Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Dining Room Chair and other Thoughts

God's been pressing on my heart for a few weeks now to pull out my computer and write, but I've put it off because I just haven't known where to start or exactly what He wanted me to write.
I've had lots of thoughts that jolted me awake at night or raced through my head as I fell asleep, but they've felt distanced and disorganized and I just could not figure out how they all connected. I've felt like I had bits and pieces of about four different novels circulating through my mind and somehow the tie that binds them had been severed.
My husband and I went "thrifting" yesterday. In other words, we perused a few thrift stores trying to find some chairs for our new dining room table. We had fun stopping to play some pianos that were way out of tune and rifling through old records stashed in plastic tubs.
At thrift store number three, we found tons of chairs, but none that were in a set of four, which is what we needed for our family. We weren't even being picky. I wanted to find some old chairs that I could paint so I didn't care about the color, only that they were sturdy.
Finally, we found two pairs of chairs that we liked at thrift store number three. They looked nothing alike, but something about each pair appealed to my husband and I so we decided to mismatch and call it a day.
We ventured to Hobby Lobby (which my husband secretly loves; don't let him tell you otherwise) and  through the process of elimination, settled on a neutral coloring pairing that would contrast our dark table.
This afternoon, after church and that mandatory Sunday afternoon nap, I sat down in my art corner to put the first coat of paint on two of the chairs before I had to leave for choir practice. 
As I was painting the first chair, I started chipping away at the layers of paint on it. Currently, it was a navy blue and before that it had been a farmhouse red. Below that was white, which was as far as I got. I found myself wondering how old the chairs were and how many families had sat down in them for a meal. I pictured them sitting around a small table in their original days while a family proudly enjoyed a new meal in them. I pictured them being loaded up to go to a new family when the one that they had sat with for so long had grown old or moved away. I imagined many different things that they might have seen on their journey to my apartment where they are undergoing a makeover.
I wondered if the first family that owned them ever thought that these chairs would one day have such a big job to do. You see, for me, painting these chairs for our new table in our new home is a really big deal. Family meals were never a concern of mine because I struggled with anorexia since my teen years. My goal was always to avoid meals, not create them and celebrate the fellowship. The new home, the new city, new jobs, new table, new (to us) chairs, are all symbolic of this new chapter. The makeover of the chairs is, in a way, symbolic as well. 
As I painted the chairs and had some praise and worship music going on my Pandora station and my husband was sitting at the table working on his current project, I couldn't help but smile. These chairs and this table and this home, are ready for new memories. They are ready for the task of housing a family and serving as the gathering spot for fellowship of our family and friends. They are ready to be used by a family that has been broken, but restored by Calvary. They are ready to absorb conversations between a husband a wife, a mother and father, mother and daughter, father and daughter, sisters; conversations between a family and the Jesus that they were saved to serve.
Like the chair I was painting, people don't always know where we've been. Sometimes, we aren't even quite sure of where we have been. Maybe when the place you are serving is no longer where God wants you and you're unsure where your next "home" will be, you're afraid and hesitant. You get cracked and your paint chips along the way, but every home you land in is the right fit for that time. Sometimes, God will allow you to be broken down so that He can build you back up. He allows you to be broken, so that your need for Him and only Him becomes so strong that you can't help but chase after Him with a desire that only He can quench; until our only desire is to be used by Him to glorify Him and to further His kingdom. Until our only desire is to know Jesus and to make Him known.

Sometimes, God has you go through that journey so that you can see that you need Him and that you need the support He graciously gives us through our friends and family and fellow believers. In that journey, we discover who we are, not as a personality or a career or title, but as a fearfully and wonderfully made, exponentially loved, child of God. 
Sometimes, He uses a beat up wooden chair with chipped paint from a thrift store to speak to you and organize the thoughts He has given you. Sometimes, there is a miracle to be found in a dining room chair.
Praise God that get a new coat of paint. We get a makeover. 
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