Growth/Maturity, Preparation, Restoration, Stress, Submission/Surrendering, Trials


“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 NIV

One of my hobbies includes furniture restoration. I was speaking to my mother the other day about restoring a dining room set she gave me. I expressed to her my insecurities of staining or painting it because of a failed attempt to restore an old desk I found some years ago. When I found the desk, it was thrown on the curb, but I saw potential. I could see where it would go in my living room and how it would serve as a functional piece in my home. I dragged it home, had my husband patch up a hole in the back and we prepped it with primer. After the primer dried we painted it a rich ebony color and I was ecstatic about it. A few months later the paint began to wear off. The area of the desk we use and rely on the most is worn and the old part of the desk is showing. Explaining this to her I said, “Mom you know what? I forgot to sand it!” Her reply was, “The condition of what’s underneath will determine the longevity of your finish.”

I was slapped with an EMPOWERMOMENT! God found me on the side of the road and saw potential! He saw where I fit into His kingdom, and how I would serve a functional place in His home. But He has to sand me first…OUCH!

The purpose of sanding, especially reclaimed or unfinished wood (insert shout here), is to prepare the foundation to withstand and absorb the permanent stain. Sanding removes the entire old finish, and sometimes there are layers and layers of old stuff. Sand paper has various grades. Some grades are not as rough and they are used to sand areas that do not require much smoothing. Other grades are heavy duty and are very abrasive, but their purpose is to smooth out the tough patches. They are used when the wood is rough or “resistant” to softer grades.

My friend, if you resist God’s pruning, instruction, chastisement, denials (yes, there are some), and delays, He can’t sand you for the proper finish. A finish that will be long-term. Are you wondering why He denied your opportunity for that car or home purchase, why He removed that man, why He did not allow you to be employed at a certain place, or why He has even placed you in a “desert” period in your life? God is sanding you! Peter reminds us in his first letter, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” I Peter 5:10 NIV. He knows that you are struggling and you can ask for comfort during your sanding process, but that will NOT eliminate the sanding.

For some of us it requires the heavy duty sand paper to ensure our foundation is smooth. I often wonder why God would keep dealing with me in certain areas such as my mouth. Well this area requires much “sanding” because it is a high traffic area, the area that He will use to His glory the most! So if it is not sanded properly, I will not have a sustained “finish.” I will continue to revert to murdering souls with my words opposed to speaking life.

I’ve found that simple furniture only requires a quick sanding. In my case that would be something like helping the needy. I have a giving heart so being obedient in this area is easier for me. But furniture with intricate detail, which will serve multiple purposes, and will ultimately bring life into my home, may require days and long hours of sanding. This would be self-control of my mouth!

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 NIV. In the end, the stain, the permanent finish, and the final product have a lifelong glow but it must be sanded first…OUCH!

Dear Daddy,

I come to You with honesty, sharing with You that sanding hurts. It’s abrasive and it makes me cry at night, feel lonely, and sometimes I can’t even see the light at the end of the tunnel. But there is more truth, I know that this pain is temporary and that You are growing and preparing me for the finish! You are preparing me to handle those blessings that You have for me. God I ask that while I’m in the process, help me to hear, accept, and act on the things that You will have for me to learn. Thank You God for being faithful, being a comforter, and a sustainer of peace. For I know that all things will work out for my good (Romans 8:28). In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Girlfriend, I EMPOWER you not to resist your sanding, but rest in the truth of knowing that God knows your desires. Delight yourself in Him by being content in the place He has you, by praising Him in the pit, and worshipping Him because of who He is, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Has God taken you through a sanding? Encourage one another by sharing one of your sanding experiences below.

Meditate on James Chapter 1

Read a related Empowermoment: The Olive Press Series


As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She and her husband serve as Co-Service leaders and Co-Group leaders of SustainedLove, which supports marriage get-a-ways from Family Life. Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their energetic four-year old daughter. They attend Vaughn Forest Church.  Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

14 thoughts on “Sandpaper”

  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you…that was Powerful! I have learned that God is not a God of comfort zones. He will prune me, stretch me, chastise me and it is all for my good and His glory. He wants me to be sustained, complete, with Godly and holy character that pleases Him and reveals His nature to the World! It is an uncomfortable experience at times, being disciplined, denied, warned but it is so needed and I know He does it because He loves me….He is the author and finisher of my Faith!

    1. Amen!!! We often confuse “God of comfort”. While He will soothe us, especially in a time of storm, His mission to perfect us in never loss. And that means sometimes we have to go through rough patches.

      I’m blessed that you were blessed. Thank you for reading!

    1. Thank you Beverly. It’s amazing how I read these and feel the spirit guide. I was overwhelmed writing this because God was just pouring out his message and I was blessed!

  2. I shared this with my mother on yesterday, telling her about the message and how she inspired it. She went on to tell me about a piece she was refinishing herself. She began to talk about how old pieces (the older you get) tend to take more work because the stain or paint has been on there for so long. She even mentioned that once you get underneath the top layer, you may even find there are various types of wood (issues and characteristics) that have been mended together to make an item “look” good. So you have to sand through old glue and molding (old soul ties). I was floored. She ended our conversation with, “Well you know Jesus was a carpenter!” I shouted right there!! Although I knew this, I didn’t even think about it when I wrote this piece.Talk about confirmation, Thanks Mom, if you see this. God is good!

  3. What an empowering moment! Knowing that the abrasive paper is for those more troublesome spots is encouraging to my journey. Thanks for letting God use you!

  4. Hello Kay, point well taken. How Long did it take me to learn that! God is not just a God of Comfort! I am learning he uses everything in my life to witness or help others. Even the most minute experience. For me what I felt was the most traumatic time in my life has been the fuel that keeps me going, the will to make me press on, the voice to speak up when i must, the wisdom when I have choices to make and even peace in the mist of a storm. Thanks…when i am being sanded next time i will pay attention to what he is teaching me instead of how bad it hurts.

    1. AMEN!! That’s another take away for me, to “pay attention to what he is teaching me instead of how bad it hurts.” Thank you for supporting and sharing.

  5. Thanks Kay,
    This EM couldn’t have come at such a better moment. I love God so much for using the heavy duty sandpaper where I need it most so that my foundation is smooth. Spectacular empowermoment!

    1. Hi Sheka, what’s even more interesting is that we actually can “thank” Him for using the heavy duty sandpaper. That is definitely a sign of maturity. While it may seem odd, its part of the definition of submission! Thank you for blessing me with your comment!

  6. Thanks Kay…Your em has really touched me. God is sanding me right now. At first I had no understanding of the bumps, hurdles,& bruises Im receiving. Your message gave me clarity & acceptance.

    1. Amber, I often find that most of the time I have NO CLUE as to the exact reason, but what I know now is that I have faith in knowing that whatever the reason, I must persevere to the finish, no matter what! I am glad God confirmed some things for you, that just makes me love Him all the more when He brings forth clarity in my dim situations. Keep walking in faith!

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