We bought our old house a year and a half ago. It sits in a beautiful spot, very scenic, and handy to town. It was easy to overlook a lot of the shabbiness and needed work when we saw the view from the large picture windows in the dining and living rooms. Since moving in, however, we have experienced the reality of just how much work the place needs.
After a hiatus from renovations of several months, I decided I would paint one of the large upstairs rooms. The former owners had used blue paint on all surfaces; walls, ceiling, doors, and trim. The house is a storey and a half, so the upstairs ceilings have that cozy slanted shape. Cozy didn't describe that blue room, however. The "country" blue paint, and the blue-grey carpet made it seem more like a cave. Feeling a surge of motivation, I hauled out paint cans and rollers.
Before I got going, though, I wanted to pull up the carpet. Not having decided what kind of floor covering we would have, I wanted to see just what might be underneath. Two layers of rather nasty carpet, some linoleum, and lots of old newspaper (used for insulation?) later, we found some pine floor boards in seemingly reasonable shape. If you could look past the several layers of paint. So we decided we would sand and either paint or verethane them.
Walls, ceiling and trim painted, we got to the rather gruelling task of scraping paint and sanding. We spent nearly a whole day on our hands and knees, using paint stripper and scrapers to get the paint off. My husband gets all the credit for the sanding. He used a belt sander at first, with a coarse grit paper, then when it was time for a finer one, we rented a floor sander. At that point, seeing the boards sanded to reveal their original look, we began to think that the work would indeed be worth it. The boards were just too nice to cover again with paint, and after four coats of high gloss verethane, the results were amazing. Combined with the yellow walls, white ceiling and trim, it is a totally different room, transformed from a depressing cave to a bright and pretty bedroom.
That work was just completed a few days ago. The result was so satisfying that we are going to do the entire upstairs in the same way. Now, whenever I go upstairs, I find myself just standing and admiring the beauty of the floor. I do a "before and after" in my mind, and can't help but be amazed at the transformation. I don't believe it is pride that I feel, but rather a sense of awe at the difference that some just plain hard work made. It's as though we peeled away those layers to find a hidden treasure. The raw material was there, just waiting for someone to bring it to life, and help it to be all that it could be.
This morning as I once again contemplated the beauty of the floor, I thought of how it is so like what God does with us. Sin stained, world weary, and dragging layered years of wrong thinking and living, He begins a wonderful work in us that He has promised to finish. The first layers come off, then begins the real work of scraping and sanding. First a coarse grit, then a successively finer one, until that day when we will stand before Him in a sinless state. Then He will get the glory, as that final product of redemption and restoration is on display for all eternity. Far more beautiful and amazing than anything I can accomplish with some old pine boards.
For I am confident of this very thing,
that He Who began a good work in you
will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
Phil. 1:6 NASB