Last year’s home renovation project was something I had never done before. Removing walls? Not in a million years. Working with carpenters? Plumbers? Sheetrock workers? Painters? Church members who had specific skills? Never done. I was in wayyyyyyyy over my head, and I still haven’t recovered.
Over the past three weeks I worked on the bathroom pictured above. It was the one part of the house that hadn’t gotten any TLC since we bought it. I really think just about every other square inch of this place got something. But not this bathroom. (The picture above is the “after” picture, not the “before.”)
Well, before the thing got finished, something was bound to go wrong.
Last week was the finishing week. I was going out of town Wednesday morning through Friday night. The guy who lives in the part of the house that uses the bathroom was coming back into town Saturday night. I needed to be done Tuesday. Everything had moved at a near-perfect pace. Demoed the space in one night. (Side note, the guy who helped me was one who flooded. He had a great quip. Something to the effect of, “Must be nice to actually voluntarily choose to take stuff in your house apart.”) Tile came in a day later. Sheetrock work and painting was flying along. Everything was purchased. It was all working out.
Tuesday night, I’m installing everything. Toilet gets set up. I move to install the cabinet. I could see it all coming together.
I was pumped.
Then . . . the pipe.
I quickly learned that the pipes in that wall are not piped like you would expect. No, the cold water comes down the wall LEFT of the hot water, then it angles around the hot water and comes out on the right side. I avoided what I was trying to avoid (the hot water) and hit what I didn’t know existed. It was a tiny hole and a tiny leak, but I reacted like it was this:
I ran to shut the water off. Then I ran inside to Courtney, where I proceeded to yell, jump, and yell some more.
I call my contractor friend. He talks me down. Gives me the name of a plumber.
Quickly the anger becomes frustration with myself. That frustration turns into mild annoyance. Then I’m over it.
“Ok. The plumber will fix it. Then the water is back on. It’d probably be good for the family to have running water while I’m out of town. Then I’ll have to patch the hole. I’ll be set back a few days, but this is fixable.”
Wednesday, the plumber repairs the pipe. Friday night, I start the wall repair. By Monday night, the place is done.
If home renovation taught me anything last year, it is that everything can be repaired.
I used to walk around with a lot of fear fixing things. Holes in walls would’ve been the end of me. Moving electricity around? No, thanks. Tearing out cabinets? Never. I couldn’t dream of it. A pinhole in a pipe? Put that house on the market.
But not anymore. It may take time, and it may take energy, but it’ll get fixed. I never used to feel that way.
And then I remember grace.
My minor freak-cout about the house is a microcosm of how I often view my relationship with Jesus.
“Don’t screw this up, Hans. It won’t get repaired.”
“Better not make a mistake. God is watching you.”
“There isn’t a fix for that problem.”
Those are all lies. Every single one of them. Jesus’ presence on this earth was a reminder that there is no price God is unwilling to pay to secure our redemption.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Eph 1:7)
Christian, take heart!
The presence of God’s grace in our lives is a reminder that everything—and that includes you and me—is redeemable.