Hello! I’ve so missed spending a few minutes here and there with you on this little piece of internet real estate. I’d like to say that I’m back to blogging weekly, but I know better, in part because major house projects still loom.
As in, I bought one last month. After months and months of searching and 4 failed offers, I purchased a place. Not just any place mind you. The place I’m quite sure God was saving for us all along. It’s more perfect than I could have imagined, having elements I didn’t even realize would be beneficial. But that’s for a different day (assuming I put the hammer down long enough again to come hang with you here).
Now when I say perfect, many of you will start envisioning things that are fully inaccurate, like a manicured lawn or a fancy chandelier hanging from the dining room. Let me put all those illusions to the side and displace them with two words:
Ok, I can’t resist. Let me throw in a few more to complete the picture.
Pink shag carpet.
Wet, that is from said cat that once belonged to the cat lady. Who cruised through the house in a power wheelchair. And destroyed walls and doors in the process.
Oh, and wallpaper. Yes, wallpaper. Remember that stuff that our moms once glued with a vengeance to every possible surface? My house came replete with the textured variety, rippling its way down nearly every wall from floor to ceiling, stopping only where the cat claimed its domain.
A carpet guy met me at the house right after I closed, ripping out that odor-filled, 80’s loving flooring. While he pried it up, we ripped down that oh-so-beautiful (not!) stuff off the walls. Lucky us, we even got a double batch of wallpaper in the kitchen. Oh, the joy!
In the tearing down process, I learned one key piece of information. My on-its-way-to-perfect house once was a model home. You would think that would serve me well, and in some regards it does, but as far as the wallpaper goes, the whole model home thing hurt. Apparently that good ol’ paper stuff got slapped right onto the drywall. No, I mean, right on.
Without texturing the walls first.
I’m a “eh, oh, well,” kind of a girl. I figured some smooth walls wouldn’t cause any issues, but when my foreman (otherwise known as my dad who, along with my mom, has graciously volunteered every ounce of his time and energy to the daunting task of removing every odor while making this place into a place of love and beauty) showed me the one small portion of the house that somehow had been saved from perils of wallpaper, I could see every divet in the drywall. Bumps were obvious and I could even tell exactly where the carpenters drove in nails, way back when. So, on Day 2 of renovations, I decided to succumb to The Texture Truck (along with an unexpected cost for said professionals).
Knowing a big chunk of my renovation budget was about to get sprayed across my walls, I tried making the best of it. At least we don’t have to work so hard getting all of the wallpaper down, I secretly reasoned. After all, it’ll just get plastered over.
But oh, no! Texture Man numbers 1, 2 and 3 all told me that the smoother the walls were prior to texturing, the better the final product would be (yes, I’m a stubborn lot and had to get three professional opinions on this simple matter).
Say what? The smoother the wall, the better the bumps? Said foreman agreed with dudes 1-3, and so began the tedious art of smoothing what was about to become bumpy.
The wallpaper had peeled off without a problem. It was the glue that caused all kinds of problems This whole second layer behind the wallpaper apparently thought the wall was its firstborn and clung on with everything possible. No, it wasn’t good enough to get most of the backing off. We had to get every piece of it.
Let me repeat: every. single. piece.
Even the ones nine feet high. While scrubbing from an extension ladder that swayed much too easily for my liking. Days passed as we sprayed adhesive remover, scrubbed, sprayed, cursed (okay, make that one singular since I might have been the only one tempted to do so), and scrubbed some more. On Day 1, we pulled off all of the wallpaper. Then on Day 2-6, we worked on removing the backing.
Truly. 5 days filled of that garbage.
And somehow in the delirium and tediousness of it all, a thought penetrated deep:
that is what the pursuit of holiness looks like.
For many of us, the transformation in our lives soon after accepting Christ was remarkable. It was obvious to others. It was like Day 1, the old getting torn down to brighten the room and make it look completely different than before.
But soon, the “removing of the backing” began, that process that typically feels tedious as we let God change those little things in us (or at least we’d like to believe that they’re relatively small and insignificant). We work on one area for quite some time, feeling like there is little progress. Finally, we think we get that spot cleaned up, only to find out that we have to revisit it not too long down the road.
Crazy, boring, tedious garbage.
Or at least that’s what I thought about cleaning those walls.
But remember how I started by describing my house? Yup. Perfect, or at least perfect for the kids and me. That even includes the walls, which are now painted in colors the three of us picked and match our temperaments perfectly. And under those beautiful shades of Antique White, Sweet Celadon Green, and Meditative Blue?
Why, there’s some beautifully textured walls, of course. And under that is the smoothest drywall you ever could see. Except for the fact that you can’t see it and you’ll never be able to. But somehow or other, therein lies the beauty,
the beauty of the tediousness of holiness.
So, my friend, wherever you are, keep pressing on.
Keep. Pressing. On.
Let the walls get scrubbed. Again.
Relent and release once more.
Take it from me, the girl who is surrounded by some great walls–and might I add, a lot of other great stuff after a long string of really, really not fun life events– it’s worth it!
May we look to Him, even as He refines, molds and scrapes away, and even–or especially–in those tedious moments in the pursuit of holiness.
What about you? How do you feel about being transformed, especially on the parts that aren’t so glamorous? What’s helped you to keep being willing to be changed and cleansed, even when you don’t want to?