An old round oak table sits in my breakfast nook. Unmatching worn out chairs surround it. But even If I had a million dollars to spruce up my house, I wouldn’t part with it. The table was my Granny’s. I must have eaten a hundred bowls of ABC soup scooted up to it. I delighted in the same number of folded over pieces of butter and sugar bread while growing up around it. I was blessed enough to have inherited this treasure.
Were you to put the slightest amount of weight on it, you’d notice it wobbles, or else creaks and rolls slightly across the tile floor. It’s made to be used with a leaf, but we just keep it in its small round state. If you were to come and sit at it, I’d advise against you looking between the two wooden half moons that fit together (where the extra leaf goes.) There are likely crumbs in the crevice, because it needs a good cleaning.
At least the table’s base is intact these days. Thirteen years ago it received significant damage when being moved from one house to another. The pedestal base cracked after it was dropped. For two years our visibly broken table entertained guests while the base was being held together by two blue ratchet straps.
The base has been repaired, but the table top could use a refinishing. Underneath layers of Old English Scratch Cover, you can see Sharpie marks left over by one of the kid’s school projects and a few unfinished spots where I’d used rubbing alcohol to get ink out of a pair of jeans without realizing it would soak through to the table. There are dents and scratches too; each one has its unique origin.
While the table is certainly in need of restoration, I have no desire to bring it back to its original state. I can’t imagine stripping it of its history. The grain, written upon and worn, has stories to tell.
I don’t suppose we’re much different. We’ve witness to bear, but often we’re too tired, too defeated, and maybe even too fearful to allow ourselves to be known. So we stay covered.
Maybe you need a refreshing; a holy renovation and some new wind in your spirit. You're in need of restoration. You're due some extra time with your maker. No matter if your weariness is showing. No need to be polished or shiny. No matter your stains. Bring your wobbly doubt. Just don't be surprised if evidence of your struggle remains.
Though we wish for our troubles to melt like lemon drops, it's unlikely God will eliminate, or help us hide, our inadequacies and hurts. No, its precisely our scuffed up self that God wants to employ. He'll tend to our wounds and heal them, but often the scars will remain as a beautiful display of his power. God has taken the imperfections of people since time began; creating masterful art.
In Luke 8, we read the story of a demon possessed man who for a long time had not worn clothes or lived in a house (v. 27), but rather lived in the tombs. Naked and wretched he emerged from the solitary place (where the demons had driven him). He met Jesus. As we know, Jesus cast out the demons; sending them into a herd of pigs. Verse 36 tells us that those from town, who saw the man now dressed and in his right mind, were spreading the word, but who better to share the victory than the one who suffered the demons himself? Though the healed man begged Jesus to go with him and perhaps start a new life (void of any evidence of his old life), Jesus told him to
Return home and tell how much God has done for you. Luke 8:39
Certainly the man could have toured with Jesus. Instead, Jesus sent him back to the place from where he came. And so familiar him went back to familiar territory and likely astonished all those around him, for he now carried a powerful and undeniable new presence in the face of those who’d known his chains. That demon possessed man they’d known had truly experienced change.
You might remember that Jesus also healed a paralyzed man (in Mark 2), not before canceling the power of sin in his life (v. 5.) Jesus gave him a new spirit and then told him to get up and take his mat and go home. Clearly he didn’t need his mat anymore, but Jesus made a point to tell him to take it with him. Jesus purposed him to carry it. We’re told that he walked out in full view (which) amazed everyone and they praised God (v. 12.) His mat had become a useless accessory, but also a compelling illustration to onlookers. I hope he kept it always, as his own reminder of the victory found in Jesus.
What scars from the past, or current hurts, do you bring to the table today?
What fear or current difficulty has you wobbling, or else paralyzed?
You are author of all that is good. Help me to trust you to use any and every part of my life; especially the seemingly unusable parts to bring you glory (the tired part, the scared part, the part I keep covered) Restore me and use me how you see fit.
This Friday and Saturday, October 24 and 25, I'll be attending a local conference held for minister's wives and women in ministry. This is a devotion for the women who will be there. Please pray for restoration. Pray that we would learn new steps in the delicate dance of both resting in Jesus and serving him diligently; a dance he desires we all take part in. May we bring him glory this weekend and in the days ahead.
If by chance you're a minister's wife or a woman in ministry let me know if you're interested in attending.