Fostering, Adopting, and Messy Messes

I am not the most persevering person; I know this about myself.

I am not the most patient person; I know this about myself.

I am not a person who likes messes; I know this about myself.

I am not the most persevering and patient person when things get messy and long; I know this about myself.

So this past weekend when my hubby started whacking out plaster to make room for a new door (for a new soul to move into our home), I got a little overwhelmed by the mess and the length of the mess.

Originally, we estimated that it would take about two hours to cut out the round-shape hole for a rectangle-shaped door. I knew there would be mess because that’s what happens when you get out tools and then hand them to men. I figured as much, and I was ready for that.

But when I heard a loud bang, and then a loud crash, and then heard, “Are you kidding me?! Jessica, you gotta see what’s under here,” I wanted to run for the hills. For the easy, clean, no-demolition hills.

Tentatively, I poked my head up the stairs to not only find a large piece of plaster smattering our hardwood floors, but I also saw a bunch of metal hanging from the top of the hole in the wall. Not only had plaster fallen onto the upstairs banister, giving the wood a nice blow and a pretty scar, but there was plaster dust EVERYWHERE. On my walls, on my pictures, on my wood floors, on my hubby, and on my lungs. EVERYWHERE was the dreaded, white dust of home improvement. Oh, and there was METAL hanging from the hole in the wall. METAL. Like hard, metal lathe…stuff that you make castle, prison cells out of…benches found on Alcatraz…weird, modern art monuments found in big entryways of glass lobbies….THAT kind of stuff. THAT was what was hanging from the doorway.

Ugh.

I could tell from the look on my hubby’s face that this was no longer a two hour job. Nope. Not happenin’. We had just moved into the land of “indefinite, demolition time.”

I managed to grimace a weak, supportive smile and then said, “Babe, you’re awesome,” and then I made a beeline for the kitchen where I hatched a plan to make a second cup of coffee.

As I waited for the coffee to brew while simultaneously flinching every time I heard a bang, fall, or crash, I breathed a tired sigh and had a martyr-like thought.

Why is nothing ever easy for us? 

You ever had a thought like that? Like the kind of thought where for several seconds you believe that you are the first and only-ever person who has ever experienced a tumultuous moment?

Yep, I was there. Again.

And then the Lord brought my mind to the blog post I had literally written 14 days prior to the door drama.

Isn’t this what you committed to? Isn’t this what you were resolute that you wanted to do in 2017? Isn’t this what we “talked” about? Open and out, right? Or was that not what happened that afternoon at the sink? 

Gah. True, true, and true. It was.

And God, in His absolute kindness and grace, is loving enough to give us opportunities to practice the things we pray for and preach.

Open and out…when things gets messy, hard, long, unexpected, and frustrating.

Open and out…when the wall is rigged with metal lathe.

Open and out…when your upstairs is being covered and caked with powdered dust.

Open and out…when your banister gets a gash in it.

Open and out…when your husband will now spend seven hours of your Saturday doing a project that was supposed to take three.

Open and out…when things don’t go as planned.

And since that Saturday, a few weeks ago, God has continued to provide a few more of those “open and out” moments. 

Open and out…when the new door and trim increases another $100+.

Open and out…when the new door takes longer to order because it needs a special jamb.

Open and out…when paperwork is taking longer to complete.

Open and out…when the CPR training for your license went from free to NOT AT ALL FREE.

Open and out…when the CPR class was supposed to be four hours but is actually turning into 6 1/2 hours.

Open and out…when your kids are sobbing as they brush their teeth at 9:20 PM because they “miss you” and are tired of the weekly and now bi-weekly training classes.

Open and out…when you just feel tired, and weary, and OVER IT.

Lord, it’s been only 20 days since I wrote that blog post. Were you planning on this “open and out thing” being a daily occurrence?!?! 

As I sank into a tub of steaming bubbles last night, I held out my hands. Open, extended, and with tears pooling in my eyes, I asked the Lord for the grace to keep them “open and out,” trusting Him with ALL THE THINGS.

And ya know what I felt whispered deep into my soul?

Jessica, you can’t make room for a new, little soul and expect that things aren’t going to hurt? You can’t expect that as you create doors in your home and room in your heart that you aren’t going to get a few “gashes,” and feel a little “dust,” and run into some “metal lathe.” You just can’t. Keep trusting me to help you; keep trusting me to provide the tools and time you need to make these “openings” in all ways. I got this.  

As the tears pooled and then ran down my cheeks, I felt like my heart was running…running right into the hard hills of mess. And as I envisioned myself running with my hands open and out, I found myself thinking about sheep.

I started thinking about sheep that make a choice to trust in their Shepherd. I started thinking about a Shepherd who guides His sheep through valleys dark, mountains high, and messes wide…a Shepherd who helps us follow when our hearts get scared and our faith gets weak…a Shepherd who leads us beside His still waters and into His green pastures even when the path takes us places that our feet didn’t plan to walk.

And as I thought about those messy paths and that faithful Shepherd, I felt God’s grace covering my proverbial “hands,” empowering them to remain open and out as He makes ALL KINDS OF ROOM in our hearts and home. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your they comfort me. Psalms 23:1-4

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