Monthly Archives: May 2014

A Fresh Coat of Paint

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I very recently (like last weekend) finished a rather cumbersome project in my house. Inspired by a dwindling budget and a few too many memories of afternoons watching Trading Spaces, I put on my Super Hero cape, threw away some formerly bad attitudes and tackled what I once saw as impossible. With paint brush and roller in hand and lots of time to just think as I painted, lots of memories came flooding back to me through the paint fumes…

 

When I was a little girl, I got such great joy from a new coloring book and a fresh box of never, used crayons! A blank picture just waiting for me to add my own little twist of color still puts a smile on my face! Some of my first memories include sitting down with my mother as we shared a coloring book. I’d watch carefully as she would first outline each picture on the page with a dark line of the color of her choice. Then she’d either lightly color it in or boldly add color inside what she had so carefully outlined. Her pictures were always awe inspiring to me. I wanted to some day color just like her but I can remember my pictures never looking quite as beautiful as anything my Mom colored.

 

I just knew it was impossible!!

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My love for coloring has carried into my adult life. God gave me a love for color…however, I must’ve had my head in a coloring book when He was passing out true artistic abilities. I can draw a mean stick house complete with a winding front sidewalk surrounded by little flowers. And my little stick family that lives in that little stick house? They’re pretty awesome too! So when some friends and I planned a night of “paint party” fun, I was really excited….until we learned that this masterpiece we were about to paint was going to have very little guidance. Most of those popular “paint party” places offer step by step instructions as everyone in attendance paints the same picture. But the studio we were in, thanks to a great deal on Groupon, was a “ See this picture? Cool! Now paint it” sort of place. Uh oh!

 

I just knew it was impossible!!

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With all this love for making things in my life colorful, it surprises me that for most of my adult life, I have lived in homes where I was begrudgingly content with dull beige walls. For years, I have visited friends homes where every room was a different shade of some magnificent color. I’d leave these beautiful, colorful homes and come back to my monotone walls and sink into my “I can’ts” and “I don’t wanna’s””

 

“I can’t afford to pay someone to paint my house for me”…”I can’t possibly do this myself! I’m afraid of ladders!”…”I can’t find the time to even think about what color to paint”…”I can’t possibly get it all done in a weekend so why bother”…”I don’t wanna do that much manual labor!”…”I don’t wanna get paint on my clothes”…blah blah blah

 

I can’t…

               I can’t…

                             I can’t…

 

I just knew it was impossible!

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As I stood there on the second rung of my step ladder (the third is just too super scary!!) with paint brush and steady hand, cutting in “Mushroom Bisque” or “Green Tea” like the pro I am, it hit me. I had overcome something huge to get to this point.

My S E L F – S T O P P E R!!!

How many times in my life have I known I needed to do something…anything…and excuse after excuse as to why I can’t do it surfaced? I’ve wanted to paint my house since we moved in 8 years ago. But I stopped myself with negative thoughts and fear of falling off ladders, blah de blah de blah. This is just one example. I’ve let negative thoughts stop me from going to back to college in my 40’s. I’ve let negative thoughts keep me from going on mission trips even with thoughts of the precious orphaned babies I could hold and love on while there. I could bawl a bucket of tears thinking of the children I’ve missed ministering to because of my self stopper. My list could continue for days but you get my drift here.

 

Romans 12:21 says “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

 

Was my fear of making a royal mess of my house by painting it myself “evil”? Is feeling I’m too old and dumb to tackle college again “evil”? Is not liking to sweat or having to use bathroom facilities that aren’t up to par while in a foreign country “evil”? Nope…not one bit. But there’s a “but” here and it’s a biggie.  This “baby’s got back”!   (Sorry, y’all but I couldn’t resist!) Those thoughts in and of themselves aren’t evil BUT the one who put those negative thoughts and fears in my pretty little head IS! We have an enemy who is very evil and he enjoys nothing more than to see us fail or not even start something that might possibly bring even an ounce of glory to God.

 

A 50 year old woman finally finishing her college degree would be a huge God thing…at least for THIS 50 year old woman!

 

Mission trips, bringing the love of Christ to those who are orphaned or widowed or needy in any way shines a big old light of glory onto God!

 

And y’all, yes…even this formerly self-stopped painter can bring glory to God through every roll of paint on the walls of my house. It took me 9 weeks to get the main living areas of our house painted. This was a sacrifice of my time. A sacrifice of my energy… I was an exhausted mess at the end of every painting day. But through all this sacrificing, I was wildly reminded of the One who made a much more humungous sacrifice for me. When my arms ached and I didn’t think my feet could stand on that ladder for one more second, I thought of the pain Jesus endured on the cross for this little old Self Stopper. As I sit now and look at the colors we chose to paint our home, I THOUGHT it was inspired by a rug I recently purchased. But there’s more here…

 

My Green Tea bathroom and dining room reminds me of the everlasting life I have in Christ.

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My Mushroom Bisque hallways and living room remind me of the cross.

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My sunny yellow Jackfruit kitchen reminds me that I am Daughter of the One True King, the SON of God!

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And this fabulous Awning Red accent wall that runs across the living room and into the breakfast nook reminds me that Jesus loves me so much that He shed His blood for me . That He saved Me from myself and my sinful nature.

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So take that evil!! I have , at least this once, OVERCOME you with GOOD!

 

Y’all the more we overcome evil with good, the easier it has to become. Right?   The more we do anything, the easier it gets.

So do it!

Paint over that doubt!

Paint over the “I can’ts”!

There’s not much more beautiful  than a fresh coat of paint!

Glory to God!

 

 

 

 

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Let’s Choose Chocolate!

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It was a busy day like all the rest. Meals to prepare. Laundry to finish. Faces to wipe. Diapers to change. Songs to sing. Games to play. Books to read. Crafts to complete. Hugs to give. Learning to guide.

During one of those really busy moments, I heard a sweet little voice coming from the bathroom…

“Mrs. Becky I’m done! Come help me please”

“Just a minute Sweetie. I’ll be there in a second” (I was in the midst of a very important load of laundry, you know!)

So I commenced with my laundry rotation . But because it was so quiet and because my brain was so full of things I needed to get done, instead of going straight to the bathroom to offer whatever assistance little Sweetie needed, I walked into the kitchen to wipe the counters or some other truly unimportant task. Then I heard it. A sound coming from the bathroom….

Leaving a 3 year old in need of assistance in a bathroom could’ve resulted in many different scenarios. There could’ve been toilet paper pulled completely off the roll and scattered all over the floor. There could’ve been hand soap smeared all over the mirror as torrents of water spilled over the sink. There could’ve been other things that were far worse and harder to clean up!  But what I found was almost as shocking.

She was sitting on the potty, patiently waiting for me……SINGING! I stood just outside the bathroom door and listened, trying to make out the song she was entertaining herself with. It wasn’t Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. It wasn’t the ABC Song. It wasn’t even Itsy Bitsy Spider. As I tuned up my ears, what I heard nearly brought a tear to my eye……

 

Come on and rain down on us. Rain down us Lord.”

 

Over and over…….

When I opened the door all the way to see this precious angel, she was not only singing this praise song, her hands were in the air and her eyes were closed. I promise…..I’m not making this up!!!

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Not your normal every day preschool sing along song but I was deep in the midst of preparing music for a women’s retreat. In trying to learn this new song I would be leading, I played it ad nauseum throughout the day. It was our lunch music. It was our dancing music. We made up hand motions for the song. And within a very short time, not only did I finally know the song, the children I kept during the day obviously had it memorized and were ready to spout it out like a fountain in moments of boredom!

:::S I G H:::

As I think back on this day, it causes me to stop and think of the stuff that flows out of my mouth…especially during those times I’m not getting my way or I’m having to be super patient. Is it as sweet as chocolate flowing from a fountain or is it as smelly and nasty as garbage falling out of a garbage truck hitting a speed bump? Am I singing praises or spouting ugliness? Am I lifting up those around me or crushing their spirits?

Then I have to stop and think….when my responses in times of waiting are , well, less than stellar, what am I filling my head with during the day? Because you know, what goes in, must come out. Sweet chocolate or disgusting garbage.

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Mmmmm….I like chocolate sauce!

When the baby just won’t stop crying, am I sitting in a corner crying with him or am I mustering up all the love I can find to bring comfort?

When the teenager is shoveling around an attitude that he surely picked up from who knows where , am I shoveling it back at him or am I responding back with grace and love?

When I’ve waited too long in line and my feet hurt and I can’t stand it one more minute…..or my patience has worn thin…..or it’s just been a long day and I want some quiet…..how am I responding to those who need or even demand my attention? How are YOU?

That initial gut reaction can so quickly become something you’ll regret….something you probably will wish you could take back. When I think of Little Miss Sweetness in the bathroom, she could’ve so easily changed her response to my lack of immediate attention by, oh, I don’t know…playing in the toilet, making a mess of the bathroom, screaming out of impatience, crying from unbearable boredom. But earlier in the day, she had been filled with a simple song that overflowed from her heart and when she needed it most, she reached into her tank

 

and poured out praise….

 

                                                              she poured out love….

 

she poured out thankfulness

 

I’m gonna close this little blog post with a video. It’s the song we were listening to that day and so many days before then. To this day, every time I hear this song I still think of that sweet baby girl waiting on me ever so patiently, singing like a little angel , praising Jesus in her own way…..from the toilet of all places. And I’m reminded how I need to work on waiting more patiently for attitudes to change , for things to work out as God wants them to, for each storm to pass. And I’m also reminded of how much I need to fill my fountain with good things so that when I need it most, the good things will flow out and splash on everyone within my reach!

 

Are your fountains flowing out “Chocolate” or “garbage”? Let’s choose chocolate!