Antique Tongue and Groove Slabs and Stubbed Toes: Worth It? (Yes)

There were so many frusturations and inconveniences.

I stubbed my toe. More than once, on tools that had migrated to where furniture used to be.

I avoided reading in my comfortable recliner at night because the curtains had temporarily resigned from window guard duty and were now  sprawled across the love-seat. This left the living room vulnerable to peeping toms, so I found other places to be.

I couldn’t invite the grand-kids over to run throughout the house with their endearing chatter and hugs, and I missed the mini, boisterous reminders of God’s graciousness.

I refilled my migraine prescription because the heavy scent of the polyurethane finish opened the door to that painful visitor I thought was forever gone.

And the little shadow of stress that always traipses behind me when life is slightly askew followed relentlessly.

Really, it was just the living room that was askew.

Pictures and a clock leaned lazily against a wall, while the furniture huddled in the center, as though planning some major revolt. Paint pans, rollers, sanders, and wood trim lay in wait to trip me up and make me stub my toe.

Inconveniences. Discomforts. Disruptions. Minor ones I know, but there nonetheless.

For nearly two weeks my husband arrived home from work each afternoon and switched into painter gear, transforming our natural pine paneling-that-really-isn’t-paneling (hubs explained that it is Tongue and Groove slabs) into something new. It was a laborious process and some evenings he could only work on it for an hour or two. For nearly two weeks chaos reigned in our living room.

But we knew that was going to happen. Had anticipated it. And it didn’t deter us from the goal of antique white paneling Tongue and Groove boards. They were step one in home improvements plans.  There are sure to be bigger projects – and bigger inconveniences – in the future. That’s okay.

Tongue and Groove1
Flowers from a co-worker look lovely against the antiqued tongue-and-groove slabs

We counted the cost and were willing to pay because we knew the result was worth the momentary discomfort.

Life is like that – I have to constantly count the cost and determine if the end result is worth the payment. Sometimes the payment is financial, but often it is time, energy, and emotional costs of choices.

It is also like that with following Christ and  the direction He calls me to go. In saying yes to God, and believing Him, I choose to lay down my own agenda in exchange for His better plan. Sometimes, the temptation is for me to say the cost is too great, I would rather stay right here, keep the status quo because it is easier. I’m afraid going with God’s plan might get too messy. Or uncomfortable. Or cost me too much. 

But in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 14, I am inspired by a woman who was willing to give up what she had. She didn’t care about the mess, about the discomfort, about what others thought. She didn’t care about the cost.  And being in Bethany, at the house of Simon the leper, as He (Jesus) sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on his head. Mark 14:3

Mary believed Jesus, believed He was who He said He was, that He could and would do what He said He was going to do. He had changed her life and she loved Him.

Those who didn’t really know Him just didn’t get it.

She was criticized for wasting her best on Him, for not using the expensive perfume for the purpose others deemed more appropriate. (verses 4-5)  That’ll happen, Friends. Follow God’s plan and people will think you are wasting your time, wasting your life, wasting your best. Sometimes you might even tell yourself this lie.

But Mary knew what she was doing. She knew He was worth everything she had. And Jesus had her back. “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.  She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.  (V8-9)

Thousands of years later, the world is still reading of and learning from Mary’s sacrifice. Her reward was greater than she could have imagined. But I don’t imagine that was her focus. I think her focus was simply giving her best to the One who had transformed her life.

Life ain’t easy. I will go through tough times. So will you.

I get to choose though. And so do you.

I can choose to go through catastrophes and storms while following Christ, or following self.  I’ve seen time and time again the truth of  Psalm 66:12 NLT and what happens when I choose Christ: We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance. 

I can confidently move towards whatever I hear Him whisper, when I set my mind on that one simple but profound truth.

I can endure the stubbed toes of life, the messiness, the fires and the floods, when I remind myself that He is leading into a place of great abundance.

When I say yes to God, and no to fear or selfish ambitions, the result is internal peace in the midst of it.  He is trustworthy. His promises are true. And in this world of chaos, that is priceless.

Grateful for His Grace,

Marie with a 🙂

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Just a simple clay pot living out the extraordinary gift of Christ in me.

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