GUTTED

There is a scene in the movie Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood with which every mother of young children can identify. It’s the scene where Vivi’s 4 children all have a stomach bug and there is excrement everywhere. It’s right before “she drops her basket”, the phrase used throughout the movie that refers to the time Vivi got in her car, drove to the beach, and slept for 3 days.

I’ve never done that.

But I’d be lying if I said I have never thought a temporary beach escape wouldn’t be nice alternative to All. The. Wiping.

I had one such moment late last summer. It had been an easy week. School had begun and we had spent the weekend enjoying the pool for the final time. It was a Sunday evening, and as we were coming down the lane, I told the kids that they would need to get their belongings together for the next day and then it would be time for bed. However, when we walked through the door, I immediately knew something was terribly wrong. I could smell it. As I descended the staircase, the smell got worse. It was coming from the boys’ bathroom. No. The boys’ bedroom. It was the floor. It wreaked of stale sewer. Apparently, someone had used nearly an entire roll of toilet paper (“ME!!!”, Zachary proudly announced) causing an overflow which seeped through the wall of the bathroom into the bedroom. Their carpet was ruined.

I headed to the laundry room to find some old towels and discovered that my elderly dog had had an upset stomach, as evidenced by more messes in the floor. Just as I let out a deep sigh, my oldest started yelling, “MOM!! My nose is bleeding! There’s blood everywhere!!!!” And it was. All over his rug and bedding.

I nearly dropped my basket.

Michael immediately cut the carpet out of the room, and I cleaned up the dog mess and started on bedspread stain removal. We began to discuss all the options. I saw a pretty simple solution.  Re-carpet the whole basement. I had wanted carpet in our tiled playroom for several years and now was the perfect opportunity to finally do it. We could just put new carpet in the bedroom and it should be easily laid on top of the tiled room. Michael made clear that if we were to lay carpet, all the ceramic tile would have to removed. He further declared that we would need to repair the walls, repaint, and fix all the doors.

“We’ll have to gut the whole thing,” he said.

That wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Typical precision, perfectionist Michael, was making everything more difficult than it needed to be. I was looking for quicker solutions, the most attractive of which required very little elbow grease on my part. But Michael wasn’t willing to start the project until I was willing to do it right. So that’s what we did. And it was hard. We had to hand chisel the solidly glued tile from the cement slab. Hammer and chisel, you guys. We had to scrape away the residual grout and glue. I don’t know if you are aware of the sophistication of the grout industry. This is a product that is meant to last through the ages. By day 3, Michael couldn’t feel his left hand, and mine were full of scrapes and callouses. We had to apply putty to every dent of every wall (please note all the necessary putty marks in picture below). Those areas had to then be sanded (twice) and painted. We worked tirelessly every spare moment for three weeks, and in the end we had a whole new basement.

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There were no hidden cracks or dents left. There was no old, damaged floor left underneath. The lighting was softer, the storage was greater, and the space was just so much better. Everything had been made new.

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And so it is with Christ.

When I came to Christ, I mean really came to Christ, I needed a complete transformation. I needed to be completely gutted, so that Christ himself could rebuild the walls and establish a new foundation. I tried to make it work with just a surface fix – you know churchin’ it up every Sunday morning – but Christ wanted nothing to do with my halfway attempt. I tried to just allow for a partial transformation, but He wanted to do it right. I had to drop my hands from the clay, and allow the Potter Himself to mold his creation.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no masterpiece yet. He’s still working on me, as evidenced by my reaction to the gallon of pure white high gloss furniture paint which spilled on that new carpet just last weekend. But the difference between the old life and the new life is that now I allow Christ to temper me, to mold me, to renew me. I have to continually drop my hands, my whole entire basket, and allow the Master to pick up the pieces and weave me ever so faithfully back together.

Go ahead, friends, drop your basket

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