run the risk of messing it up.
That is how the Lord does when He works in our lives. He looks to see how we’ll benefit the best. How will our beauty show through? How will we glorify Him the best? He coats us with things in our lives that will help us as we grow in Him. Step by step, He strengthens and guides us.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9 , 10
Sometimes my thrift store finds are useful things. Some are shelves to put things on or maybe a dresser with drawers for storage. Other things are basically just for me to enjoy. They don’t really have a practical purpose in anyone else’s eyes, but their purpose in my eyes is to look pretty or add to the things that I enjoy in my home. They are my little treasures and they all bring me joy and satisfaction.
The Lord has a purpose for each of us. He uses us all in different ways, gives us different gifts, and embellishes our lives with the perfect touch. We may not even know the purpose of some of the things we go through. We don't always see how our lives serve God’s purpose, but He has a plan for each of us.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Romans 12:2
I’m always amazed at the transformations that my crafting and refinishing projects go through. In the end, I can find something beautiful under all the grime, dirt, and broken down shape that a piece may start out in.
I’ve always loved the words to that Gaither song, "Something Beautiful". Part of it says,
Something beautiful, something good;
all my confusion He understood.
All I had to offer Him
Was brokenness and strife,
But He made something beautiful of my life.
One of the greatest joys I know of as a Christian is watching new Christians grow in the Lord. Sometimes it is dramatic. Other times it happens little by little, but it is a wonderful process to watch.
I have been a Christian since I was nine years old (41 years), and I still am in a process of growing and being made over by my Lord. He’s still stripping me of things that I need to get rid of, smoothing me out a little with His sandpaper, and working in my life as He coats me with different layers of love, guidance, and discipline.
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Colossians 3:10
I just hope I can allow the Lord to do whatever He wants in my life to make me into what He’d have me to be. I want to be finished off and renewed in only the way that His loving hands can accomplish.
I want each grain of my life to show through with a strong faith in the One Who made me. I hope I can bring joy to the Lord by the way I live.
So, are you ready to be "something beautiful" to glorify the Lord?
Copyright ©2011 Julia Bettencourt
Scripture References are from the King James Version.
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