21 Jun

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” wasn’t my family’s Golden Rule; “If it’s broke, fix it, and fix it again before you throw it away” was.

With grandparents who went through the depression, this was one of our Ten Commandments right up there with “Never pay full price for anything” and “You better have a really good reason for buying something brand new.”

All four of my grandparents have long since passed away, yet I continue to live by these economizing principles. They have evolved into a game for me. It’s a challenge to see how inexpensively I can accomplish tasks and replace needed items. Maybe it’s the primeval hunting impulse combined with my northern European upbringing. Whatever the source, economizing is part of who I am.

Although my family is no longer in the “have not” camp, we still watch and squeeze every penny. Today I took apart our patio chair cushions. (The whole set– glass table, umbrella/stand, 2 gliders, 4 chairs, and 6 cushions– cost me $40 on an on-line resale site!) Covered with a faded print from 1990 the cushions had several rips, so I had a good excuse to update them. (If they were in good condition, changing them for fashion’s sake would be blasphemy.) I cut the fabric away to find the inner fiber-foam intact but full of green mold and algae.

AlgaeNothing that a dunk in bleach water couldn’t fix! I submerged and agitated them in a large tote with my garden rake. The nearby chain link fence made a sturdy rinsing and drying rack. Four times I went over each section with the “jet” setting on the hose nozzle and watched the nasty greenies run down the length of each cushion.


Four times seemed like enough rinsing, but I still wondered if they were completely clean. What if the first rain brings out hidden green stains to the surface discoloring my new fabric? Maybe I should do the entire process all over again? My back told me “no” (saturated cushions are VERY heavy!) and my head told me I would probably never get them as clean as new. If I had wanted brand new, I should have thrown these out and visited the garden center.

WhiteAnd so they hang on the fence very white-looking and bleaching out a little more in the sun while I sit inside sewing new covers.

They remind me of my heart. Scrubbed clean with Jesus’ blood-bleach. The old has gone, the new has come. I am a new creation! He has washed me!! My heart is true and clean!!!

While I am washed clean, I also look forward to being being made completely new. Here’s where the analogy to the cushions breaks down. Right now, this very moment, I am brand new. But I also live in this world tainted with sin. However, there is a time and place coming – eternal life – when everything will be made new! A complete and total do-over! This “now and not yet” is both fulfillment and promise, position and hope, inheritance and dowry.

I deserve to wear rags, but my wedding gown is white.



The One who redeems me, who sees me as pure and clean, is also my bridegroom… and worthy of all my worship. To Him I am not a do-over, I am brand new, clothed in fine white linen.


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