Repurposed: Finding My Story In An Ugly Chair & Stitches

My chair

I'm a freak.
I’m such a freak. But, the messy bun was totally working.

I had just finished writing part of my story; my heart was tired and felt trampled. I felt raw, but even more so after a freak accident. I had split my lip front-to-back and ended up in the emergency room holding my lip together. After two shots in my lip, black-nasty-stitches, and a strict diet of liquids only, I was feeling vulnerable. I didn’t want people teasing me, or cocking their head to the side with a concerned look and saying that I would need plastic surgery. Which happened repeatedly. So not helpful.

Nappy Lip
Mad diary of a lipstick lover: Picture not intended for those with weak stomachs.

I didn’t want “work done” on my lips, I just didn’t want them to look jacked up after the healing process. (I’m obsessed with lipstick and lips. So, if you see me staring at your lips, please know I’m picking out the perfect shade of lipstick for you in my head.) I made plans to go home to see my momma after the doctor removed the stitches because everyone else was getting on my last nerve. Liquid diets can wreck a typically sweet, Southern girl.

Liquid diets suck
Liquid Diets Suck

When I got home, mom took me shopping. She didn’t say one thing about plastic surgery, or mention that I looked like I got in a bar fight, which would have made for a much better story than what actually happened. Retail therapy works wonders. But, on this trip we weren’t buying new things. We were buying old things in the hopes of making them new again.

Two chairs sat in the room filled with things that people didn’t want. But, we wanted them.

When others see a castaway, I see a centerpiece. With a little bit of love, time, and imagination, you can make something beautiful from the broken things in hiding. I needed to repurpose this chair for so many reasons, but mainly because I saw what it could be. I didn’t see the stains and think that it was trash. I saw potential. Repurposed. My chair I knew exactly what I wanted the chair to become. I just needed to find the missing things and fabric it needed. Mom was a little hesitant to let me use the power-sander, mainly because I split my lip with an industrial packing tape dispenser. Let that sink in.

As I worked on the chair, God worked on my heart.

So many things in my life seemed unfinished- my manuscript, my story, my heart.

That day I was upset after visiting my grandmother in the nursing home who had Alzheimer’s; I wanted her to know me desperately. But, on the back porch of my mother’s house I knew that I was known. God knew exactly who I was and what to make of my unfinished story.

The broken chair became beautiful again and useful. I sanded and painted the frame, and mom helped me recover the chair with fabric that looked like me. I went home with a few other old things sanded, ready to be painted and repurposed, and one chair completely finished.

I guess you could say that I love repurposing things and finding old treasures that have the potential to make really big statements. I don’t really need all things shiny and new, I love the busted up stuff that has a story to tell.

Take a chair and turn it into a story. 

I’m the same way with people. It’s my passion to see you make something beautiful out of what you would rather leave hiding in a garage with a $10 sign on it because you have no idea what it’s really worth. But, you can’t let go of it because it’s unfinished, you are unfinished.

When I look at you I don’t see a broken story or hopeless situation, I see art. I see something God is going to use in mighty ways. God repurposed my story, the one I thought I would never tell, and redeemed some really devastating moments in my life. He’s still doing that. And when I’m worn out and need to see something finished…I’ll find something tattered and make it art that’s worth looking at. I allow God do the same thing with my heart, repurpose it for his glory, repeating these steps until I find a story worth telling.

We all want to be surrounded by new things, passing up the really beautiful things that we already have. In a culture that wants new and shiny and to be young instead of old, we miss the art of weathered things and character that truly lasts. I don’t want shiny, I want something that lasts. More is never enough if we can’t appreciate what we already have, in our heart and home. When God does a new thing, he starts in the most important place.

As women who we are spills over into our homes and our work, when my life is chaotic my house shows the signs in the same way that my heart does. We need a new work, but that doesn’t mean God can use our old, he just cleans it up because it’s of great value to him.

In Isaiah 43 it talks about God doing a new thing, a road in our wilderness. Passages that speak of water that will not overflow us, fire that cannot burn us, because he is the redeemer and has called us by name. He says that we are his and worth the work of redemption.

I found my heart in a throwaway chair and saw something so valuable and pretty waiting to be repurposed.

Much love, Jennifer Renee

Who’s up for a little art project?? Find something in your house or garage. Anything. It can be small, like a picture frame or bookends. Find a bold color of spray paint and go nuts!! Or…if you are a big project girl like me, find one piece of furniture and get your Pinterest on. You can’t control much in this world, but you sure as heck can make it a little prettier. Leave a comment and tell me what project you might take on and a story that goes with it!!