How a Reclaimed Cedar Chest Reflects God’s Grace


cedar chest 03

Posted on Tuesday, May 22, 2018

by Jill Printzenhoff

Reclaiming Memaw’s beat up cedar chest was tedious and dirty work. However, I was determined to redeem its battered condition.

I poured hours into removing several coats of old paint, sanding the distressed wood, and applying varnish. Solvent turned layers of faded paint to goo, which clung to my paint scraper or landed in wrinkled piles on heaps of newspaper. The hand sander kicked sawdust in the air, and the dust particles covered everything in the garage including myself. The sticky varnish claimed multiple brushes and rags.

messed up trunkNeedless to say, by the time I finished with the outside process, I had accumulated several bags of debris.

Once the outside was complete I turned my focus to the inside. After vacuuming the felt layer, the finished product was ready for use and display. I filled the cedar chest with blankets, and gave it permanent residence in the downstairs family room.

Looking closely at the heirloom one may notice the minor imperfections I purposely left in the wood—dents, scrapes, and hints of old paint. These flaws not only add character to the piece, they also remind me that its life has been reclaimed.

finished with flaws

Reclaiming Memaw’s cedar chest reminds me of God’s grace.

The reclamation process is similar to what occurs when we turn our life over to Christ. First, he lovingly takes away our sin. As we continue to follow Him, he illuminates areas in our life that needs work. When the junk from our past bubbles to the surface, He scrapes it off, sands the rough edges, and applies His coat of light and love. Sometimes this can be a painful process as we allow Him to mold us into the person He want’s us to be. Yet, through this process, we take on more of His characteristics.

What about all of the dings and scrapes and scars we’ve accumulated from this life?

When a person turns their life over to Christ, the dings and scrapes and scars are forgiven, compliments of God’s grace. Still, there may be some consequences that remain as a result of the choices we made. Unfortunately, some scars in our life that are the result of other people’s choices may also linger.

There is good news though—when we arrive in heaven we will be made completely whole. All of the scars we accumulate on earth will dissipate.

Maybe you are asking yourself, “Does God want us to have scars?”

No, I honestly don’t believe he does. Unfortunately, because of the brokenness of this world, scars are an inevitable part of life. Yet, He loves us in spite of our scars. And, if we allow Him access to those tattered areas, He will begin the healing process. Furthermore, He can help us use our life lessons from those wounds to minister to others as they deal with similar issues and similar scars.


Yes, Memaw’s reclaimed cedar chest reflects God’s grace; a gift freely extended to everyone.

Have you accepted His gift of grace?

Today is a perfect day to be reclaimed by God’s grace.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

If you have questions about accepting God’s gift of grace, I invite you to check out this link from the Billy Graham organization.

~ Jill

  • all cedar chest photos are from my personal collection.
  • the photo hosting the title and credit is compliments of

4 thoughts on “How a Reclaimed Cedar Chest Reflects God’s Grace

  1. This is just what I’ve been dealing with as a pastor’s wife. Sometimes people, including me, need reminders that God loves us unconditionally and He is aware of everything and is lovingly restoring us. Thanks for writing this wonderful reminder of God’s grace and love.


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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s