The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
When I think of my life I think of it in two different sections: with Jesus Christ and without him. When I was a little girl growing up, my mother explained to me her belief in Jesus and that he died on the cross for my sins. As I grew up, I quickly realized it was way more fun and easy to choose my own path than conform to someone else’s route. I am the kind of person that does everything 100 percent or I don’t want to do it at all. If you asked me if I were a Christian growing up, I would tell you yes, because I did believe the words my mother spoke to me; however, I was living a very different life than what “the bible” teaches. As every human knows we are natural born sinners, and we love what tastes good even if it can cause harm to ourselves or upon other people. As beautifully created women we live our lives primarily based on our feelings and our emotion.
When I sit down and think about my life and the place God has brought me, I cannot help but start to cry. Ten years ago, I was the girl you could hear talking from across the room, which is still true but God leaves the parts he wants to use. The difference is I was lost, hungry for attention, lonely, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, and was desperately seeking something to fill that emptiness I could physically feel in my chest. When I was 22 I had something happen that has forever changed my life. I was able to reconnect with a long lost half-sister. She is now my sister and in no way is considered to me as half she is my sister 100 percent. Meeting Selena was very exciting for me because she was strikingly similar to me but also very different.
Selena and I were instantly knit together and unstoppable in each other’s presence. There was a very obvious distinction between us that I was very curious about. Selena and her husband were Christians. They were unlike me and lived life differently from what I would have considered a Christian. They loved me and I never felt “different;” I believe that we are called to this type of love if we call ourselves Christians. They never pushed Christ on to me nor did they condemn or judge me for my lifestyle. I showed Selena the beauty of VIP and she showed me the beauty of Grace. During the summer that I was going to turn 22 something began to change and stir in my heart. I moved in with Selena and Nate, which meant moving to the suburbs and far away from all of my friends. God literally removed me from any temptation that could harm my life. I remember crying myself to sleep the first week of settling in.
My heart was broken from a recent break up and I was so scared and vulnerable. I remember watching Nate and Selena and the way they lived. I desired deeply to have a partner like Selena had. Nate cared for her, nurtured her, respected her, and covered her in Gods love. Nate is one of the most incredible men I have ever met in my life and the love he has for his wife is what gave me the desire to want to know “their god.” Selena gently asked me if I wanted to go to church with her, I wanted to be respectful and so I agreed to go. I will never forget sitting at Athey Creek Christian fellowship. It was a very modest church, full of tons of smiling people and had a warm feeling to it. When the pastor, Brett, began to share the message I was immediately interested in the way he shared his love for God. I thank God for Brett and for using him in my life. I went to church again the following Sunday and accepted Christ into my heart. Brett asked during prayer that if anyone would like to accept Jesus into their heart that they could look up to him. I just remember the tears streaming down my cheeks and knowing in that moment that my life would never be the same. I knew in my heart I was choosing him 100 percent and that it was what I was made for. I didn’t accept Christ because Christians were telling me that my lifestyle was wrong; instead, I got saved because they showed me the love of God through their actions.
Now we can fast forward to today…A husband I don’t feel I deserve, three beautiful, wild, fearless daughters and me.
About 3 years ago I was at a yard sale when something caught my eye. It was a dresser that looked about 100 years old and in terrible condition. It was bright green with a little of the paint removed. However I could see that underneath all of the paint was something beautiful, something crying out to be restored. I bought the dresser for a price knowing she needed to be brought back to life. Recently I decided to move my office downstairs and knew immediately that I wanted to finish that old dresser for the new office. I have had the dresser for about three years and have worked on getting the paint off throughout that time. For those of you who have used paint remover, you know that it is messy, stinky, tiring, and can even be harmful if not slowly and carefully removed. When I started to work on her again about a month ago I made the commitment to finish her. Over the last four weeks I gave up on her two times, every time I would get frustrated, come upstairs and think about how I could just buy a new dresser. (And yes, if you are wondering the dresser is “her”) ;)
The lord spoke to my heart that he never gives up on his people and gently reminded me how he never gave up on me. Every time my heart would soften and I knew I had to continue to try. I thought removing the green paint was the hardest until I had to remove all of the screws, nails, and old wooden wheels from the bottom of the dresser. This task had me using every tool in my husband’s collection, sweating, and at times left feeling pretty frustrated. Once I removed all of the paint, wheels and residue I had to literally clean out the inside of the dresser and its drawers. I had to make a special trip to the hardware store to purchase new screws that were longer and stronger because the old ones were unable to support or hold the top of the dresser together. When I was cleaning out the dirt, dust, and residue from inside the dresser the Lord showed me how he does this in our hearts and minds if we let him. This thought brought me to tears and filled my heart with love and thankfulness but also sadness and deep sorrow for broken women all around the world desperately seeking something to fulfill them.
At this point I knew the Lord was doing a great work in my heart and showing me the reason he desires purity and goodness in our lives. He was showing me that my past, even though not his choice for me, was something he is using to reach the hearts of other women. At this point of restoring the dresser, I had different feelings about the dresser and was beginning to smile every time I went downstairs. I couldn’t wait to put the first coat of paint on her but knew she had to be ready for that. I went over her a couple times to make sure all of the green paint was off, the big holes were filled, that she was sanded smooth and ready for her first coat of ivory paint. I couldn’t believe how beautiful she was after I finished the second coat of paint. I really wanted the knobs to be special, so I was patient with choosing. Once I identified that I wanted the vintage black milk glass, I spared no expense purchasing them. I knew that was going to be the finishing touch, what would make her stand out. I was able to chat with a women that runs an antique store, she thought my dresser was very old and worth treasuring. What I find sweet is that I spoke with her before she was finished and the only pictures she saw were of the dresser taken apart and stripped; yet she could see the value and worth. I believe this is how God sees us: beautiful and worthwhile, even the bare bones.
There is nothing we can “do” to add to what Jesus did. The law is impossible to follow perfectly that is why God sent his son to die for us. Is faith without works dead? Yes, but our works is not what saves us… We are in desperate need of a savior and he is waiting patiently. He is a perfect gentleman who is not going to force himself on anyone, but is waiting for each and every one. God has always had a special love for women like a dad loves his little girl, only wanting to protect and provide for her. There is proof in his word of multiple times that Jesus protected and used women in powerful ways. I know for me I just have to look at my own life to see how much he loves and cherishes me. That old dresser that once was broken, filled with dirt and dust, is now beautifully restored. She is in no way perfect but neither am I or any of us. We can be made perfect in Jesus and he can heal and restore us. Trust me, I was that old dresser that had been used and abused but was bought for a price and am currently being restored. God is teaching me that I am unique, irreplaceable, and most of all, his beloved.