Making New Out of Old

2 06 2019

I once mentioned living in Kentucky for about a year when I was a child.  And for part of Rock _nthat time I lived with my mentor and favorite Great Aunt Pearl and her husband Price. We had an upstairs apartment in Prestonsburg, right above the upholstery shop where she worked. For some of my younger readers who don’t understand this type of business it was a place where someone would bring in an old couch or chair that was well worn. Some folks didn’t want to invest in new furniture so they would have their old piece redone instead. They would talk to my Pearly Mae, decide on what fabric they wanted, and then I would watch the little lady from West Virginia work her magic. First she would take a razor knife or sharp industrial scissors to strip it down; all that would be left was the wooden frame, and springs. She would then replace any springs that were wore out, sew new cushion covers and replace all the stuffing. She would sew new material on the armrests and sides. That was a slow process as she made every stich with a large needle that was rounded like a U. Then taking a small gauge rope she’d sew material around it and fasten it to the chair or sofa. It was fascinating to a young boy’s mind to see an old, wore down piece of furniture stripped down to its bare frame, and slowly but meticulously become a beautiful piece anyone would be proud to have in their home. Folks would return and look in astonishment, hardly believing it was the same piece they had brought her.

After we settled in Ohio, the occasion would occur where a car with unknown people would pull up asking to talk to Pearl. They had heard about her work and asked if she would redo something for them. Since we lived in a large home, she set one room aside to do her upholstering. The results were the same and people were so happy with what she did they’d pay her extra. I then asked her one day, “These people look like they could afford a new couch; why don’t they just buy one? In the patient way she always was with me, she explained, “Johnny, the couch is still a good, sturdy structure. It just needed someone to fix it up and give it a new look, new life.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

When I gave my life to Christ, I didn’t stop being John Miller. But like Pearl’s upholstering made an item beautiful, God did the same for me. The exception was instead on the outer appearance, mine was an inner repair job–a new attitude, new perspective, new outlook, a new heart.  In the 47 years I have walked with the Lord, I have seen many in the same ragtag shape, only to be made new when they turned their lives over to the Great Designer.

Phillips Brooks, “You must learn, you must let God teach you, that the only way to get rid of your past is to make a future out of it. God will waste nothing.”

Oswald Chambers, “All of God’s people are ordinary people who have been made extraordinary by the purpose he has given them.”

Folks took a risk giving over they precious item so Pearl could strip it down to the bare wood, and restore it. Each time they would receive back their item more beautiful than they could have imagined. More prized than it was when it was new. When we truly turn our lives over to Christ, He takes us and makes us more precious than we once were. I’ll never pretend to be perfect, but I’m ever so thankful I’m not the old version of me.

My memory goes back to those days in the upholstery shop and I can see my Pearly Mae, this wonderful and talented “Traveler of the Rock Road” look on her finished product and smile at what she created. I know God does the same when He looks upon me, and anyone of you who who allow His restoration of newness into your life.


See ya next time.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: