Filling the Cracks

I, like many people these days, have bought into the falsehood that I can learn to do anything if I just watch YouTube. I've gone through several periods of "do-it-yourself" obsessive behavior. At one point, I was giving all of my daughters haircuts and I was grooming the dog, not with the same tools, mind you. Both parties weren't so thankful for my efforts and we've since gone back to the professionals.

Last month, I began to notice the cracks in our shower grout growing longer, deeper, and wider. I have also had a hard time getting some of the grout clean and free from mold or mildew. Normally, I don't obsess over my home but it was January and cabin fever lead me to find problems and projects. At that time, my dad mentioned he was regrouting and recaulking his bathroom shower and tub. He is recently retired and I texted him, "Hey, want to do my shower, too?" I was half joking and half hoping he'd leap at the chance to spend time on some of my home improvements. My father is the handiest of men on the planet. He has built houses, boats and cars from the ground up. He can fix anything, engineer anything and if he doesn't know how to do something he learns everything there is to know and does every job beautifully. He was able to do all of his own home repair long before YouTube. He quickly began to text back and his response was, "There are some great videos on YouTube" complete with a wink emoji.

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I can take a hint. And who would seriously volunteer to that job for someone else? So, I began watching videos on YouTube. Friendly men showed and explained various tools needed for the job and some ambitious ladies made the work look so easy. They liked to use words like, "simply", "easily", or phrases like "there you have it". I even think someone said, "Voila!". After watching several hours of video, I convinced myself I was ready to take on this job and I had nothing to fear. I ordered all of my tools and supplies on Amazon and waited to begin my task.

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First, I had to remove the old grout. Simply run my grout saw along the grout lines and let the old grout fall away. Except that didn't happen and it sounds worse than nails on a chalkboard. The grout saw was too wide and started damaging my tile and it took me 45 minutes to reconfigure the grout saw to fit. I texted my dad. He said he had a great electric tool I could borrow, so I abandoned my project and drove over to his house to get the power tool.

After much instruction from Dad, I returned home and knew I would now have success. But I didn't. First of all, the sound of the tool was deafening and my ears were ringing and second of all, it was heavy and vibrating so hard I had trouble controlling the blade and keeping it from ripping my tile apart. Thirdly, the dust and debris were coating every inch of me, my hair and the bathroom. I was making a big mess.

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When I finally got the old grout out I set about applying the new grout. It was a nicer job and I felt like I was making a lot of progress until I found more cracks. The cracks had cracks! I continued to make a mess and the smell of the new grout was making me sick to my stomach. I was also sick to my stomach thinking, "What had I done? Why did I start this? Who did I think I was?" I finished the grout and set to finish the caulking. Armed with the caulk gun I attempted to run a nice bead of caulk in each corner. But the caulk began pouring out of the gun and was dripping everywhere. The silicone was making me light headed and I wanted to throw up. All I wanted to do was finish and I kept making a bigger mess at every turn.

So often, we set out on our own life improvement projects only to end up with failed attempts and still-broken selves. We run from YouTube to books to friends and back to the world for quick fixes. And like me, standing barefoot and filthy in my shower stall we stand in our mess, feeling weak and incapable. This is where our heavenly father steps in and says, "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in your weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9) And when we cry out wondering who we are, Psalm 138:9 says, “In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” And when we shake in our boots, Psalm 16:8 says, "I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken." It's ok to be weak! We're not meant to be experts at this life, we're meant to let God step in and fill the cracks. The beautiful thing about God is that he says, "It's ok, Child. You tried, don't feel so bad, I love you no matter what."

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I'm grateful to have an earthly dad who thinks and acts the same way toward me. My dad has given me glimpses of the way God feels towards His children. I'm so very thankful he shows he is proud of me, even when my attempts at life and home improvement are less than stellar. I'm so very thankful for a kind and loving God who loves me just as I am and doesn't expect me to get it all right.

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