I started refinishing furniture when I was in my twenties. (I am a trash to treasure kind of girl.) I just love taking old pieces and giving them a new look. Whether it is a coat of paint, stain, or new hardware—I love to take old furniture and make it beautiful. And if you think about it—that is what God is doing with us on a daily basis. He is making us new.
Isaiah 43:18-19 “But forget all that —it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
I don’t know about you, but I want the Lord to redo me and make me into the best possible version of myself. I know that being an open vessel to Him is key to that change. I want to be willing to do the things the Lord asks of me. “Offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness…Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 6:13; 12:1
A piece of furniture isn’t human, but it is there ready for me to work on. I also want to ready myself for the Lord to do His work in me. John Eldredge says it best in Moving Mountains. “First, they consecrated themselves. Meaning, they dedicated themselves afresh to God; they renounced every way they had wandered from Him; they presented their lives, their gifting, and their calling completely to Jesus, to be filled again with His Spirit, to be His and His alone.”
“It is the fresh act of dedicating yourself —or your home, a relationship, a job, your sexuality, whatever needs God’s grace—deliberately and intentionally to Jesus, bringing it fully into His kingdom and under His rule.” Eldredge I am trying to do this on a daily basis. I am intentionally aligning myself with God and asking Him to be the authority in my life because He knows far better than I do the best way to live my days. I am giving Him authority over my house, my husband, my children, my blog, my job, my schedule, my health, my finances, and even my car and everything else I can think of every day. I know this might sound extreme to you, but this is what it means to align myself to Him. I like to think of it as being under the umbrella of His care.
When I am redoing a piece of furniture, I want it to be beautiful. I want others to see the beauty that I do. I am the craftsman that is changing that piece of furniture. I like to think of God as the Master Craftsman of me. I am in the process of being made beautiful by the God of the Universe. My job is to let Him do whatever needs to be done in me. But, sometimes I don’t like the sanding that has to be done in order to make me look good. (OUCH!)
As I write, I dedicate my blog to the Lord. I ask the Holy Spirit to give me the words He wants me to say. I also dedicate my computer, my chair that I sit in, my bedroom and my house because that is where I am when I am working on my blog. I bring it under the umbrella of His care. “Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do amazing things among you.” Joshua 3:5
God is in the business of doing amazing things! I want to be a part of His work. I still struggle with focusing on what isn’t happening instead of what is happening. It is a battle and I must keep my mind on what scripture says instead of how I feel. I need to be listening to the Holy Spirit instead of myself. (I have a tendency to be a bit negative with myself!)
When I watch episodes of “Fixer Upper” I am amazed at what Chip and Joanna Gaines are able to do in homes that people pick to renovate. (I love watching that show!) They get a vision of how they want to transform their houses—and then go in and do the work they need to do. Sometimes the houses are in pretty bad shape—but after the work is done— that house is even more beautiful than it was at the beginning. Again, that is what God does in us. “And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” Mark 7:37
In order for God to work in us, we have to remain in HIm. John 15:4-11 That is why I dedicate my days to HIm. Listen, I am not perfect at this. There are many times that I wake up and get so busy with my day that I forget to give it to Him. There are many times I jump into projects without praying first about them. (I am a work in progress.) But, I am really trying to be different this year and I am asking the Lord to help me change. (I am a first born child. Need I say more?)
This is what I want to say—I have had a lot of bad things happen to me. Abuse has changed me. For forty years, I ran away from it and denied it. It took my mind and body falling apart to make me deal with it. It took years of counseling, reading, praying and God’s hand on my life to get me where I am today. I have given the bad things to God and asked Him to make something beautiful out of them.
The difficulties I have experienced, have made me into who I am. I have laid my abuse at the feet of Jesus and asked Him to use it for His glory. But, it took me years to get where I am today. Trauma affects all of us differently because we are made differently. How I react to something is going to be different than how someone else reacts. That is how we are wired.
I sometimes still feel the effects of the abuse. My body can get scared in an instant especially when someone like a doctor or dentist is hovering over me. I get scared when someone has power over me because the person I should have been able to trust the most, abused his power. I immediately go to God and ask Him to help me deal with my feelings. He is always there for me.
I will be a “Fixer Upper” until the day I die. Some rooms have been renovated and others are still being worked on. Like I said, I am a work in progress. But, I couldn’t have a better person working on me than my Heavenly Father who knows me and loves me better than anyone else on this earth. That is why I need to remain under His care.
I want to give you a verse that has helped me deal with all the bad things that have happened in my life. It helps me put things in perspective. “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20
The man that said those words was Joseph. You can read about his life in chapters 37-50 of Genesis in the Bible. I have studied the life of Joseph on and off for years. Each time I read and study about him, I still come to the same conclusion. God works through suffering. God works through abuses and God works through unfair situations. Joseph rose to power in Egypt because God was with him. He had a chance to lash back at his brothers, but he chose to show them love and forgiveness. (He kind of messed with them a bit, but who can blame him?) He chose to take the high road and honor God.
My father is no longer alive. But, I have looked at his picture and said the words from Genesis 50:20 to his face. I have had more than one abuser and I have said it to his face as well. I have witnessed first hand that God brings good out of horrible situations. If you are struggling with the aftermath of abuse, I encourage you to give it to God. Say that verse out loud to whoever mistreated you. God is working. God is able to make beauty out of our ashes. Jesus came to heal the broken-hearted and to set us free!
Until next time dear friends….