I shared earlier this week that we are debt free (Woo-Hoo!).
One of the things about choosing to be debt free and live on a single income is that we don’t have money to spend on most extras. We generally don’t have nice things. We buy second-hand things and make do with them until they are literally falling apart.
Like our rocking recliner. My husband had it long before we got married. I’d guess the age of this thing to be at least 20+ years.
It wasn’t in great condition when we married 9 years ago. And then when you add the wear and tear of 2 very rambunctious boys, it is in pretty sad shape today. Like, embarrassingly sad shape. There are stains from spills. There are tears in the cushion cover…what started as 2 small holes have been picked at by 2 little boys until they are 2 large holes.
But, we have this yucky chair in our house. Because when you have a very tight budget, a new chair is not a priority. And honestly, I nursed and bonded with both my babies in that chair, and it’s still comfortable enough to hold them for some snuggling and reading time and those are the things that matter.
So, for our family, this chair is serving it’s purpose and we don’t think about it too much. Until we’re having company and I have to admit that I cringe a little every time someone sees this chair.
Why am I telling you about my awful, yucky, embarrassing chair?
Well, I have this sweet, amazing friend who is slowly transitioning to a more frugal lifestyle. Michelle and I have had a lot of conversations about budgeting and frugal living, and how that sometimes requires that we make the hard choices.
I saw her recently and the topic of frugal living came up. She said, “I was talking to my husband about your budgeting one day and I told him about your chair.”
I wanted to hide! I knew just what chair she was talking about and I probably turned 10 shades of red. She told her husband about my awful, yucky, embarrassing chair?!?
I was horrified!
I can’t remember what I said, but in my mind I was thinking her conversation with her husband probably went something like this, “Things could be worse…we could have a yucky chair like Crystal’s” or “Don’t worry, we aren’t ever going to be THAT frugal!”
But instead, she said this, “That chair inspires me.”
What? Did I really hear that correctly?
She went on to say, “Because it is evidence of your commitment to your priorities. So many people would have just gone straight to the nearest rent-to-own place to get a new chair. But you…you are making those sacrifices for the stuff that really matters and I want to do the same.”
I get teary even now when thinking about it. I had a little God-moment right there and couldn’t wait to share it with you all. Because it’s bigger than an old chair, or tight budgets. This is a truth that I hope you can let sink into your heart.
God can use the broken parts of your life for His purposes. The very thing that you hate about yourself, the things that are embarrassing, the things you wish you could change. They might be the very things that God uses to speak to someone else.
And you know what else? Just like my friend, God can see through the mess to the heart. My sweet friend didn’t look at my old awful chair and see an old awful chair. She saw sacrifice and commitment and it became beautiful and inspiring because of her lens. Where someone else might see the broken mess and criticize, God sees your heart.
I believe that we should be always striving toward holiness, because that’s what His word says. But never forget that God shows his love in this–while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He loves you and He can redeem even the broken parts of your life. And he can see YOU in the midst of those less-than-attractive parts that the world might pounce on in judgment.
Because He is in the business of giving us beauty for ashes and redeeming the broken.