Friday, February 10, 2017

When a Home Makeover Becomes a Heart Makeover

If you see me babying my right arm, don't worry. I'm OK.
You see, I did a lot of painting yesterday. And since I am not ambidextrous - well - my right arm got quite a workout. So it's a little sore now.
But so worth it!
Yeah, because in addition to good progress being made on the house we're getting ready to sell - oh, did God use that time to continue His good work in my heart.
See, the thing is, I wasn't actually excited about going over to the house to paint. That is, I would have rather done just about anything else. I mean the house is dirty, no one else would be there to make the work seem like it was going faster, I'm always cold when I'm there, I was doing just fine taking care of laundry and other chores in the comfort of my home, and - quite frankly - I really didn't feel like getting paint all over myself. (Always happens, no matter how careful I am...)
But guilt had the last say, and I left what I'd rather to do accomplish what I ought to do.
There. I said it.
Anyway, as I was painting I received a text message from an organization for which I pray. The text was to alert me to pray for emergency housing for two very young children and their mother who are facing immediate homelessness. So in my heart I was suddenly joined by a frightened and desperate family, and I began praying for them. And after a couple of hours of painting and praying, I packed up and started for home. That is, I lugged the vacuum cleaner down the stairs, turned the heat down (Yeah, that part about always being cold when I'm over there? Easily fixed by cranking up the thermostat.) and made a couple trips to the van to load everything up.
The back and forth outside got me quite chilly again, so I turned up the heat in the van - and that was just about the time God's Spirit got through to mine.
It was as if He said, Do you realize what you just did, dear? It was so easy for you to solve your problem of being cold. I acknowledged that it was, indeed, easy. And then He brought that family back to my mind. The one I'd been praying for while I was begrudgingly painting the house I didn't want to paint. The one who currently doesn't have a home. Who probably would be delighted to stay in that house - in spite of the mess, and the need for new carpet, and the in-the-midst-of-repair-walls-which-also-need-paint, and the chill in the air. Because the furnace works, and makes the house toasty.
My very next thought was the recognition that I am way more fortunate than I realize. I was driving my van across town from the house I used to live in to the one in which I currently live. I was driving - not walking, or taking a bus, or looking for a ride - and I was warmed by the heater, and I had ingredients waiting for me at home with which I would make dinner for my family. My family - which may be imperfect, and may have struggles, but we're healthy and we're together. I have the resources to buy gas for my van, the physical ability to climb on chairs to paint high places - not to mention the ability to lug a vacuum cleaner up and down stairs, from one house to the other. Yeah, and I have a really great vacuum cleaner. Even that's got a wonderful God-story behind it!
In my moment of clarity I began to understand that God was willing my thankfulness and gratitude into being. I had been wallowing in a pit of woe-is-me, I-have-to-do-work-I-don't-want-to-do and was fully neglecting my need to be thankful.
(And, yes, I believe it is a need.)
Because when I'm rolling around in self-pity all of my focus in on me, my troubles, and how "bad" I have it. But when I start being thankful my gaze shifts upward. I start looking at God and recognizing how generously He has provided for me. When I give thanks to God, I am reminded of His faithfulness - and I remember no matter what I have, or do not have, God is good.

Oh, how I want to live with a thankful heart. Every moment of every day.
Because God is good. All the time!


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