This was created by Teresa Robertson. I am sharing it here with her permission.

Stripping  (used with the author’s permission)

I’ve been stripping.

Yes, stripping.

And sanding. (What did you THINK I meant?) I had five layers of paint to remove!

First, I tried a heat gun. It’s like a hair dryer on steroids. I heated the gun, held it the appropriate distance from the surface of the door, waved it back and forth, and when the paint bubbled up, I commenced scraping.


Bubble by bubble.

Two hours work resulted in about a 18 x 6 inch strip of wood being revealed.

(My thoughts moved to a parallel universe at this point. Just wait, Reader.)

I decided to use chemical stripping. Generally, chemical stripper eats the paint. One or two break the bonds between paint and wood. I chose a low odor citrus stripper and applied a coat. I gave it the 30 minutes as directed and began scraping. Only the top layer of paint came off. Rats. This stuff is $20 a half-gallon. Another thicker coat, most rest of the bottle, and about six hours mostly did the trick. Lots of scraping followed. 

Today I decided to sand the door with my orbital sander. It’s a messy process, so I connected the sander to my shop vac with duct tape, donned my respirator mask, and commenced sanding. Suddenly, my small sander got away from me, skidding across the door leaving marks. It was as if the door was fighting the coarse sand paper and the sander had a mind of its own.

Oooh, I revisited the parallel universe. A metaphor was being birthed.

Spinning, the sander followed the grain of the wood nicely then SLIP- flop, flop, flop until I brought it back under control. On inspection, I found gouges. Wood filler to the rescue. I flipped the door over and repeated the process.

Now, come with me to my parallel universe. We won’t be long.

Stripping is like recovery.

First, the heat is turned up. We get ourselves into messes that don’t clean up easily or work well (like the heat gun). It’s hot. It’s stressful. We realize the situation and decide to work harder; we try self help or self-medicating. This may work a bit. Inch. By. Inch. After all, Rosie the Riveter attitudes have worked in the past. But when our will power drains, we are back to square one. But, maybe I didn’t read the RIGHT self-help book. Let me see who is on the best- seller list. Let me try THIS other therapist. Let me try THIS other method. Let me just deny a problem even exists, hang the door back up and forget about it. After all, it wasn’t SO bad…

Life is out of control, Spinning like the wheel on my sander, dust flying everywhere. You think, Jesus was a carpenter. And pray to be repaired.

Then you sense the stripping really beginning. Layer by layer. Peeling away life hurts from the bone. Jesus never promised you wouldn’t feel pain, in fact He promised that just like Him, you’d suffer. But He would always be there, beside you…

Gouge. Chip. Crack. Splinter. Cost. Loss.

When I have control of the sander, a firm grip, I do okay. Relatively frequently it slips, spinning across the door. Slip… flop…flop…flop…another ding to repair. Another gouge to fill. Another mess to clean up.

How many times do I have to do this before I learn?

When Jesus is invited to the workshop, to take hold of the sander, He’s smooth. He’s skilled. No gouges. He peels layer by layer of hurt away. Layers Of colors that are painful to remember, hard to look at, awkward to recall. Gently He fills the gouges you made. Soothes the wounded raw wood of your life and gently smooths the surface.

Sanding hurts. Stripping hurts. It’s also a relief. He’s got this.

Chemical stripping hurts. Bonds must be broken; amends made. Confessions confessed. He’s got this.

He was a carpenter. He has the skills. The experience. The power to help us restore. Restore. Renew. Rebuild. (Isaiah) Rosie the Riveter is merely a poster child for failure. I can buy a new door. I can’t buy a new life.

– by Teresa Robertson

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