When my sister told me that a friend was giving away their upright piano, I was eager to take a look at it. But “free” wasn’t all that appealing when I saw the condition of it.
The paint job (if you can call it that) was a thick layer of black/brown with extra-large splotches of who knows what here and there. Not to mention that it was terribly out of tune. I expected to see something more along the lines of the handsome piano I grew up with.
In any event we thanked them with a smile, and three hours later my husband and a few strong men hauled it into our living room where they placed it across from the sofa.
It sat there, virtually untouched, until I was ready to take it on.
I don’t know what it was that drove me to do it, but one spring morning I woke up, took one look at the black stain, and decided to refinish the wood. I had taken on small projects before, but nothing of this magnitude. I figured it couldn’t possibly look any worse.
With tools in hand I got to work, stripping and sanding layer after layer until I discovered its worth hidden beneath years of neglect. To my surprise, it was nothing less than a vintage, burled-walnut piano.
With each stroke of my hand, it returned to the beautiful piece it once was.
God could have sent us a brand-spanking new keyboard with all of the bells and whistles, but rather than sending us “easy,” He gave us a treasure complete with life lessons that teach us the value of hard work.
Looking back on it now I can say, “I get it, Lord. I understand the parable of the piano You gave us, and how it relates to our marriage.”
Neglecting to care for each other more than we cared for ourselves, wanting to take more from our marriage than we were ready to give, and failing to lean on God’s wisdom more than our own are the layers of filth and stain that built up over time. One by one, they piled up on the other concealing the beauty and depth of our covenant.
It was unrecognizable, not to mention the fact that we were out of tune one with another. That is until that day when love found me in the darkness and carried me back to the light. I realized what a mess I had made of things and the role that sin had played in my life. Up until then my primary concern was pleasing myself and getting what I wanted from this marriage. The more I focused inward, the less I focused on the Lord.
Once we started loving and respecting each other from a place of humility, we began to see the beauty of new life emerge. With each stroke of forgiveness, understanding, communication, and grace, it’s being restored to the beautiful love it once was.
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This article has been excerpted from Messy: Beautiful Love by Darlene Schacht and used with permission from Nelson Books © 2014. We have a total of 3 copies of the book to give away, one to three different winners. For your chance to win, enter below.
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What Women Are Saying
-- Emily P. Freeman, author of Grace for the Good Girl: Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
-- Gary Chapman, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages
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