In the Hands of a Master Carpenter

I’m so excited today to welcome one of our MUMs, Heather Eigsti, as a guest blogger. I’m hoping this won’t be her last visit to our blog.

My dad is an artist. He came from a family of 9 children, most of whom are incredibly talented in painting, drawing, photography or music, among other things. He creates beautiful sketches, watercolors and oil paintings, but his true love is woodworking.

carpenter hands

As long as I can remember, my father has always had a project laid out on sawhorses in the garage, taking up the stall for his truck. If his truck is parked outside, you know there’s something beautiful being created inside. Layers of sawdust coat pegboards of tools and pieces of scrap wood, and the smell of freshly cut lumber lingers year round.

All through my childhood and adolescence, I so loved curling up in a lawn chair to watch my father work. Often, his music was too loud for conversation, but I learned to love the unspoken moments in that garage– with Simon and Garfunkel or Journey trailing over the roar of table saws and sanders. To watch a pile of clean, untouched lumber morph into a beautiful piece of furniture took months, but it was so worth the wait.

One thing that makes my father so incredibly talented at what he does is his painstaking precision–measuring and re-measuring, sanding, staining, waiting, sanding again, varnishing, waiting, waiting, and waiting. The process seems daunting and ridiculous– wasted time to an amateur observer. But it isn’t.

Much like my earthly father, our heavenly father is a creator with an even more precise eye. We sit back and watch as He “sands” us down. And we, the amateur observers, question God’s plans, doubt His promises, and we cringe or start to turn the other way when His cuts are deep or sanding too abrasive. We forget to trust the final product, the staining and waiting that has to happen in order to produce an incredibly beautiful piece of art.

This spring, our study in MUMs (mothers uplifting mothers) challenged us to “say yes to God,” to trust His plans for our lives. We were given a prayer early on to keep in our Bibles:

God, I want to see you today.

 I want to hear You today. 

I want to know when You’re speaking to me today. 

God, I want to follow hard after you. 

Prepare my heart to say yes to you.

It’s so easy to say these words, and truly long for these moments with God. Of course I want to hear God. Of course I want to know when He’s prompting me, and of course I want to follow His will for my life. I’m completely comfortable buying coffee for the person behind me at the coffee shop, or inviting the neighbors over to grill out. However, obeying when we hear Him asking us to do something a little uncomfortable, awkward, or scary . . . now that’s a different story.

The challenge for all of us “amateur observers” is that we would allow God to do the necessary sanding in our lives and embrace the uncomfortable challenges as tightly as the joyful seasons; that we would give up our tendencies to select the color stain we want, the length and depth of the cuts and how rough the sanding. I can only imagine the hideous outcome if my father growing up had let me call the shots on his woodworking projects–me, with no carpentry knowledge whatsoever.  What a joke!

Let’s work really hard this week to respond with a resounding “YES, GOD,” even when it’s uncomfortable or scary. Let’s try to wake up every morning, ready to listen for Him and knowing God will show up with new ways to love our neighbor. Let’s expect Him to open our eyes to the possibilities of blessing those around us with the resources and talents He’s sharpened in our lives. Let’s embrace both the joyful and the uncomfortable promptings from our master carpenter and trust his divine blueprints for our lives.

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