Little Lessons

Sixty dollar dressers from Wal-mart are just a bad idea. Especially where small boys are concerned. I guess that was Lesson #1. The pathetic excuse for press board bottoms of each drawer had busted out of the frame and thus all the boys’ clothes has accumulated in an indistinguishable mass on their floor. It had been haunting me for weeks and when I realized that the shelving unit I wanted for their closet wasn’t in the budget well…

Lesson #2- Years of repressed creative energy, a recent run of good sleep, a horrendously messy bedroom and you tube video highlighting the genius of Annie Sloan chalk paint is enough to send your hormonal wife into a frenzied sprint of project-doing. 

Fine! I can’t purchase those drawers- I will find a way! And thus began Operation Boys’ Room. I already had paint so I was no longer content to just get their laundry organized. No… it was time for an overhaul. Which included wall paint, taking all the trim to white, refinishing the gigantic pine bunk bed and, of course, covering the inside of their door with pages from a Spanish bible and Mod Podge. With the husband in reluctantly enthusiastic camaraderie I dove in. Putting the boys to sleep in the extra loft bed in their sister’s room I envisioned them waking up to a fresh new room, complete with their names in white chalk on the wall and seeing the excited look on their faces.

Lessons #3- Where families are concerned, projects move like trains more than sports cars. Last year when my husband and I decided to lay our own patio we were encouraged by watching the you-tube video that described it as a “nice one day project”. Since then we have decided that you have to add a day for each child you have. Thus our patio was a four day project. But… I forgot. And so at 11:00 when I was exhausted (still nursing a baby) and the parts of the project remaining outnumbered the parts completed I was a little disappointed. 

That’s okay! I’ll finish tomorrow. But… that blasted trim! Ugh. Despite multiple tools and high quality paint, that trim was going to take two coats. I finished one and then came back around but it was too soon. I was just smearing around the first coat. Despite my greatest care and varied technique I was only making it worse. I just had to wait for it to dry.

Lesson #4- Some things take more then one pass and need time to set up. Lately, I’ve had to receive some hard truths and speak some hard truths. And you know what? Most of it didn’t take the first time. As it turns out, God has been speaking the same truths for all of human history and wouldn’t you know?… it doesn’t usually stick the first time. So, He patiently layers it on. Giving it time to set. He’s patient with the process and to be like Him means we need to learn to be patient too.

As it turned out the trim wasn’t the worst of it. That stupid, awesome looking, chalkboard paint has to cure for a week. WHAT!? A week! But I wanted to have this room finished before my husband’s four day weekend was over. I wanted to post pictures of it on Facebook and revel in my ingenuity and vision. A WEEK! Fine!- That’s just fine. It going to take me that long to transform their bunk bed into the focal point of this bedroom anyway. I’ll just make the best of it.

So… the morning finds me back downstairs with more white cabinet paint and miniature rollers ready to have at it. The family was fed, the audio lecture from the homeschool conference that I didn’t go to was prepped and I was ready to work… alone… without distraction. My husband looked at me over the red plastic paint pan…

“How’s your heart?”

What a dumb question! How’s my heart! For crying out loud. I just want to get to work!

Lesson #5- “I justs” are dangerous. After four kids and twelve years of marriage my husband and I have found when things feel stressful, when we feel annoyed and when our blessings start to seem like burdens lurking behind the scenes is usually an “I just”. Its the place of entitlement. The place where the what becomes more important than the why, the who or the how. There’s few things as effective of robbing us and others of joy than an “I just”.

He was right. (Don’t tell him. Hopefully he won’t read this blog). I was quick to send the kids out of the room. Not really open to other ideas or options and choosing to go about life in a way that isolated me from the rest of the family. So, I shut off the cd, turned on the worship music and invited my six year old to grab a roller and help me paint his bed.

Lesson #6- What we do with our children is usually of far greater value than what we do for them. Yes, it’s a pain in the butt to slow down, to risk the mess and to contradict our own compulsion to be efficient; but it’s worth it. We just painted, and worshiped, and yes… I got a little edgy a couple times but we found our groove and now I have a good looking bed… and a great memory. Hopefully he will too. 

So… I’m actually still working out the last details of our little “weekend project”. I think it’s been about ten days now since we’ve started. Maybe more. But, as with most things, God is proving himself and excellent Father. Patiently, training, correcting and affirming me in each moment. Revealing both His majesty and His nearness in the most basic of things. And for this I am continually grateful.

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