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When I think of that word, my mind automatically drifts back to the year 1993 — the summer Steve and I got married. We didn’t have a lot of money to furnish our new home in North Carolina, so I learned how to purchase old furniture at a discount price and refinish it. I didn’t have a job at that time either, so I had some time on my hands.
One day, as a gift to my mom and dad, I decided to clean out the garage. It was quite the undertaking for, you see, I hate spiders — and there had to be at least 54,000 hidden in this unfinished, open-air carport. Thankfully, the dirt daubers had done a pretty good job of keeping them under control.
I wiped down the freezer and the old sewing machine and made my way to this old cabinet that had been in our garage ever since I could remember. It was tall with only a chunk of wood nailed to the top to keep the doors closed. That piece brought back many memories as I stood there looking at it. As a farming family, we’d always kept poison in it, along with a few pairs of old work boots. I opened the doors. The boots and poison were still there.
I decided to give this old piece of furniture a rubdown. To my surprise, the first swipe of that dirty, old, wet rag revealed a beautiful piece of pine. The more I wiped, the more excited I got. My mind started reeling with what the piece of furniture could look like if it was refinished, so I continued wiping and cleaning until there was nothing left to wipe and clean.
The piece was gorgeous! I later found out from my mother that this wardrobe was a gift from my Paw Paw to my Grannie. Like Steve and me, they had no money and very little furniture when they got married, so in order to have somewhere to put their clothes, he made her a wardrobe. It wasn’t perfect, but that didn’t matter.
The story made me want it all the more. Graciously, my mom agreed to let me keep it, and I began my work.
It took a lot of hard work and sweat in the Mississippi summer heat, but after several days, my new wardrobe perked up even the old garage. Everyone to this day talks about what a beautiful piece of furniture it is, and when they do, I always tell them the story of where it came from and how it came to be beautiful.
Restoration. That’s what God does with us too, isn’t it? We’re just old pieces of furniture that He’s decided in His time and goodness to make into beautiful pieces He can use. Day by day, He works diligently to clean out the poison, the stinky old work boots, and then — when we allow Him — He wipes us clean of every speck of dirt and dust. He takes old vessels, unused and stored away, and turns them into something beautifully useful.
He’s in the business of restoration. And I’m thankful.
Prayer: Dearest Jesus, thank You for restoring my soul, for taking it from where it was and making it anew into something beautiful and useful for Your kingdom. Continue in Your goodness to restore me, Father. Amen.
Steve and Belinda Kirk write the “Everyday Grace” devotional for the Johnstonian News. Reach them at 919-449-5745 and firstname.lastname@example.org.