Looking at an old exterior door, seeing a weathered piece of wood, exposed to wind and sun, cold and rain; we see what age and elements do to the natural beauty of God’s creation. Within the weathered, worn and distressed, however, is where the prodigals exist.
What a joy to take something once treasured and restore it to a place of beauty; brand new, yet still aged, recreated and yet honoring the original creation. What we love more than anything is taking those pieces of useless scrap and transforming them into something that can be cherished once again; realizing that apart from restoration, these old beauties are destined for the scrap heap or nearest landfill.
Everything we do is rooted in our faith and Christian walk; not to lecture others on what they need to believe, but to follow the path of our Lord who, beyond everything else, loved the ugliest part of us until He transformed us into a new creation.
An old door can be unsightly, yet I know from personal experience that an alcoholic who has squandered a lifetime of opportunities is just as unsightly. The door has cracks and dents, frayed edges and rusted parts. The once beautiful qualities have all but faded away; just like a man who once appeared bright and confident until life’s choices and actions began to erode the promise. Yet when you take these diminished things and place them the hands of the carpenter, all things begin to change.
We love to draw the parallels between what we do and who we are. For my wife and me, our lives were as different as night and day. We both have had our share of life experiences that wore on our exterior, yet more important, those experiences would have destroyed our interior had it not been for intervention. We “see” what lies beneath the battle scars of time. We know, that everything God created has supreme value (John 3:16). We discover, that we have an opportunity to change the picture by removing the damage and exposing the hidden beauty (Ps 139:13-18).
I don’t look at an old door or broken bench and see a new piece of furniture; I just know there is an opportunity there. Some parts are beyond repair and need to be discarded, but they’re replaced by newer and stronger items that solidify the foundation. The projects always begin with dismantling the old piece; not with a sledge hammer but with the delicate touch instead. A rusted nail here, a rotted piece there; the rough edges are removed and what remains is a pile of parts that needs to be assembled; or perhaps reassembled. But into what? That’s where the joy comes and our imagination takes over. No two pieces will ever be alike (Jer 18:4), because the creation is dependent upon the creator (Isa 64:8). Oh what joy is found in the process that emulates what our Heavenly Father does, even in the tiniest of ways, as the craftsman creating his masterpiece (Eph 2:10).
We picture, we plan, and we create. What the Lord does in an instant takes us much longer. The old door I originally pondered became an ottoman; a comfortable place to support our feet after a long day, but that’s not all. My wife has a keen eye for beauty and detail, so a padded fabric cushion adds comfort and visual appeal. Beauty for ashes, (Isa 61:3) the great exchange.
In a past project, some parts of an old exterior door were used to restore an old bench that a friend brought by. This piece had only 3 legs, a lot of rot, and only remnants of it's original character. We used the solid frame of the door as the foundation piece to rebuild the bench; which now sits solidly in the midst of my friend’s garden.
Not everyone will appreciate what we create, but we will. Some will prefer the old broken down pieces be discarded, perhaps used for a different purpose; others won’t care about the process as long as the final work is satisfying; but we get to enjoy all of it, the process and the completed piece (2 Cor 5:17).
Nothing satisfies like the creative process; ask any mother or father holding their newborn baby. Now we know that mom’s and dad’s don’t create a child by some blueprint, but it’s part of the joy when looking at what you created as unique and special. How we look at a piece of furniture pales in comparison, just as our relating restored furniture to God’s work does; but the undeniable parallels are there. Remembering that the Lord looks at those who are His in a special and unique way; as His treasured creation, valued, and then carefully shaped into exactly what He intended no matter how great the challenge or how damaged the appearance. As "creators" we are impersonators at best, but who better to imitate than the Creator of all?
We consider ourselves blessed to do what we love “as for the Lord (Col 3:23).”
Joh 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (ESV)
Psa 139:13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
Psa 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
Psa 139:15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Psa 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Psa 139:17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Psa 139:18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you (ESV)
Jer 18:4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter's hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do. (ESV)
Isa 64:8 But now, O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand. (ESV)
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)