The Wood Closet Shelves
No matter who you are, what you look like, or what you do for a living, you have opportunities given to you every day. And each individual person looks at these daily opportunities as different things. Some see them as threats, setbacks, or challenges. Others see opportunities as a way to grow stronger, a step in the right direction or a blessing. And yet others are scared of opportunities and tend to shelve them because they don’t know if they will help or hurt us in life.
I tend to fall in that latter category. Many opportunities in life scare me because they are new, they are different, and they have potential to change the way that I currently live my life. In feeling this way, I am usually too scared to take on that opportunity and see what happens. But how do you know when an opportunity is worth taking or will turn into disaster? Luckily, Jesus has some words for us to help with these feelings. 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” In other words, the opportunity that God is leading you towards will not give you a deep fear or make you feel pressured to take it. In knowing this, we need to learn to discern the feeling of trying something new versus pure anxiety over the opportunity. God will present a peace in our hearts to know the time is right to take on the opportunity.
A few months ago, my co-worker and friend, Margot, bought a house and had a ton of new projects to get started on! She wanted to make her old, dingy closets look clean and more functional. She did a beautiful job painting and putting in a new floor. I had put up shelves in my house a few years ago and offered my help to do a similar shelf in her closets. I was excited to help her make a more functional space, but I was also nervous, thinking, “what if I mess this up for her and her closets look awful?” I have had this doubt in the past and I know that is not from the spirit of God. So we chose a day, Margot got the supplies, and we went to work!
I love the reminder in Galatians chapter 6 verse 10 that says, “So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” An opportunity that I let pass by too often is the opportunity to help the ones who are closest to me. Sometimes in a relationship, you can develop this attitude of “what can you do for me” but we should always be asking “what can I do good for you?” It was so satisfying to help Margot that it was almost like she was doing me a favor in letting me help her with these shelves!
The shelves we did can be easily done in any house…. Easy with some prier preparation and knowledge of course! This is where projects can stop people in their tracks but you just have to start and have faith that you will figure it out and patience with yourself so you can learn along the way. First, the closets were measured to buy enough wood. These shelves are simply three pieces of 2x1 inch wood that are cut to the width of the board that goes on top and length of the back wall. Next, its sanding and staining or painting. I learned that doing this before installation saves you so much prep work and mess. Finally, cut the wood to size, glue and nail the three pieces of wood underneath and the solid board on top.
This was a great opportunity for both Margot and myself. Margot never cut and stained wood before, let alone install shelves. This showed her that she can tackle some pretty awesome projects in her new home. For me, I never helped someone else do a custom project like this so I can walk away with a new-found confidence in helping others with their home projects.
When we are uncertain where an opportunity will take us, it is easy to put it on the shelf and think, “Oh, I will get to that later”. But God doesn’t want us to wait. In James chapter 4 verse 14-15, we are instructed, “How do you know what your life will be tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog – it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that’”. Don’t push off God’s will for our lives. Take the opportunity and see where it leads you!
The Blue, Butcher Block Island
The question, ‘Are you a generous person?’, can almost be offensive to some people. Usually our first reaction is, ‘Of course!’. But I think for many of us, especially in today’s ‘me’ centered world, generosity does not come easily. We know we should give, but our long to do list and stress of saving enough to retire early leaves us with anxiety when we think about giving. Now making time for yourself and saving money is important, but are you sharing your, or rather, God’s time, money, words and energy with others?
My sister, Daniella, just moved into my grandfather’s 1920’s house. It is a beautiful house but needs a lot of work and I will have future blog posts about it. For now, she made a really sweet and beautiful studio apartment in about 700 sq ft of the downstairs. She worked hard to make a cozy space for herself before she had to go back to school and face the fear of spreading COVID to our parents and grandparents.
One of her projects was to create a kitchen island using one of the dressers that was passed down to her from our great aunt and uncle. She chose the fun blue color as an accent in her space. She sanded the dresser down, cleaned it, primed it, and painted. To go with her farm, boho style, she distressed the corners a bit and put her Champaign metal hardware on it.
Although the dresser was totally cute, it didn’t leave much space for working. I knew my one coworker, Andy, likes to work with wood and makes cutting boards for gifts. I told him about my sister’s project and that I was thinking of tackling the tall task of making a butcher block for her. He was very interested and offered his help. In fact, he offered to do the whole thing and taught me along the way! My other coworker, Randy, picked up wood from a nearby counter manufacturer and offered to help cut to make the butcher block.
This sounds easy but this was a pretty involved project! The wood slices had to be all the same size and the counter top needed to be a bit bigger so there was an overhang for stool seating. We ended up making it an end grain butcher block. And there was a ton of glue used! My sister and I were filled with joy to think that my coworkers were so willing to tackle this project with us.
In Matthew 5:42, Jesus says, “Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow.” My coworkers generous gift of time to do this project, without me even really asking, shined Jesus light upon us. My sister and I felt so blessed as we attached the butcher block to the dresser and had the satisfaction of seeing her vision complete. Their generosity made us appreciate Andy’s hard work and Randy’s help.
My sister helped me so much when I was remodeling my house and I was happy to help make her kitchen island. I am excited to help her remodel the whole upstairs of the house. In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full-pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back”. If we share time and money with our friends, family, co-workers, or even strangers, God is going to bless us until we are overflowing with his love, joy, and peace.
Think of generosity, just like anything else, as a journey. You can start with giving of your tithes and extra offerings. Then, volunteer more time to help those who need help around you. But have you ever thought about really giving your whole reputation or your whole life over to God? In everything you do, do it for the glory of God, and everyone around you will see you as a light in this world. I will close with Matthew 5:15-16, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
I am a farm girl through and through. I thought going to school, getting a degree, and moving towards a city would make me happy. You can take the girl off the farm but you can't take the farm out of the girl. You will learn much more about me with each piece of junk I transform into beautiful home decor.