My wife, Lori and I were in Tokyo for only a couple days, so we asked Lori’s brother, Mike and sister-in-law, Pandora--who have lived in Japan for a few years--to show us the sights.  They proceeded to take us to what seemed like every thrift shop in Japan.  Yes, thrift shops.  I’m not a big fan of thrift shops.  My perspective tends toward the side of seeing the merchandise as “one person’s trash” rather than “another person’s treasure.”  So, while Lori, Mike and Pandora perused the shops, I stayed in the car and got a lot of reading done.

But there was one thrift shop I actually had to go in.  I couldn’t resist, it was awesome, I loved it!  The store was called, “Shabby Chic.”  It’s actually a chain of thrift shops that started in 1989 in Santa Monica, California by an entrepreneur named Rachel Ashwell.  Ashwell says this about her products:  “We painstakingly restore vintage treasures while protecting the character of time worn beauties. All are a true labor of love.”

So, in Shabby Chic you will find items like bedroom dressers with fourteen coats of paint on them, much of the pain chipped off to reveal previous coats painted years or decades before.  They look like the  furniture Mom would make us paint, hoping the coat would allow it to last another year or two until we might be able to afford to get some new furnishings. 

My sister-in-law quipped, “Those dressers sell for a thousand bucks.”  Sure enough, the price tag on the chest of drawers read $1,190 or $1,250 and even $2100!  “The dents, chips and cracks make them more valuable than something brand new,” Pandora explained.  “They’re not old, they’re vintage!”

When Pandora wasn’t looking, Lori and I bought her a gift—a simple old handkerchief—that was $20! 

Ashwell says, “I pride myself on continuing to sell products that gather memories and have the quality and aesthetics to become heirlooms.”

Here’s why I loved that store:  It reminded me that we’re all “shabby chic.”  I’ve got dents and scars and bruises and blemishes.  I’ve seen lots of coats of paint over the years.  I may look worn and shabby, but I’m a “time worm beauty” and so are you.  Your nicks and scrapes and dents and dings make you more valuable, not less.  We’re all God’s shabby chic treasures.

The Apostle Paul put it this way: 

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us…”

—Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)


We are all God’s labor of love, no matter how beat up or worn out or tattered or torn we may feel, we’re not too shabby, we’re shabby chic!

JD Pearring, all rights reserved by me!