Have you ever flipped through a Better Homes and Garden magazine and pictured your dream house? Of course you have! Well, I remember doing just that a few years ago. I casually flipped through the pages seeing nothing too inspirational until well I did. I stopped and looked at the picture a little closer. It was a kitchen, a BRIGHT white kitchen. The tiled floors were white, the countertops and even the table was a dazzling white. It reminded me of a winter day when the sun shines on fresh snow making it so bright you have to squint your eyes just to be able to see. With my eyes squinted (maybe I just needed glasses?) I focused my eyes on the kitchen table’s centerpiece. There sat a clear glass bowl filled with gloriously fresh yellow lemons. I envisioned myself waking up in the morning and walking into this sanitary bleached white kitchen. The fresh lemons greeting me as I waited for my coffee to brew.
I’m personally not big into white. If you know me at all you know I like color (that’s an understatement), but that kitchen just seemed so darn happy and CLEAN. It was as if little fairies had cleaned up the previous days mess and in the morning you get to start all fresh (and make more messes). I don’t even like lemons. Personally, I think anything lemon flavored taste like Palmolive. How dare anyone call anything lemon flavored a dessert! How tart of them. But that kitchen spoke to me. The lemons seemed to say, “Yesterday was sour, but today is FRESH.” I decided then and there that when I had my own kitchen I would paint it a cheerful yellow.I tore the picture out of the magazine and tucked it in a safe place for future reference (Read: I shoved it in a junk drawer to get lost in the abyss until several years later).
Well that time has come my friends. Four years ago my husband and I moved into our first home and guess what color the kitchen floor is? Yes, BRIGHT White. Dreams do come true! . . . However, three toddlers later and the floor is rarely actually white. It’s usually white with orange specs of dismembered goldfish crackers or white with red droplets of juice (or is that blood? Oh geesh, who’s bleeding!?!). What’s so great about tile? Get me that cheap linoleum so I don’t have to bleach the sin out of the grout every week. Funny how after we get what we want we realize it’s not what we want at all, isn’t it? Good thing there’s someone who knows what we really want *points finger upward.
I really did do the lemon bowl centerpiece … except they were plastic. I’m not one to buy fresh lemons once a week just to look at. It was kinda-sorta-cute until my children chewed on them. Clearly that Better Home and Gardens kitchen was not meant for me. However, I am still planning on painting the walls yellow. For the past year I’ve been on a painting spree (more like a rampage). I have painted every room on the main floor (some more than once!), but for some reason the kitchen has always been over looked.
My husband commented, “When we got married I didn’t realize how often things would get painted.” I chuckled and responded, “It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy.” That’s just it- No, I’m not crazy (well, maybe a little), but I find it therapeutic. Something that was dingy is being made new, and that’s exactly what I felt like God was doing to my heart all of last year. Subconsciously, I wanted my home to replicate the changes that were taking place in my heart. God repaired the damaged entryway walls and painted it a welcoming green. Through my church’s small group I have gained more meaningful relationships this year. The crimson red wall was repainted a deep royal purple. Instead of focusing on the sin that Christ shed His (crimson) blood for I refocused on being a daughter of the King- deep royal purple. The bare family room walls are now blooming with vibrant flowers and birds. I painted the reading room during the fall, so naturally it became a fall color- pumpkin spice, which reminds me that there is a time for everything, “… A time to mourn; and a time to dance…” (Ecclesiastes 3:4). I just hope that in the Spring I don’t get the urge to paint it a pastel color!
Now it’s the kitchen’s turn, but the problem is I don’t feel like painting anymore. At all. Several weeks ago I painted yellow swatches throughout the kitchen to help me decide which shade looked best. Currently the walls look severely jaundice or like I’m trying to start a new fashion trend. The thing is I don’t like any of the shades and I just don’t feel like painting. Maybe it’s the weather. Or maybe… hold on to your metaphorical undies… the renovation in my heart has stalled so there’s nothing worthwhile to replicate. I also don’t particularly feel like cleaning and cooking (not that I enjoy them anyway). Yesterday I gave into those feelings hardcore. The dishes didn’t get washed. The laundry never got flipped. Like I paint my walls I always paint my face, but not yesterday. I clothed and fed the kids something. I broke all of my TV rules by putting on a movie after breakfast. I broke all of my healthy eating rules and ate an ENTIRE container of chocolate covered almonds. Instead of the lovey-dovey text messages to the Hubs he got sarcastic angry bitmojis. I went to bed early last night and knew that the next day I COULD NOT give into those feelings. If I did, then I was only a few short days away from not wanting to do ANYTHING.
This morning came and I still didn’t feel like getting out of bed, but I did. Why? The kids yes, but more so because of my faith. My church’s definition of faith is: believing in the Word of God and acting on it no matter how I feel because God promises a good result. I knew my actions of serving my family were pleasing to God, so I obeyed by getting up and changing the babies diaper. We needed groceries so I bundled up all three kids and hauled them to the store. More than groceries we all needed a change of scenery (especially Mama!). I apologized to the kids and the Hubs for my stank attitude. Even though I don’t feel like it I’m planning on making a nice dinner (Audrey Surprise Chicken Stir-fry Style). I am putting those feelings to death, because I know God’s plans for me are what I really want (remember those white-orange speckled tiles?). From dealing with depression from as long as I can remember, I’ve learned the hard way that the more you give into those negative thoughts-feelings-actions the deeper you go into that depressive state where nothing seems worthwhile (especially painting).
Friends, during this gloomy season I hope you are actively being obedient by doing what God has called you to do especially when you don’t feel like it, because He promises a good result. Now if you don’t mind I have 15 minutes left of my kids’ nap time and I plan to use it to further running those feelings over on the treadmill. Maybe next week I will paint the kitchen yellow. Maybe.
Thank you for Your grace on days that I feel insufficient. Help me to remember that your gift of salvation is enough to be thankful and want to glorify You all the days of my life. Help me to see productivity through Your eyes and not my own.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:1-8