The dresser was part of a bedroom set. Made of mahogany, it had brass drawer pulls and a larger mirror, and it matched a chest, nightstand, and pencil-post bed. I remember where it stood in my parents’ bedroom, when I was a little girl. Mama kept her things in the drawers on the right and Daddy’s things were on the left.
In the 50’s and 60’s, my mama’s jewelry box sat on top of the dresser. It was made of white pearlized plastic, with dark red velvet heart insets. I used to love to peek inside, and look at my mom’s collection of bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. In her top drawer lay her secret stash of makeup. When I got a bit older, I’d sneak in her room and try out eye shadows, or mascara, or lipstick. Once I spilled some of her pink nail polish inside the drawer – the spot still remains as evidence of my furtive explorations!
Time passed. My sister and I both got married and moved to other homes. My folks remodeled their home and purchased a new bedroom set. They kept the bed, chest, and nightstand in their spare room, but loaned the dresser to me. I was a young mother with three children; the dresser held t-shirts, play clothes, and jeans that belonged to them.
My marriage eventually deteriorated into a suffocating shell, and I made the decision to leave. Starting over was difficult, to say the least. I moved out of the home I’d lived in for nearly 28 years, taking very few possessions with me. At the time, the dresser was crammed with the belongings of my youngest child (who was nearly 16) so I left it behind.
More years flew by, and my parents offered me the remaining pieces of the bedroom set. I was thrilled to get the bedframe, chest, and nightstand! But it needed the dresser to make it complete. I made a phone call to my ex, who agreed to exchange the dresser for another of similar size and design. He cautioned me, however, that the dresser might “need a little work.” My son delivered the dresser to a storage room at my parents’ home, and a few days later I drove to the homeplace to retrieve it.
I gazed with dismay at the old dresser. The veneer was chipped badly in several places. White water rings dotted the top. The top drawer – where as a little girl I’d spilled the nail polish – was in pieces. Scratches and gouges covered every surface and the wood was dry and dusty. It looked forlorn, abused, unappreciated, neglected. I swallowed a huge lump in my throat as I realized that I’d left that same home years before in much the same condition. Nothing came out of that place unscarred – and that included me.
Yet the old dresser still had potential. Structurally it was in great shape. All the hardware was still intact; most of the drawers opened/closed easily. And the mirror looked great. I gave the dresser a little pat, loaded it in the pickup and took it home. A trip to the hardware store provided some steel wool, sandpaper, stain, wood glue, scratch cover, finish restorer, and furniture polish. Then I went to work.
First things first – a thorough cleaning eliminated a lot of dirt. As I washed away accumulated dust and grime, I recalled how God had washed away years of negative thoughts that cobwebbed my brain.
While nothing could replace the pieces of veneer that had long ago chipped off, a bit of sanding smoothed the rough edges. A touch of stain then camouflaged the scar left behind. Abuse leaves permanent scars, but a bit of loving care can reduce the damage so that eventually the scar goes unnoticed. A life covered by the bloodstains of Jesus is healed!
The white water rings were tough to remove, and took careful scrubbing with fine steel wool and finish restorer. A lot of “elbow grease” lightened the spots, but it took several tries to make them disappear. Those white rings were lingering reminders of bad decisions and past mistakes. Even after I thought they’d vanished, I’d look and they’d be sneaking back up to the surface. Getting rid of those reminders took repetitive applications of work – and getting rid of my own bad reminders takes repetitive applications of the Word. Reading the Scriptures provides a constant source of guidance and encouragement.
Scratches and gouges are expected on furniture that is over 50 years old. They are as normal as the scratches and gouges we endure in everyday life. As I daubed scratch cover on the fronts of the drawers, I realized that prayer can ease the burdens that leave marks on our souls.
Five pieces of wood lay in a heap – the sides and bottom of that top drawer represented the shambles that my life was in before I surrendered to Christ. Just as He collected those pieces and began fitting them back together for His purposes, I began to re-position the sections of wood. Glue and clamps supported the pieces, holding the drawer together until it could stand for itself again. I thought of the many friends and precious family members who had literally held me together as I walked through the years of pain and loneliness. They offered love and support until I was able to hold my head up with self-confidence and assuredness again.
Some finishing touches completed the transformation. Soap on the runners helped the drawers work smoothly with practice, offering renewed purpose. The dresser took its rightful place in the bedroom with the rest of the pieces and I began to fill the drawers once more. Smiling, I placed my own pink nail polish in that top drawer.
A light coat of lemon oil brought out the natural lustrous sheen of the wood. Similarly, the love of Christ applied to my life gave a warm glow that I cannot contain! That once forlorn dresser had been redeemed with renewed purpose, just as Christ had redeemed my life.
No one is beyond hope – God’s restorative power can take even the most dejected, dried out, broken down heap of a life and breathe freshness into it! New purpose, new outlook, new life – all available through Christ!
And that’s truly a Silver Lining!