The people God uses

In my spare time, when I’m not writing or chauffeuring kids or exhausted from CFS, I like to redo furniture. This past summer, I got the brilliant (at the time) idea to find a new writing desk. My old one had been forced into duty as a sewing machine center and my study was empty. Based on the skills that I learned from furniture upcycling with the ladies’ association, I knew that I didn’t have to pay top dollar for a new desk.

I searched Pinterest, got ideas, and off I trotted to the local Salvation Army thrift store. No desks. But there was a dresser.

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Here, it’s turned on its side so you can see the banged-up laminate. The back piece of plywood was wobbly, too. It was in sad condition.

The drawers couldn’t open and close properly and as for the mirror that was originally attached to it: well, let’s just say that it wasn’t attached anymore.

Obviously, this was my new desk. 

It took sanding. And priming. And painting. (Lots of painting!) Then an antique glaze and a few coats of wax sealer. And help from my supportive husband, who allowed his garage to be filled with sawdust, drop cloths, and little room for his car for a few weeks.

Now this $25 dresser is a desk . . .

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and a set of bookshelves . . .

furniture-redos
Why, yes, those ARE copies of Ruminate in the lower right corner!

. . .  and an accent piece in my library. (That would be the mirror, which is still not hung on the wall! No photos of it.)

This morning, I thought about how I had looked at this sad, abandoned piece and decided to change it. Is this how God views us?

God takes joy in picking unlikely people for his work.

  • You’re laughing because you’re barren, past menopause, and this stranger is prophesying that you’ll be a mother of a great nation; you think that can’t happen? Not so fast, Sarah. I’m not bound of natural constraints on fertility. Menopause? Infertility? Not a problem.
  • Oh, you think you’re just a little guy from an insignificant family, and you can’t possibly be a military leader? And you’ve only got 300 men to fight with you against the army of the Midianites? Hold on, Gideon. I’m not bound by numbers and statistics.
  • Oh, you’re a beauty queen trophy wife who has to get permission to talk to her own husband? You think you can’t intervene on behalf of your people, the Jews, when their lives are in danger? Think again. Esther, I gave you great beauty for a reason: so you would be in this palace, at the time, with this corrupt king as your husband. Now I’ll give you courage, and your people will be saved from genocide. I’m not bound by societal norms or cultural expectations.
  • You’re a terrorist, self-righteous Pharisee, and intent on destroying the infant church? Mm, Saul, you’re going to end up being Paul, a missionary for this very church you’re trying to destroy, a speaker who’ll end up talking to corrupt politicians, demon-possessed slave girls, and everyone in between? Oh, and you’ll write a lot of letters that scholars and ordinary people alike will read for a long, long time. I’m not bound by your motivations and desires.

Unlikely people. A great God.  

Unlike me in my creative mode, God doesn’t have to scour Pinterest for ideas, search the web for tutorials, or ask for help from anyone else. He has plans to change us.

No matter how broken down and weak you are, no matter how bruised or scarred, no matter how evil and vile your past has been, know this: God can use you. 

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  –2 Corinthians 4:7

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16 thoughts on “The people God uses

  1. You are amazing. (If I haven’t told you that before, I should have.) The furniture work is well beyond anything I could do since I am not handy in the least. And your writing on God’s people is well=written and encouraging and makes me want to be used by God as well.

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Tim. I feel blessed to have the time to write and do other creative things. I’ve learned that the right tools for the job make all the difference in handy-woman work around the house: my grandfather’s electric sander, wood glue, brushes, an electric drill, and a husband who doesn’t mind the garage being taken over by sawdust and drop cloths! Oh, and gift cards to Lowe’s for all the supplies that I realize I need halfway through a project . . .

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  2. This speaks directly to my heart, Laura. I almost felt tears welling up a little. Like you, I have CFS and basically this year has been a write off, literally. I’ve had problems with physical pain,neuralgic pain in my face and ears, stomach problems, waking up feeling physically sick most days and I’m lucky just to get out of bed most days. Anything else is not really possible.

    Yes, God uses the most unlikely people, thank God! In the world I’m a write off, but God hasn’t written me off.

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    1. I’m really sorry that you’ve had such a rough year. It’s such a tough disease and even though I”m in a better place physically right now, I remember well having those same symptoms that you’ve described. My joint pain wasn’t too horrible, but I know for many people it is, and most days I could manage doing a few little things, but I was leery of pushing my physical bounds too much for fear that I’d end up unable to do anything. The mental fog was unbelievable. As I mentioned to Sandy, I couldn’t read very much, either! I’ll pray for you that next year–hey, the rest of November and December, too!–are much healthier.

      I love your last sentence: beautifully put.

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    1. From what I’ve read, there’s some controversy over the name “chronic fatigue syndrome”, and more people prefer M.E. I’m feeling better physically and mentally this week, but I’m leery of pushing my physical bounds too much. For a long time, I was mentally so fatigued that even reading exhausted me; I couldn’t keep track of plotlines or dense prose and reading online gave me headaches.

      I didn’t know that you had it, too, Sandy. It’s rough, but God is still good and he can still use us!

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      1. I’d be interested in compiling essays of people’s experiences with CFS/ME to write a book, in time. If you want to contribute, let me know.

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  3. That is so right, as 1 Corinthians ch. 1 v. 27 states ‘But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong’

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