The other day my youngest daughter and I had dashed out of the house without eating any breakfast. Our place of destination that morning happened to have a vending machine full of junk food that could provide a very short lived satisfaction to hunger pains (with no nutritional value I must add). My daughter asked if I had change so she could get a snack until we can get some “real food”. With those big blue eyes softening my heart I of course caved and told her to go ahead and get some change from my wallet for a snack. Her first try to obtain a snack of her choice the tasty treat became entangled in the spiral mechanics of the machine and would not drop below to her reach. Upon her second try for another choice the snack once again became stuck between the spiral grasp and the glass door of the machine. After the second try the only thing being fed was the machine with mom’s change instead of her belly so she decided to call it quits and just count her/our losses.
This encounter reminded me so much of the world we live in. Some give and give yet never seem to get ahead or become successful according to the standards of our world. There are some who may give a little and get what someone else paid for and lost. There are some who may just shake life and make demands and the demands are granted without any work or effort. Sometimes worldly systems work sufficiently and one can get what they have worked/paid for. Life can really seem unfair and meaningless.
Life of one who has a relationship with Jesus provides so much more than the give and take of this world we live in. The things that are so fleeting and superficial, beauty, money, power, fame, attention, etc… start to become just that, superficial, as one’s relationship deepens with Jesus. A quote caught my attention in Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s Bible Commentary of the New Testament. “God’s love for His own is not a pampering love; it is a perfecting love.” It seems all anyone wants to hear is what God will give give give. Our lives are so much more than what we can get. The world is so focused on “self” and what God and others can do for “me me me”. God’s plan for us is to perfect us. Not in a way the world sees perfection. It is a perfection of faith and love. The more He perfects our faith the more of His light and love can flow through us. The stronger our faith the more God can work through us to love others perfectly. The stronger our faith the less we let ourselves get in God’s way. Sometimes deepening our faith means we have to go through a lot of pain, suffering, sorrow, and mistakes in this life. When it comes down to it I would much rather be perfected than to have everything perfect. When I look back on what may seem a complete mess in my own life I can see God’s perfect plan and how it evolved and refined my faith.
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is– His good, pleasing and perfect will. “
As suggested by my Aunt blogging about this project will be much more constructive than this failed project.
Back in January when we picked vacation weeks I saw that the week of Mike’s and my anniversary was open for the taking. Thinking maybe we could actually take a trip or something I put this week down. As life and circumstances happen we are going to end up being lucky if we even get to go out for a meal just the two of us. Wanting to make good use of time, I assigned myself some projects to complete this week. One being to repaint yet again the old picnic table Mike’s dad gave us many years ago. After scraping for what seemed like an eternity I moved to a power sander, scraping more, power sanding more. The paint peel seemed to just keep growing worse. I then tried power washing which wasn’t much help then we ran out of gas for the power washer. Today I tried actually stripping the paint. That has made yet a greater mess. As the mess kept growing I began evaluating what is truly a valuable use of my time. The hours of fruitless effort were already mocking me in the fact that I can not have that time back. There is a strong willed competitive nature that I have as well as a very sentimental nature that was driving me to want to complete this project no matter the cost.
As of now I have had to walk away with my tail between my legs waving the white flag. My mind is already planning other uses for the paint that I bought.
One thing this FAIL project is reminding of is how we can’t clean up our own mess. Our life is a mess of sin. We inherited the sinful nature the day we took our first breath. All of us. We are all a complete mess. Oh there are all kinds of man made “cover ups” “fix yourself” “religions” all types of methods, but nothing lasts or truly cuts to the heart of the problem. The only one that can truly wipe away our every flaw is Jesus. No amount of money, self help programs, or “good” deeds will clean us spotless. Only the blood of Jesus. God’s only Son who took the penalty for all of our mess upon that cross can forgive us and wash us clean.
What I need is a planer (pronounced like plainer) board to cut away all the old paint, stained, and spotted wood. After we accept Jesus we are forgiven and as we follow him He is our planer board cutting away all the old messy spotted stuff. He makes us clean and new. Whew he still has a long way to go on me. The good thing is that God doesn’t walk away from His creation like I have walked away from my project. It doesn’t matter how messy we are He will wipe us clean and make us new!! Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God.”
1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
There is a new hobby I have found in rehabbing old furniture. A hobby that has come from trying to create a fun and whimsical space for the kids on a tight budget. Just jumping right in seems to be how I do things best and learn as I go. As the flaws in my painting and in old scars of the furniture started showing a different kind of beauty has developed.
I can’t help but think of how imperfect I am and how life in general is. It is through these imperfections and scars that God can create our greatest beauty. Giving Jesus our sin, our scars, and our weaknesses He covers them with His righteousness and turns our flaws into something of beauty. Each of our lives are unique and have a specific purpose planned by God. We can remain dark and drab or allow Him to bring out a beauty that we cannot see or create in ourselves.
Philippians 1:6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”