Being Made New Is More Than A Coat Of Paint
My youngest son, Dillon, has gotten settled into his career and has moved out for, most likely, the last time. He moved out once before and moved back to go to the police academy. A smart move on his part and a wonderful move for my heart! This time, I believe he will be gone. Older, wiser and much more solid than ever! I am okay with it this time. This time, I redecorate and move my things into his bedroom! It's bigger! Time to break out the paint! All it needs to be made new is a coat of paint, right? Well, I had a lesson to learn. Renewal is more than paint.
I Began With His Room
I began with his room. We painted it only a couple of years ago and he didn't even live here for a semester of that, so.....it was determined the paint in here was good enough. The room was bare. Deep breath....oh my, he is really gone this time. The all familiar twinges of pain were on the edge of surfacing.
I first felt them when my sweet daughter, Dalaina, the oldest, became a wife and moved out. I would find myself in her room, for no reason at all, with tears welling up. One night I sat on her bed and literally sobbed. The kind of sobbing that takes your breath away and makes you hiccup. The next day my middle child, Dustin, began boxing her things and moving his treasures into her room. He wanted a room of his own! He had gone from rooming with sister (when he was 2 years old) to sharing a room with little baby brother. It was his turn to experience being king of his own domain! He didn't even mind the deep rose colored walls. Later we learned it was probably because he was colorblind and thought they were gray! That's another story all together......however, he moved me on to the next phase with a coat of paint and some simple redecorating. I still had my moments, but it got better slowly.
When Dustin left for boot camp, I sat in his room and sobbed. He was not only gone, but knew I would have NO contact for weeks and I HURT! Tears went past the welling...they freely flowed. Dillon, my youngest, found ways to make me smile. He had always had a quirky sense of humor, but he had chosen now to truly fine tune it! He gently pulled me back into everyday life while I stalked the mailman for letters from my boy. Dustin returned home between deployments. His room untouched, furiously dusted and freshened when he was coming home, but untouched otherwise. He came home from his last deployment with his precious bride at his side. We spent a couple of hours pouring over his "stuff". Some of it was tossed, some was taken back to North Carolina (Camp LeJune) and some was stored for another day. We stacked the tubs in the corner of the room and when he left, I cried. He was grown. He was moving out and forward. I LOVE my sweet new Katy, she LOVES Dustin. It would be okay. Katy is from Tennessee. He will live there when he is not serving our country. He is gone. Shortly after that, Dillon moved back home to attend the police academy. He attended full time and that meant: no job, no money, and no place of his own.
I stand now in Dillon's room. As the baby, he went through all of that with me. He has heart. He did not abandon me to cope or leave me in the hands of my hubby. He had me help him find a place. We shopped for things he needed to make it "home". He had me help set up his new home. I decorated it. I set the furniture. I "fixed" it for him. I am glad he is in it, enjoying it and making it his own. We have dinner together when possible and we talk on the phone. He keeps my heart full. As I stand alone in his empty room I wonder if I will be okay in here without him. Will I fall apart? A little, but only just a little.
The paint in here is really good. I touch up the trim, vacuum the carpet, wash the windows and start moving furniture. My cherry and wrought iron bedroom suite is going to "shine" in this room! I recover the seat cushion of my cedar chest in a brown faux suede, the walls are sage green and I just bought a new comforter with greens and beige. I am SO excited! More space and a refreshed decor makes me happy to be in here! Thanks Dillon! His room is officially our room! Next, changing our room into my office!
Changing Our Room To My Office
Our bedroom was painted a creamy yellow, NOT what I imagine in my office space. I want black and white and okay....grit your teeth....zebra! The walls must go to white! I make a trip to the local WalMart and get a can of white paint. White. I imagine a clean, fresh start. I begin painting trim while my husband begins painting the walls.
Painting the trim behind the door, there's the nick in the paint where the door flung open one night and my daughter was standing there, hands on her hips, saying, "y'know Dustin isn't home yet and it's LATE!" She was right, he was out WAY too late! I knew he was in town with his buddies, he was rarely late, and.....well, that's about all I knew! HOURS later, he calls me. "Mom, I'm okay." Yes, I HATE those words!! They are ALWAYS bad!! "Where ARE you?" I growled. It is 3:45 a.m. He is more than 3 hours late! This is NOT "okay"! He tells me of a very tricky car chase he had with another vehicle. He spent time saving his buddy from some idiots and bad case of road rage. He is with a Sheriff's Deputy who tells me on the phone that I should be proud of my son and how, "at 16, he had made some very grown up decisions and he would be driving home soon". The next day, I checked the story out....really?? They didn't bring him home!?! Really. He had, in fact, done an awesome job and I had a nick in the trim. I relived those grueling hours and intense pride, then painted over the nick. It's time to renew. Funny thing is I am renewing my heart and while I'm at it Lord, help me renew my mind. In 2 Corinthians 4:16, the Bible tells us to "not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day". Today I am renewing my home and my heart with a coat of paint.
I finish the trim and doors in the office and move into the rest of the house. I painted the hall side of the bedroom doors. Dustin's door still has the hole in it where he lost his temper with his mother and punched the door. It is covered by a poster of a Drill Instructor with the saying, "Say hello to your new school counselor!" I didn't want to fix it. It was a constant reminder that Mom is human and Dustin has limits. We both learned to value the feelings of the other. I painted around the hole and prayed for Dustin as he makes the decision whether or not to re-enlist into the U.S. Marine Corps. Romans 12:2 says, "be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, acceptable and perfect." Lord, renew his mind and give him guidance and direction.
Okay....let's see....yes...on to the bathroom!
Bathroom, Splash Room, Where Are My Babies?
I refill my paint container, fix a sandwich and head to the bathroom. I paint the trim below the tub. There is a wisp of peach paint. I remember when we first moved into this house. YEARS ago! This room was an awful peach. My daughter was 11, and my boys were 8 and 6 years old. More often than not, there was more water on the floor than there was in the tub! It was my flood zone. I decorated it with Noah's Ark decorations. I gently removed those decorations, wiped them down and placed them in a box. Time to retire them. Time to pass them on to someone who has little puddle ducks of their own. My puddlers are grown. Okay....I am seriously getting sad over bathroom decor! Sad.....or hilarious! Go ahead and laugh! I am....for now...anyway!
I paint the trim around the toilet.....again. This trim is SO familiar to me and my paintbrush. It is the part that gets painted over and over again. Little boys often have bad aim, if you get my drift! I would clean it, sand it and paint it to keep the "freshness" alive! One bout of red Kool-Aid and the stomach flu got the whole wall repainted. The last time I painted it, it was supposed to be a sandy color. It was yellow. Ugh. Except, the yellow worked well with boys and life. This time I painted the trim white again. My boys are grown and it will stay fresh longer, or so I hope! Seriously getting goofy....maybe it is the paint fumes....I am sad while I am laying on my stomach on the toilet (seat lid down by the way) and painting the little corner behind it. Yes, it's the paint fumes. Couldn't be the toilet making me sad. Good-bye Noah. I will remember God's promises. God made a covenant with Noah and his descendants. A promise that He will forever keep. Every time we see a rainbow it is a reminder to God and to us that He keeps His promises. Read Genesis chapters 6 through 9 to learn more about it!
God promised me that He will take care of my children. When I first moved here, it was just us. A single mother and 3 children setting up house next door to Gramma and Grampa. We were in good shape. I was working, they were in school and together we made it our home. The bathroom was often the core of that home. Getting ready for school, church, dates, parties, were all a part of this room. Battles over who needed in and who was "going to have to wait!" were all too often the biggest part of those days! We only had one bathroom. It should be called the family room!
Cooling a feverish child in a tepid bath, soothing a sunburned back with gel, slathering an oatmeal paste on chicken pox spots were all a part of this room. Watching my son pack his shave kit before shipping out to go to Japan, I sat on the edge of the tub and held my stomach. I had to keep it together long enough to get him to the airport. I still feel that gut-wrenching pain when he deploys, often sitting here on the tub. Lord, thank you for keeping your promises of safety. Keep my children safe wherever they may be right now, help them through whatever they are growing through. Keep them close to you, Lord. They know you are their source. Remind them in gentle ways. They will always be my babies.
The new soft sand color and palm tree decor will make this an oasis of calm. That's the plan.
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The Back Door, The Final Step
Finally getting to the bottom of this can of paint! Wow, Lord are you extending the paint so I will learn more from you? Why am I feeling this pain. This is a good thing. My children are doing well. They are grown up. They are responsible adults. They have good jobs, good homes, good cars, and people who love them. They are Christians and are trying to follow God. They pray, tithe and work to be the best they can be in the Lord. I am PROUD of my children! They are amazing adults! Really!! Okay....let's paint over the ugliness of this mess called the back door!!
I remove the curtain...my, this needs washing! Into the washer it goes. It will be clean by the time the door is dry. Next, I gently remove the Blue Star Banner. I run my hand over the star. "Thank you Lord", I whisper. The star is still blue. My son is still alive. "Thank you, Lord, Bless them all wherever they are. Give strength to those families who have Gold stars." The tears are flowing freely. I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. My children are grown, strong, productive Christian adults." I look over the door and the memories flood my soul, my heart, my very being. There are holes, scratches, nail polish, gashes and memories. Lovely, sweet memories.
Those holes. Those are where Dustin and I broke the window to get into the house when I accidentally locked us out! He was so cool putting a rock through the window! The holes are where my dad, Grampa, screwed a sheet of plywood over the hole until we could get new glass in the window.
Those scratches are where Dillon's puppy, Diesel, would scratch to let us know he needed out to potty! Diesel was a precious, sweet baby of a dog who was stolen right from our back yard. I miss him, Lord.
The fingernail polish spots on the door are where Lexy and Lyndsy, Dalaina's baby girls, got nail polish on the door frame when Dalaina, their Momma, came a little too early to pick them up from Nana's house. They moved to Texas last week. Lord, this pain is so FRESH!! Help me see your will and your way through this change.
The ugliness of this door, the sins, if you will, of it are wrought with negative things, positive things, happy times and sad times. Each scratch, hole, stain and mark that all together make it UGLY also make it sweet. Bittersweet. As i paint it I can't help but think of how we look all scratched, filled with holes and marks to the Lord. Our ugliness is washed white as snow by his blood bought salvation just as the white paint makes this door glistening fresh. Under the paint, there are still the scars and marks which make the memories, but it is renewed. It is fresh looking, fresh smelling and all aglow. That is much how we are when we receive Jesus as our Savior. We are fresh and bright. Yes, the holes and scratches are covered by the blood of Jesus, filled with his love and made new. Just like my back door. Funny, now that the outside is fresh....the inside needs it too.
Lord, continue to make me new inside. Refresh my faith, build it, Lord. Make me what you want me to be. Clean out the cobwebs of my mind and make my INSIDE as new as my outside. I paint the door inside. I notice now that it looks great. The trim needs freshening. Much like my life does. Lord, take my work and my play and make them count for You. Lead me where You want me to go and show me who to share You with. My environment and surroundings need to show You, Lord.
I feel so proud, so happy with my new rooms and my new door! The walls around that back door need paint. Another trip to buy another can will have to be added to my week's agenda. Just like the door, I need to surround myself with those who are renewed and fresh. I need to share You Lord with everyone I know and... stay connected with those who are following you and seeking to be renewed daily. The paint on the dining room walls, the world around that door, needs renewing. The door sticks out and stands alone. When the entire environment around the door is just a fresh, then it will look and feel right. We need our friends to be just as fresh and renewed as we are. I can't wait to share this with some of them. The others won't understand the symbolism, but I don't care. That is God's job, to show them what it really means. I know and God knows and where two or more agree, "I am in their midst" He says. I believe it......I hope you do too!
Put yourself in the path of God's plan! It will all gel! Lord, bless all who read this! Oh and once again.....Thank you, Lord! I am blessed.
Photo and Text Copyright 2012 Deborah M. Carey
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