Summer clouds are black and heavy with rain. Waiting. Waiting to release torrents onto parched ground. I feel like the ground sometimes. Waiting to fill my soul with the cool waters of renewal and the restoration they bring.
As a little girl, I watched as my father, with his strong, muscled hands, gently stripped ancient varnish and cracked paint from furniture others had tossed aside. Daddy taught my young heart the wisdom of looking beneath the weathered surface.
Because when you look hard enough you see humanity for what it can be—not what it is.
So I learned to refinish furniture. I have a few pieces I restored in college when cheap and practicality ruled. But it’s been years since I’ve made the old new. Until last summer.
I had been searching stores for a bookshelf that could serve as a bedside table. Because I’m a hoarder. Of books.
Instead of something new, I found this rag-tag and rickety shelf at a yard sale for less than $10. Score! What we won’t talk about is how much I have spent since in supplies…
As I brought my little shelf out into the light of home, I saw the damaging marks and grooves of a novice. Someone had attempted to remove the layers of paint and stain with cheap materials and quick fixes.
It occurred to me—this bookshelf is going to take work. It’s going to take strong hands and sore muscles and an aching back.
Because restoration is always difficult.
My little bookshelf proved no easy task. The scrapping deep and sanding again and again brought beads of sweat to my brow. And so I quit. I gave up on my little shelf. It would taunt me from the garage corner all scratched and beaten.
I saw myself. The times when I felt beyond repair—in need of restoration. Bruised and dented. Cast out and forgotten in a corner somewhere. Waiting.
Waiting for the hand of the One who restores my weary soul.
But restoration isn’t gentle. The grit of sandpaper can rub against our open wounds, causing us to cry out. Yet, sometimes we need to be burnished—to be scraped. We need the layers of grim removed and the remnants of abuse scoured away.
There are pieces of our lives that need to be restored but we hide. We hide because we know the restoration will hurt. We know it will bleed us and tear into our hearts. We know it will open wounds and rip through scar tissue.
So we need to know it’s worth it. Because the painful process is easier to bear than leaving ourselves layered with the filth of time and our wounding choices.
The beauty revealed by God’s restoration is worth the salty tears.
Restoration reveals the real, the authentic. It reveals the you. Restoration takes the world’s lies and abuses, strips them away. It leaves us raw. Beautiful and ready.
Ready for the color Jesus brings into our lives. For His love to sink into our pores, to burrow deep into our lives, the Savior must first remove our layers of grime. When we allow the Restorer of our souls to soak into the depths? Our true beauty is revealed to the world because He has seeped into every facet of our lives.
He wants to restore us. He wants to make us knew. Why? Because. Because He sees us for all we can be. Not just what we are.
A few weeks ago, I dragged my little bookshelf out into the heat-filled edges of our Florida summer. I could see underneath the layers. I could envision its possibilities. I knew it was worth the work. So I finished.
That’s the thing about my Jesus—He always finishes what He starts.
I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in
you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.