With Grit and Grace

I’m devoting this week to editing the memoir of a missionary couple, who spent more than forty years overseas in a country that is closed to the Gospel and hostile to Christians. Their stories are amazing! But the project itself is enormous. Thus, I’ve taken a bit of a blogging break this week so I could stay focused on getting some editing work done.

But . . .

I’m going to take a five-minute-time-out and write about “grit.” Then, I’ll get back to editing. 🙂

* * * * *

My husband works for a company that makes custom cabinet doors. Not too long ago, he was walking through the manufacturing plant when he noticed several planks of Honduras Mahogany tossed into the scrap pile.

Come to find out, this expensive wood was accidentally planed too thin to be used for cabinets. Ruined and unusable, the exotic lumber lay in the waste bin—awaiting the fateful wood chipper. But Jeff got permission to bring the wood home instead.

He dragged the long pieces of richly colored Mahogany onto the driveway and showed me the varied grain patterns in the sunlight. Jeff explained to me how the wood must first be scratched with course-grit sandpaper. Then these scratches are scratched again and again, each time with a finer course of grit, until the surface is as smooth as glass.

For the next few Saturdays, Jeff remained secluded within his half of the garage. (The mini-van gets the other half.)

Finally, the mystery project was finished. Jeff shielded my eyes with hands that smelled like clean forest. Then he slowly let me see. It was a jewelry box. And it was our anniversary.

My favorite gifts are always the ones that are handmade. Just knowing how much time was poured into it blesses me. But more than anything, I appreciate the stories behind these personalized gifts.

Knowing that this beautiful wood was destined for destruction adds special meaning to me. What was considered worthless in one person’s eyes was wrought full of promise in other person’s eyes.

In the same way, the prophet Jeremiah explains that we are like a clay pot—marred beyond its intended use. Yet, Jehovah takes what is left and forms it into another pot—one that exceeds the original function and beauty.

With grit and grace, God makes all things new, if we just ask Him to.

“But the pot he was shaping from the clay
was marred in his hands;
so the potter formed it into another pot,
shaping it as seemed best to him” (Jeremiah 18:4).

Have you experienced the Hand of Jehovah reshaping you and making you new?

Today, I’m joining Lisa-Jo, taking 5 minutes to write about “grit.”

42 thoughts on “With Grit and Grace

  1. Jeff, you are setting the bar high for us guys! I’m envious … wood working is not my forte. Every other male in my family got it, but not me. But, I do appreciate the craftsmanship I see other guys perform, and you did it. Good job.

    Denise, great message to cap your story. Good post.

  2. This is such a wonderful story and it reminds me of the fresh hope we always have in Christ who can always turn something bad to something good. Beautiful writing to encourage me today, thank you.

    • Kate, I love the way you described this hope as a “fresh hope.” Your word choice reminds us that our hope is not merely a “one-time hope” but that our hope in Christ is renewed daily. A fresh hope. I like that. 🙂

  3. ‘What was considered worthless in one person’s eyes was wrought full of promise in other person’s eyes.”

    Loved that line, like us…..gritty and ugly but wrought full of promise in God’s eyes 🙂

  4. What a beautiful jewelry box. Sometimes that rubbing with sandpaper against our spirit is painful, but beauty emerges as the grit gets finer if we allow God to keep rubbing. Thanks for sharing your gorgeous gift, and message.

  5. Denise. What beautiful, encouraging words! What a sweet reminder of how God uses the cast-offs of a life to bring forht beuaty and usefulness. I love what your husband did for you, what a treasure. This was awesome. Thank you for this!! God bless you!

  6. How lovely…to have your husband see the beauty of an object in a scrap heap, bring it home and lovingly create a masterpiece of a gift for the treasure of his life. I love this ‘Love Story’.
    Happy Friday~

  7. Your husband sounds like a very wise man. To be able to see beyond the surface into the deep, inner beauty and potential of that mahogany wood was so cool. Grit gave it personality.

  8. What a guy you have there 🙂 … and as beautiful as your gift is (quite impressive actually)… I was struck by the beauty of how you turned the word grit… into something beautiful… the working of God’s grace in our lives…

  9. Maybe some would think a thin stretch of five minutes belongs to the trash heap, too. What could anyone accomplish of any value in five minutes, anyway? Well, Denise, this was beautiful. A stunning piece worthy of its own drawer.

    And here’s a prayer for editing Kilimanjaro.

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