By Paulette Dickerson
First. You should know that for the past several years, I have been a home renter. Not owner. For those of you who have experienced renting, you already know… There are just some imperfections that you are going to have to expect. Some you have to live with, and some that make you tilt your head and say, “huh!?”
For me, my big head tilter in the past two houses I have been in, has been paint. Paint that seems to be splattered everywhere. Paint in colors I can’t even find in the layers on walls. Paint spots that make me a little crazy and are on surfaces where removal (as a renter) is almost impossible. Sometimes I think someone must have come in to paint, turned on the disco music and had a little Dance Fever all over my house all while holding a loaded paint brush!
Our last house told the unfinished story of the reddish, brownish, color of dried blood paint….. It was EVERYWHERE outside! Back porch, patio, fence and driveway. A few spots inside. NO WHERE inside or out were there signs of anything EVER being red.
The house we are currently in? This house tells the story of the hunter green paint. And goodness gracious, it is everywhere! This house is over one hundred years old. It has a lovely old fashioned concrete porch. Obviously that porch was at one time painted the traditional hunter green. But why in the world is the green paint all over the inside of a house that has been completely redone?
When we moved in, I was absolutely certain that we would NOT be using the attic. (Refer to reference above. Over ONE HUNDRED YEARS old. Ummm yeah….) I was determined. Until…. I was faced with renting a storage unit just to store our now empty storage tubs. Well that seemed more ridiculous than braving the attic. So I did what any strong, brave, determined single mom would do. I told my son to do it.
Turns out, it actually is not that bad!! (All the praise hands go UP!) Just a little work with a broom made it possible to get everything we needed up there. (And by “we” I mean my son.)
And there it was. The GREEN paint. Gallons of it! It was everywhere! And the story almost told itself.
There were old paint cans in the attic. Green paint to be exact. There was green paint on the attic floor. Green paint coming down the attic stairs. Green paint on the air vent in front of the attic stairs. Green paint where it had rolled into the room that my son is now using. Green paint spots marking the path to the front door. Green paint smeared across the now gray concrete porch. I am no forensics expert, but………
I cannot help but feel sorry for the person who watched that paint can roll down stairs, spilling and marking everything in its path. The panic of trying to frantically clean it before it dried. The chaos of even trying to figure out how to clean it as it was already drying on walls and floors.
If you know me, you know I am going to find the lessons and meaning in all of this. I too have had my own paint mishaps. Some big, some little. All leading to the initial shock and panic of trying to fix the problem before things are forever ruined.
And there it is. The meaning. The lesson. There are times when things happen. Things that make an absolute mess of our lives. Sometimes they are complete and unforeseeable accidents. We are victims. Other times, they happen because of our own carelessness and unwise decisions. But messy, stain leaving things ARE going to happen. The question becomes how do we respond?
Do we immediately own up to the reality? Do we choose repentance, forgiveness and release so that we can see and hear quickly and clearly what to do? Or do we get lost in the shock and pain of the moment? Do we become muddled and slow because we have allowed the circumstance to overwhelm us and keep us from hearing and seeing what needs to happen next?
My prayer for all of us, is that we would learn to fix our eyes in His. Set our faces as flint. So that no matter the hurt, the problem, loss or crisis, we would choose peace and not panic. That we would be able to deftly and with loving agility help clean up the paint. The stains that will happen. And to do it with such love that it always directs the eyes of the wounded back to Him.
So, my kids and I are continuing to clean up the stains and the splatters around here. It has ceased to be an overwhelming job. We are just tackling one spot at a time. Knowing with absolute certainty that we will eventually leave this house, a better home for the family that will come next. (But we might just leave a couple green spots for remembrance.)
Ephesians 5:25 just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify the church, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word [of God], 27 so that [in turn] He might present the church to Himself in glorious splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy [set apart for God] and blameless.
Ephesians 3:16 May He grant you out of the riches of His glory, to be strengthened and spiritually energized with power through His Spirit in your inner self, [indwelling your innermost being and personality], 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through your faith. And may you, having been [deeply] rooted and [securely] grounded in love, 18 be fully capable of comprehending with all the saints (God’s people) the width and length and height and depth of His love [fully experiencing that amazing, endless love]; 19 and [that you may come] to know [practically, through personal experience] the love of Christ which far surpasses [mere] knowledge [without experience], that you may be filled up [throughout your being] to all the fullness of God [so that you may have the richest experience of God’s presence in your lives, completely filled and flooded with God Himself].