My mom and Step dad arrive from Florida today. They have not seen our new house, and we have all been working feverishly to get it presentable for their arrival, and also for the arrival of about 30 of Mike's family members for Thanksgiving day. Mike has been painting bathrooms, hallways and doors and ripping out bathroom sinks. He has been working 12 hours a day, this past week 7 days, and yet in every spare moment he has lovingly worked on this house for me.
I have been so thankful and purposeful in telling him how much I appreciate all his hard work...until last night. Yesterday, as I pondered what my day would look like today, here's what ended up on my list: laundry, sweep, mop, clean bathrooms, change sheets, vaccuum, dust, pick up a few things at kroger, and then get ready to head to the airport later this afternoon to pick up my parents. We have been straightening all week, so the house has stayed pretty clean-I was expecting a quiet evening last night, planning to sit down about 8:30 (after the babies were in bed) to work on my menu/grocery list and a to type up some trivia for some thanksgiving day games. Well, there's a Bible verse that begins, "We can make our plans.."
When Mike came home from work about 5:45, he immediately set to ripping up the carpet in our foyer. Some dear friends of ours have a flooring business, and had given us beautiful hard wood planks to lay in our foyer,along with tile for our schoolroom floor and kitchen counters. We've had all these materials for about two months, but due to one thing or another, we had not started any of the above projects. Until, of course, last night-hours away from my parents arriving and days away from a houseful of guests. Anyway, last night was the chosen time by my dear husband, who casually said, "this should just take a couple of hours." "Will you need any help?" I asked. "Oh, maybe just a little." Then the fun began. I was happily preparing homemade pizza, which Mae remarked, is ALMOST as good as Dad's, and Mike began to cut and tear up the carpet with his assistant, Noah. The previous owners had told us that there was concrete under the carpet, so when Mike yelled, "Hey!! come look at this!" Mackenzie and I both answered," Hardwood under the carpet?!?" No, no, no... what was before us was far more interesting..brick red linoleum-in shiny, pristine condition-the design was something that looked like flat rocks (red) with gray grout. Back in 1979, when the house was built, I'm sure many folks entered the foyer of this home and thought, "OOOHHH, that's some fine red rock linoleum you've got there!" And the original owners, I'm sure, beamed with pride. I took one look at it and said, "can you say, 1970 something?" Mackenzie said, "Can you say Brady Bunch?" Mae thought it was the most beautiful thing she had ever laid eyes on and asked, "Can we just leave THAT floor?" Everyone looked at her and in unison said, "NO!!"
In hind sight, Mae may have had the best idea....Mike and Noah went to work attempting to peel up the linoleum. I guess I should have worried when Mike walked past me in the kitchen towards the garage and came back with an armful of crowbars and hammers Then the chipping and pounding began. The linoleum obviously was NEVER meant to be removed. I am certain it must have been glued down with pure cement, or something much stronger. A third chisel and hammer were added to the mix, and Mae began chipping as well-it looked like we were having an archaeological dig in my foyer. Lexie was picking up linoleum chips and filling a bucket with them, Norah was happily watching from her high chair, Mackenzie was waiting for her turn with th crowbar and I was just watching....watching linoleum chips fly all over the living room-covering the couch, table and floor. Watching chips fly into the kitchen-onto the table, Norah's highchair, into the dog dish...and watching as a layer of dust settled on everything in the house.
It would be great if all I was doing was watching, but I wasn't. I was thinking. It would have been great if I was thinking, "Wow, my husband is the best. I'm so glad he came home and started this today. He is so thoughtful. He worked all day, yet he is still thinking of how I want everything to be perfect for our company." But I am ashamed to say, that is not what I was thinking. I was like a pot put to boil on the stove..steadily growing hotter and hotter-thinking, instead: "I can't believe he decided to start this tonight. Now it's 10:30-I guess I can forget any of the stuff I wanted to get done tonight. He is so thoughtless for starting this TONIGHT! I am going to be so stressed out tomorrow trying to deal with this mess..and then the house is going to looked like a bomb dropped in it when my parents walk in...." Mike interupted my thoughts.
"I'm sorry...I had no idea this would be so hard to get up. You'll have to have the kids scrape up this glue tomorrow..and then hopefully I can get the floor laid Wednesday when I get home from work." I would love to say that was the point at which I realized what a big baby I was being and said, "yes, dear, of course!" But instead I blurted out, "You know, I DID have other things planned for the kids to help me with tomorrow. " The kids all looked at me wide eyed. I grabbed a crowbar and began to chisel at that stupid linoleum. We worked until nearly midnight, the floor was finally up, and everyone headed for bed. Sadly, I did not even think at that point, that I had been wrong. I had even called my mom and two friends to whine about what was going on at my house, and about my poor pitiful me status. Poor and Pitiful is absolutely right. This morning when I woke up, several HOURS after Mike had been up and out the door for a full day of work, I walked into the foyer and looked at the bare concrete. "Well at least that's done. " I thought, somewhat smugly. Then, I promise, as clear as if He was standing right next to me, It was as if the Lord said, "No.It's just the beginning..I've got soo much work to do with you-Where did you put that crowbar?" I actually stopped and just stood there a second. Then images flooded my mind of the potter at work at his wheel, creating, crushing, recreating his work...
I thought about every verse I had ever read about our tongues and our words....Every verse I'd ever read about plain old kindness. I had been given the opportunity to bless my husband as his helper last night in a project he really was doing for me, and I failed miserably. I had been given the opportunity to show joy and contentment in front of my children, and I failed. I had been given the opportunity to set my own selfish plans aside, and I failed.
It's funny how things like that happen when we think we're doing pretty good. I am ashamed that I acted that way. That I didn't heed God prodding me the whole time we were up to our eyeballs in linoleum chips and dust to check my heart attitude. I know he was prodding me, I was just refusing to heed. Iam humbled as I look at that floor, thinking of all the chiseling God has to do with me. Chipping and hammering and scraping away all the junk. I am so Thankful that he hasn't given up on me, that he hasn't even once thought, "you know, this stuff they used back in 1973, it's just too hard to chip off, I'll just leave it alone..."
Thank you Lord for your patience with me. Thank you for the dear, sweet and patient husband you've given me. Thank you for my precious children, help me to be a better example to them of your love, patience, kindness and gentleness.
This morning, I can already hear Noah hard at work..chiseling and scraping at the glue...just like his father asked. Lord, help me to listen better, and just do the things you ask of me.
I know today I need to start with asking for forgiveness from both Mike and the children.
Keep chiseling away Lord, So that there will continue to be more of you and less of me...
"Go down to the potter's shop, and I will speak to you there. So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as h e had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over. Then the Lord gave me this message, " O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand."
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer." Psalm 19:14
"You must be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls." James 1:19-21
"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God. This is how the holy women of God made themselves beautiful. They trusted God and accepted the authority of their husbands." 1 Peter3:3-5
"Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies, her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:10-12
"The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us as we deserve. For His unfailing love towards those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For He knows how weak we are, He remembers we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we `bloom and die. The wind blows and we are gone-as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. " Psalm 103:8-17
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