So … what color do you want to paint the walls?
My husband and our bathroom contractor both looked at me quizzically. I could tell they were expecting to give an immediate answer.
“Um … well … I don’t know. I’ll have to think on it.”
The contractor smiled and said, “I need to know in the morning. Just send me a text and I’ll pick up whatever color you like.”
After he left, I looked at Jon and said, “Who expects a woman to pick a paint color in just one evening?!”
Jon looked surprised. “I didn’t think you liked that bathroom wall color.”
“I don’t. But until two hours ago, I didn’t even know the bathroom walls were going to be painted. Now you want me to tell you the new color? Come on now! You gotta give a girl some time to think!”
Our bathroom renovation was not a planned project.
When we moved into this home, I told my husband that the first home improvement project I wanted to tackle was painting the walls, and I wanted to do it as soon as possible. Three years later, and several big home improvement projects later, I’m still wanting to paint the walls.
While painting is a relatively inexpensive way to freshen up or personalize a home, for most regular unprofessionals painting is nothing more than a big pain in the rear. There is more to it than just slapping around a brush. There are tedious tasks like taping the edges or removing all the switch plates from the walls. Painters must plan to spend much more time on the job than what you envision, as there are coats of primer and then several coats to be painted on every surface. Any drippings, and there are always drippings, must be cleaned immediately or the paint job will look messy and unprofessional.
No. As much as a part of me wants to embrace DIY projects like this, the bitter truth is that painting is not a fun afternoon activity. It consumes you and always costs more than you think in time, energy and extra supplies (like more tape or extra drop clothes). The end result, for me anyway, is more frustration than pleasure.
So while I may want new wall color, I do not want to actually paint.
Three weeks ago, the tiles fell off the bathroom wall.
Literally. A large section of tiles fell off the wall, clattering loudly into the bathtub. Lots of them, leaving a gaping hole right in the middle of our children’s shower.
This wasn’t the first time the tiles had decided to break loose in this particular bathroom either.
“What is the deal?” I fumed.
Jon took it more in stride (at least initially). “It’s no biggie,” he said. “We’ll get that guy we called last time. He can come out, slap on bit of grout on the wall and stick those babies back up in no time.”
“Whoa! Not so fast! Maybe we need another guy to look at it. After all, he has already repaired these tiles twice before and it didn’t work either time. What makes us think it will work this time?”
“You have a point.” Jon looked a bit dejected. “I guess I’ll call someone else. I just don’t want this to end up costing us an arm and a leg.”
“Okay. I admit you have a point as well. Maybe we can ask some of our friends with handyman skills to come out and give us a hand.”
So two pals came out, but instead of improving things, the bathroom tile issue turned into a bathroom wall fiasco. A few fallen tiles turned into ripping out everything surrounding the tub. Three weeks passed by, and bit-by-bit the old, out-dated bathroom became completely gutted. Eventually, we were looking at nothing but the studs and the backs of the exterior bricks.
Our easy bathroom repair had already cost us over $500 in materials, and neither Jon or I had a clue how to go about fixing the mess we were in. More than that, we had spent nearly a month with our family of NINE people sharing ONE bathroom. It was time to cry uncle, give up the fight, and get a contractor who understood bathrooms. Suddenly, instead of just fixing what was broken, I was getting an entire bathroom make-over.
Seems sort of strange but the reality of our situation is that Jon and I tried to repair a simple problem in our ugly bathroom by ourselves. We made such a terrible mess of things that the only solution was to get a professional, who stepped into our wreckage and in short-order turned it into something updated and beautiful.
As I ponder over this last month of sharing my master bathroom with seven kids, I’m pleased that the end result was an unexpected complete bathroom make-over. But as pleased as I am with my newly redone bath, I’m even more grateful for God’s renovations in my life, because let me tell you I’ve made some mighty big messes and God has always been faithful to step in and give me a heart and life renovation.
I love to tell about God’s faithfulness to me during a time when everything in my personal life fell apart. Over the course of just a few weeks, everything about my perfectly ordered world tumbled down until all that was left was a pile of rubble. My world turned flipped end over end until I could no longer tell up from down. Everything I knew to be true no longer felt like a stable foundation.
There I sat, among the shambles of what was once my life, wondering how to even start putting things back together again. In the quietness of that broken place, I heard a soft whisper resonating in my soul.
“Your brokenness will look different when I’m through.“
I remember deciding in that moment that I wasn’t going to ask God a lot of questions. No need to ponder the why’s, how’s and what if’s of my situation. Instead, I was going to choose to hand it all over to God and trust Him to fix it for me. It was a long lesson in faith, but on this side looking back all I can say is, “Oh, what a work He did in me!“
I don’t know how and I can’t say why, but I can tell you that God took my mess and gave me something new. And in the process, He fulfilled long lost dreams, provided second chances, and restored a hope for the future. It was amazing grace and sweet mercy all wrapped up into one.
Perhaps the best part of all, through that process I learned that when Jesus does your heart make-over, you don’t even have to pick the paint color!
He just covers your life in His fingerprints!
Give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes … Isaiah 61:3