Beauty From Chaos: How to Find Peace in Any Situation

You might remember my pristine DIY Entertainment Center that I featured on the blog a couple weeks ago.  Now marred by water damaged and covered with dust, these pieces currently sit in our garage…..entertainment-center-2Last Sunday night, we woke at midnight to our daughter screaming.  I ran into the living room to check on her, sure that I would find her in the midst of some frantic search for her mermaid doll that fell off the bed.  Apparently, her mermaid not only fell off the bed but went for a swim because she picked it up to find it was covered in water – as was most of our house!

Living Room

Two inches of water from a broken toilet valve now covered most of our home.  We sloshed through soaked carpet to try to move most of our furniture into the garage.   A company came to pull out the carpet and set up industrial fans and dehumidifiers for a week.  Carpet has been pulled up from every room,  much of our furniture is in the garage and the contents of every closet was left in a huge pile in the middle of each room in order to remove carpeting.  The wind and noise from the fans only reminded me that the state of our house was now a swirl of chaos.

For someone who likes to surround myself with order, beauty and solitude, my home quickly became a wet, concrete-laden, obstacle course of wet furniture, carpet tacks and confusion.

I had some unfinished furniture pieces in our garage and decided I needed to finish them up to make extra room.  I pulled a half-completed secretary into our living room (aka ground zero) to touch up.  This was a piece I worked on for my friend Rebecca to use as her daughter’s desk.

Secretary before

I began put the hardware on the secretary and soon a peace came over me.  The drawers had been strewn all over the house as I waited for them to dry.  It was no nice to see them finally come together to make something beautiful. I am reminded that in spite of chaos, God’s peace can still reign in our heart’s and minds – not matter the mess, no matter the struggles or disaster that surrounds us.

Priscilla’s Shirer’s The Armor of God is a Bible study that brings to light the spiritual warfare that surrounds us on a daily basis and how to combat it.  In it she states:

“Anywhere peace is lacking you can be sure the enemy is at work.”

Peace

This quote stopped me in my tracks.  I realized that my heart felt as chaotic as our household because I was allowing Satan’s lies and deception to steal my joy and contentment.

I was blaming my discontent on the state of our house but, in reality, the peace that God gives is not as the world gives. Just because I was surrounded by disorder, my heart can be calm because God can be trusted with even the messiest of situations.

The Lord recognizes that we will have hard times, but God’s overwhelming peace has the capacity to give you rest in the most turbulent of circumstances. 

So many times I have read Philippians 4:6-7.  It is a well-known verse that commonly adorns coffee mugs, picture frames and refrigerator magnets.  Unfortunately, when it comes to this verse, I often confuse familiarity with apathy.

Do Not Be Anxious

 

This is one of those powerful verses that the enemy would love for us to forget.

But how do we really experience God’s peace in the midst of horrible circumstances? 

Priscilla points out that this verse is intrinsically tied to Isaiah 26:3: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

When we make a conscience effort to pray with thanksgiving, instead of allowing anxiety to rule our thoughts and emotions, we are expressing a firm trust in God and His care for us.  By taking this step in faith with thanksgiving, we are affirming that God has the capacity to overcome anything that life brings.

This is the key to unlocking the peace that so often alludes us…

As Priscilla Shirer says, “This kind of faith catches His attention and He response by activating His peace within us – a peace that will not only guard but also guide us by helping us to discern the direction God is leading us to take in our lives.  Note the progression: trust leads to thankfulness and gratitude activates peace.”

As I wrote in 7 Tips To Find Your Calling, let your fears and anxieties become a reminder that you have something to bring before the Lord in prayer.  When we trust our situation to God by submitting our concerns in prayer and thanksgiving, He will be faithful to release His peace in our lives.  Before you know it you will to see the beauty of his plans even in the midst of chaos.

My prayer is that your every anxious thought would filter through this truth leaving you with the peace that only He can give.

Even in the aftermath of the flood, I was able to complete this secretary.  If you look closely, you can see concrete floors in the background.  What a testimony to how God brings beauty from ashes, growth from decay, and hope from destruction.

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Enjoy some of the pictures of the finished secretary!  If you liked this post, you might also like:

DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)DIY Faux Painted Signs (Free Scripture Printables)

When Anxiety Knocks and God Answers, Part 1

‘Til Next Time,

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When Peace is Lacking

 

Writing Desk Makeover

When I stumbled on this antique writing desk, I knew it had incredible potential.  The previous owner has painted portions of it in gold acrylic paint.  This piece took a lot of sanding to repair some water damage on the top but the results are well worth the process.

before-desk

I’m pleasantly surprised with the outcome as it doesn’t look like the same table.  I also refinished and covered a chair to match.

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As mentioned, there was an incredible amount of sanding that had to be done on this piece before coating it in Zinnser’s Bullseye 123 water-based primer.  I painted it on and it was dry in 30 minutes.

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I then put on my first coat of blue paint.  I mixed a few colors I had to get just the right shade but it is almost identical to Behr’s Sonata Blue, except maybe a tad grayer.  After the first coat, I sanded the piece lightly with a fine grit sanding pad on my mouse sander.  Then, I added my last coat of blue with some floetrol mixed in to reduce brush strokes.

I thought this desk would be an ideal piece in someone’s living room or bedroom  as a small work space that was still inviting.  My friend Katie bought this piece for her bedroom to do just that.

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I also recovered the chair I painted to match, adding upholstery trim to give it an extra pop.  Miss Mustard Seed would be so proud!

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I couldn’t find a drawer liner I liked so I used this Waverly fabric instead.  I ironed it with lots of spray starch.  After cutting it to size, I attached it to the drawer with Elmer’s spray glue.

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What stands out to me about this project was the massive amount of sanding that had to be done before I started priming or painting. The top had some water stains and I had to let the desk sit in my garage a few weeks to make sure it was dried out.  Then, I put on my respirator and started sanding off the damage until I could see a fresh, even wood surface.  Here is a picture of said water damage and also how the surface looked when I finished.

I spent so much time sanding that I burned up my sander, but I knew there was no way around this excruciating task.  To achieve its beautiful finish, a process had to take place.  Rushing the process or skipping over steps would be a detriment to the finished product.  Although painful (especially to my sander), this was a step that had to be endured.

In my last post on Goal Setting, I stated that development is a necessary part of the process.  If you are waiting for God to work in your life for something you’ve always dreamed, know that He already is.  He has not forgotten you and your current phase in life.   Although difficult, your current waiting game  and stage of development is vital to see His plan come to fruition.

He knows what we need to learn and where we need to grow.  That often comes with some sanding but He also knows the end result is worthwhile.

If you have been waiting for God to bring about His Plans, know that the “when” is just as important as the “what”.  There is nothing worse than being where God wants you to be before you are truly ready.

Know this period of sanding is just for a time.  This too shall pass.  For this season, rely on what He has shown you and trust Him for He hasn’t yet.

‘Til Next Time,

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DIY Vanity Transformation

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After living in a tiny house and sharing a small vanity with my husband, I knew I wanted a place of my own to get ready in the mornings.  Seeing the perfect location in front of a window in our master bedroom, I was excited to put a classy new vanity in front of it with the morning light streaming in.    As much as I don’t like putting on makeup, I knew sitting at this vanity would make it much more tolerable.

Now that I had built up my own expectations of this glamorous vanity table, it was time to go shopping where I find all my favorite treasures…a used furniture store.  Other than saving money, I wanted to make this piece my own.  This project took a few weeks.  As I sanded, wiped, painted and then repeated this process, my thoughts couldn’t help but to meditate on some specific ways God works in our lives much like I was working on the desk.

before-table

He Sees Us

Upon seeing this desk at the consignment shop among the many other pieces, I knew it would be perfect as a vanity table, a piece I would truly enjoy and call my own for years to come.  I had a much better purpose for this old desk and knew it had incredible potential, but it would need a serious makeover.

In the same way, God sees us through our brokenness.  In spite of the dated molding, shiny laminate surface, burnt orange stain and weird smell, I loved that sad old desk and knew I needed as my own.  Who knew something destined for a trash heap would be one of my greatest treasures.  The same could be said of us.   Because of the stain of our sin, we deserve the trash heap but God cleans us up, transforms us and prepares a perfect place for us in His Home. 

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He Redeems Us

The definition of “redeem” is “to regain possession of something in exchange for payment.”  I bought this desk for $40 and the stool for $10.  In order to transform this desk, I had to first buy it.  There was a price to be paid, even for a dirty old desk.

The same can be said of us – we are but damaged goods in need of transformation. Our sin was so much filthier than an old piece of furniture, but a much higher price would need to be paid to give us a right standing before a perfectly holy God.  God knew no amount of good works would ever be able to rectify our sinful condition so he did the extraordinary.  He pulled us out of the ruble and God had to pay the ultimate price – His one and only son.   God rescued us from sin just like I rescued the desk from its awful fate. 

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He Transforms Us

God doesn’t stop there.  Upon rescuing us, He begins an amazing process of transformation because He loves us too much to just leave us alone. Upon coming to know Christ, an amazing process of renovation begins.  I wasn’t about to bring this desk into our newly decorated bedroom and use it in its current state.  Over a period of time and in several steps, a transformation had to occur.

To achieve my vision for this desk, if it was cleaned, sanded, primed, painted and new hardware was added.  Several of those steps had to be repeated to be effective and each step had to be fully finished before proceeding to the next.  When God brings us into His family, He continues to transform us to be more and more like Him through the process of sanctification.  He renews us daily knowing that sometimes the sanding of life’s trials can be difficult.  However, we are much more content and satisfied when we allow Him to work in us to fulfill the specific plans He has for us.  He breaths in us life, beauty and purpose that we never knew was possible.

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Process and Source List

  1. I took off the hardware and filled holes with a generous amount of Elmer’s wood filler. I then drilled new holes for the new hardware.  I also replaced some old molding with new molding from Lowe’s by using Liquid Nails for wood.
  2. After letting the filler dry for 48 hours, I started the sanding process. I used my mouse sander to sand with rough sandpaper to remove that laminate gloss and I just sanded the legs as best as I could by hand.
  3. After wiping with a damp cloth, I primed the whole piece with Zinnser 123 water based primer and let it dry 4 hours. (It dries fast but not as fast as other primers.  This is helpful because it leaves a smoother finish).
  4. I sanded again with smoother sand paper on my mouse sander and sanded the legs by hand.
  5. After wiping with a damp cloth again, I used the Home Depot brand 6 inch rollers (“Best” with the green line) because it gives you a really smooth finish. I applied two coats of Behr Blue Fox in a satin finish with Floetrol (added according to the instructions on the back).  This helps the paint to settle better, leaving fewer brush strokes.
  6. This is the key for a really smooth – I LIGHTLY sanded yet again but with 320 sandpaper. After wiping down the desk and vacuuming the room, I applied one more coat. (Make sure fans and the AC is off to avoid dust particles in the air from settling on the paint surface.)
  7. After letting the piece dry for 2 days, I added the new hardware (amazon.com) and the glass top. Who knew the desk could look so different!?!

small butterfly frame

I thought my DIY butterfly frame was a perfect accessory for my vanity.  I posted here about how I made it and what butterflies mean to me.

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This is a sneak peak of my Master Bedroom transformation that I’ll be posting soon!

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like these as well:

Light and Airy Master Bathroom

Made Over, Inside and Out

 

Be sure to leave a comment below.  I love to hear your feedback!

‘Til Next Time,

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before-after-makeup-table

Made Over, Inside and Out

On the way home one night, I saw a very tall object on the curb of a neighbor’s house.  I drove by and in my rearview, I realized it was a large piece of furniture someone was throwing out.  We were almost home but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted another look.  We circled around and it was a dingy oak china cabinet.  Several of the doors were broken, it was dirty and even had water damage at the bottom.  However, I saw potential in that old piece– It was just begging me to take it home and make it new again.

So, I did what any good southern girl without a truck would do…I called my daddy.  Jeremy and my dad wielded the monstrosity into our garage that night.  I was determined to save it from its impending doom upon trash pickup the next morning.  They thought I was crazy for wanting to save this piece of furniture, but I knew it had potential to be something great.

china cabinet before

The process began…I surveyed the damage, dusted it off and cleaned it up.  I was even lucky enough to find an old mouse trap in the top (fortunately it was empty).  My dad rebuilt the broken doors, I ripped off some of the molding to replace with new and I restored one of the shelves inside.  After extensive sanding, a layer of heavy-duty primer to cover the orange-y stain, several coats of paint and multiple tubes of caulk, it now sits in my dining room as a permanent fixture in our home.  I am very satisfied with the end product and it brings me joy to think about how far it has come.

More importantly, the china cabinet serves as a reminder of how far I have come.  You see God also saw me in the darkness.  He saw that I was dirty, broken, and in a state of disrepair.  But that didn’t stop Him.  He didn’t even need to even take a second look.  Through no effort of my own, He delivered me from my sin and certain destruction through Christ’s death and resurrection.  Upon accepting Christ as my Savior, my eternal status is secure with Him.  Now, He is “renovating” me to be more and more like Him every day.  God has had to clean me up, release me from my baggage, repair my brokenness and He continues sanding my rough edges to make them smooth.

Fortunately, God never leaves a project half-done…He continually works on each one of us, shaping us to be a useful tool for Him to use.  That’s what the Christian life is.  It is a process of transformation that can only be done by His Hands.  We all have areas where we need work – whether it is anxiety, overeating, insecurity, or pride, God wants to renovate our hearts and minds.

Any home improvement project is messy and can take longer than we previously thought.  You might even uncover issues that you weren’t previously aware of and you may need to make several calls for help.   However, at the end of the project, the results are breath-taking and the struggle  is now behind you.  You have replaced this hang-up with new habits and the results are amazing.  You might even ask yourself “Why didn’t I tackle this sooner?”

That’s why I have entitled the blog Renovated Faith…The Lord helps you take off your old self and put on your new self.  You take off the lies and put on the truth.  You take off your cultural perspective and put on a biblical perspective.  You take off what you learned growing up and put on what the Bible says about your situation. Once you come to know Christ as your Savior, that is just the beginning.  You have a whole new life ahead of you.  God still has a lot of refinishing work to do on me and I invite you to join me on this journey as He gives us a makeover from the inside out.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?  I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”  Isaiah 43:19

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front china cabinet

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China Cabinet Restoration Process and Source List

  1. Dust off with a damp wrap and remove all hardware.  Replace any molding that is out of date.
  2. Start sanding. If you don’t have a palm sander like this one, it is well worth your money.  I have used it on countless projects and it’s my favorite tool!
  3. I’ve used several of Zinsser’s primers and decided on the Zinsser Bullseye 123 Waterproof Primer. It has great adhesion, cleans up easily, low odor and settles well into cracks, which is great for old oak furniture.  Also, it only takes an hour to dry before your next coat.  You can find it at Home Depot and Walmart.
  4. I used Behr Premium Plus white in Satin. It took me 2 good coats and then some touch ups.  I painted the inside back in Behr Sonata in Satin to give my white plates some contrast.
  5. I spray painted the hinges using Rustoleum’s Universal Metallic in Oil-Rubbed Bronze. It is the best oil-rubbed bronze spray paint on the market and so durable that I just used it to spray paint my metal shower frame.
  6. Caulk any cracks and replace hardware (I like Dap caulk). Amazon is a great source for basic hardware like the knobs.  We got the cabinet lighting here.

If you  have questions about the refinishing process, leave them in the comments section and I’ll answer within 24 hours.