My Life as a Stripper

That’s right.  I’ve spent the last two days of my life stripping in my backyard–furniture, that is.  I have an antique desk that one of my ancestors decided to paint a dark brown many years ago.  A while back I decided I would strip it down to its natural wood.  I did this along with several other pieces of furniture.  I finished the other pieces but tired half way through redoing the desk.  Promising myself I would complete the job in a week or two, I put it away–20 to 30 years ago.  (My then pre-school daughters are now married and Kelli has two boys, one already a teenager.)

In the meantime we’ve moved from the moist climate of PA to dry NM to wet OR to semi-arid Central CA.  Along the way the glue holding the wood pieces together expanded and contracted like a cheap corset.  (You do remember what a corset is?)  Seasons came and went–too hot, too cold, too foggy, too dusty…  always too.  But this week I did it.  What an ugly job.  I stripped and scraped; rubbed and stripped again.  The layers of paint and varnish went much deeper than I ever imagined.  Some spots refused to budge no matter how heavy I sanded.  Frustrated I cleaned it as best I could and slapped on a layer of walnut stain.  I let it dry and returned the desk to my bedroom.  I would save the varnishing for another day, maybe Monday, 2025.  :-)

The desk looks great.  I stand back and admire the rich walnut wood that hid beneath all that slop for so many years.   As I rubbed the stain off my hands, threw away the goop and the yuck, I remembered the reason I stopped the process so long ago.  This was very hard work!!!  I was tempted to set it out for the garbage collector to take.  Messy too.  I don’t much like messy!

And then I considered that sticky, gooey mess and I thought of me.  What messes I’ve made in my life–lots of layers of paint I slapped on to hide my defects.  And yet, my Daddy-God cleans me up, over and over again–gook and all!  He gets His hands dirty scrubbing, sanding and stripping away the layers of bad choices, grandiose ideas that went bust, nicks, scratches and gouges that damage my soul.  He never tires of me.  He never packs me away for a more convenient time.  He comes to my rescue the moment I call.  Everyday He makes me new again.  My desk didn’t have a choice; but I do.  I just need to ask.   My prayer can be found in Psalm 51 Message paraphrase, “God, make a fresh start in me…Don’t throw me out with the trash…”

Do you need refinishing or maybe a completely fresh start.  It’s messy but God is up to the task.  For that matter, He’s the only One who is.


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