Kitchen Series Part 1: Stripped Screws
Four years ago, we purchased a “fixer upper” home. It was pretty foreign territory to me, as we had built our first home, and designed every nook and cranny of it. So, moving into a home that had forty years of work that needed to be done seemed a bit overwhelming. When I tell you every inch of my house needed work, I am not kidding. New floors, new ceilings, new paint, new light fixtures, new plants, new bathrooms, walls busted out, new kitchen, and even brand new sheetrock and walls all in the basement. You name it, it needed to be done! Cab assured me we would could do it because we loved the bones of this house and it was in a great location! I had this fantasy of six months down the road, all of the projects being complete, and us living in our perfect little house! Ha! Timelines sure have changed and reality has set in!
Fast forward to today. We have knocked out some of the to-do list, but we are not even close to being finished. Most of the scope of work Cab has completed on his own (with my help, of course!) in all of his spare time. This saves us money and brings him satisfaction in all of his project completions. He is quite handy, and if he doesn’t know how to do something, he figures it out. Have I mentioned how amazing that is?
A few weeks ago we decided to tackle the monster that is our kitchen. The kitchen was by far the ugliest room in our home. Cabinets, countertops, tile, wallpaper (multiple layers) and hardware circa 1978. One of the worst parts was the layer upon layers of contact paper that different owners had placed on the cabinet shelves. I spent weeks removing them and stripping and scraping 40+ years of gunk and grime off each shelf! That also means that every item that should be in my kitchen cabinets has been piled in my dining room: plates, cookware, food, you name it. It is like my kitchen threw up all of the contents and it is making me absolutely bonkers
Tidy-ness and order bring me joy. Even more important than my joy, messy-ness and clutter bring me anxiety. I can feel it rising up into my throat like a terrible stomach bug every time I walk into a room with disorder. Ya’ll, I have been living in a nearly constant construction zone for four years and we have three kids. You can imagine how much this weighs on my anxiety! In our small group this last weekend, we talked about James 1:2-4. We will all walk through different difficult trials in our life. By no means is this kitchen remodel one of the most challenging trials I have encountered or even will experience (Hello, natural childbirth!). How comforting it has been, however, for me to consider the joy I am experiencing through this trial of not having a functioning kitchen! I see my kids having fun as we picnic for dinner on the living room rug. I watch my husband experience the payoffs of his hard work with each new small step completed. I see the gratification of my husband when he tackles something new and completes the task flawlessly. I just have to be specific in looking for these things so I don't go absolutely crazy as I deal with the chaos.
Last week, I was helping remove hardware from our cabinets and became so frustrated to find that the original installers had stripped many screws when they put together our cabinets and drawers. I don’t know if you have ever experienced trying to remove screws that have been stripped, but let me tell you I was frustrated. Then, my husband said, “Hang on, I think I have an idea!” He came back with a drimmel tool and a little circular blade. He took the tool to each screw and pushed down just hard enough to make a new notch. I was then able to take a flat head screw driver and slowly turn and remove each screw.
This got me thinking, life has a way of stripping us. Hardships and trials can feel like they gut us of our joy and emotion. I see it a little more clearly now how the Lord is using the trials, the no’s, the devastations, the remodels, the unplanned, the moves, the losses… to somehow help mold us into the people we need to be. He puts a new notch in our hearts and we can be used in a different way thanks to His plan. In this “trial”, I can very clearly see the outcome ahead. I know what the finished project is going to look like. I see the details and the hardwork along the way. It will be beautiful and transformed from the ugliest to the most beautiful and utilized room in our home. God must see us that way. He can see us in our ugliest states and know the beauty that will come out when the remodel is complete. At least, that’s the way I see it.