I Found My Heart in the Sheetrock Dust

[Background of this post] This was one of the first things I published 5 or 6 years ago!  Obviously, this life of renovation has always been on my mind and now I'm blogging about it 24/7!  I hope you enjoy this very true story!

Don’t get tired doing what’s right, for in time you’ll reap a harvest of blessing if you don’t get discouraged, give up, and faint!
— taken from Galatians 6:9

I was pulling in the driveway returning from Wednesday night choir practice and noticed something looked different from my view into the dining room. I quickly proceeded to the back door.

What in the world had happened? What was all this dust? As the dust cleared, there stood my husband of just a few months by a newly cut opening between the dining room and kitchen. He was leaning on his sledgehammer and smiling like the Cheshire cat from Alice in Wonderland. It seemed there had been a bit of a blowout while I was away at choir practice.

My jaw dropped as I viewed the scene before me. Looking into the dining room I saw dust settling all over our newly acquired wedding crystal and on my favorite cross-stitch picture on the wall.   He broke the silence, "Hey Honey, guess what? We're renovating the kitchen and I decided that this is where the new door will be!"

What an introduction for a new bride to the real side of her visionary renovating husband. Little did I know at that point what I would learn about love while dealing with all the sheetrock dust.   We were young and the project was large, but we completed it in what I call "Classic Tommy Style." In fact, we renovated every house we lived in for the next two decades and today we are now nearing completion of a long master bath renovation.  

Renovating a home can be a very stressful time. Let me say that again: Renovating a home WILL BE a very stressful time!

Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.
— 2 Timothy 3:17

This verse in Timothy teaches us that through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us (that includes renovations!).

So, through the Word we will look. Studying the verse in Galatians (quoted at the top) can put you together and shape you up so that you not only survive a renovation, but reap a great result.  

1.  Don't get tired doing what's right: Decide that this completed renovation will be good but be aware that weariness will be knocking at the door. Discuss the planned budget and vision. Most renovating husbands have been working on the project details longer than you have had a chance to give it thought. Take the time to review the plans together and make appropriate suggestions.  

2. Don't get discouraged, give up, or faint: You need to know what the estimated completion time frame is for your project, but keep the word ESTIMATED in big caps. Contractors work on time frames that are not nearly as efficient as our iPhone calendars. It is important to make up your mind to stay flexible and not frustrated when delays happen. It is nearly impossible to be flexible if you are focused on the timing.  

Be aware that there is going to be a certain level of disorganization and mess. Most likely there will be a point when you are ready to throw everything out the window, or give up. When you feel like that, take a break, take a walk, regroup and refocus.  

3. In time you'll reap a harvest of blessing: Smile! Try to enjoy the journey. Celebrating each small accomplishment along the way will keep frustration controlled.

As you focus on the small goals completed you will be looking towards the harvest at the end instead of the mess today. An example of this would be: "We're so excited that the sinks arrived today!" 

During that first renovation I learned a very important lesson about love and sheetrock dust. A friend of ours was teaching at church and described a friend who worked tirelessly around his house to show his love for his new bride, even building a new kitchen for her.

I suddenly realized it was my husband that he was talking about. I saw the mess, the endless dust, and even the paint dribbles now as the love gift to me that my husband intended! I honestly had thought he was enjoying making all the mess just to get me riled up.

My husband's love language was acts of kindness, but I simply did not realize that renovations fell into that category until then.   One thing that my husband told me during that first renovation that has always stuck in my mind is: "Don't fall in love with your houses!"

I would like to add my own ending to those words of wisdom: "Instead, fall in love with your man!" Happy renovating! 

- Originally posted 5.12.2012
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