Recently I have been fixated on how much I can’t stand our kitchen tile.
The tile is a shade of white that never looks clean. The grout between the oversized tiles is uneven, discolored and dirty.
Since it is light in color, every speck of dirt, ground of coffee and morsel of food shows up so clearly. Since 90% of me eating is done standing up, without a plate and walking around, this is a huge problem for me.
On occasion, bringing this tile to life becomes my one and only life mission. When this occurs, my husband knows to leave me alone as I burst into a manic cleaning spree, down on my knees scrubbing, yelling against the tile with a war cry.
No matter how much I scrub, it always looks old and dirty. Defeated, I hang my head and go to bed, because everyone knows manic cleaning sprees always occur past your bedtime, and dream of hardwood floors.
I’ve never liked the tile, but lately, it has become the bane of my existence.
I also love to tell people how much I dislike my kitchen tile, which is always a fun way to be the life of a party at any social event.
My in laws recently did a home renovation and while we stayed with them, I silently (okay and not so silently) lusted after the new carpet, fresh paint and rustic backdrops. I thought about our tiny 3 bedroom house and all the things we haven’t done to it to make it the perfect, most trendy home.
But today, as I was vacuuming with our brand new Christmas vacuum, I thought about the way I felt about this home 6 months ago when I moved in. Or 9 months ago when we signed the papers for the house, got the key, and walked into it together.
The house was empty. There was no trace of the old owners as Max and I walked through it together, room by room.
We visited what would be our master bedroom and dreamed about which of the guest rooms would one day be a nursery.
We squealed with excitement that our bathroom had double sinks, which was strangely at the very top of my “wish list” for a house. Nothing screamed marriage to me more than us brushing our teeth next to each other.
There were a million things we wanted to do to the house, but at that moment, our little 3 bedroom house was a palace to me.
It was our home.
The place where the deepest desire of my heart, being a wife, would finally be realized.
The place where I would have people over for dinners, snuggle in on cold nights and watch movies with my husband.
The place I would host my small group of ninth grade girls, put up our first Christmas tree and make my husband’s lunches for work the next day.
Finding our home was an emotional process. The market was red-hot, houses were selling like crazy, and we had a short amount of time to get into the house. (Four month engagements really are the best though) After losing another house we loved to a higher bidder, I was ready to give up and find an apartment with a pool.
God opened the door, literally, to the perfect home for us, in the perfect time, at the perfect price.
With double sinks.
This home was a palace to me.
Even then, the kitchen tile was not my favorite, but I didn’t care. God was raining down blessings upon blessings upon us and I danced on those tiles like they were made of gold.
How quickly I lose sight of the bigger picture- the past faithfulness of God, and how blessed I truly am.
As soon as the novelty wears off, I forget that this home was a gift. Every day in this home is a gift. I might not love every tiny detail of it, but when the grumbling begins to take up space in my heart and overshadow gratitude, there is a real problem. (I was going to say take up real estate in my heart as a housing pun, but thought it would ruin the serious vibe I have going on).
So today, I thank God for a house. I thank Him for a warm shelter as blizzards blow outside my window.
I thank Him for a husband who stands on that cold kitchen tile every morning preparing my coffee and eggs.
I thank Him that I have food to make the crumbs that show so visibly on the floor.
I thank Him for the ways He has come through in my life when I thought there was no way.
Maybe one day we will upgrade the tile. But until then, I will (attempt) to live with a grateful heart that never loses sight of how fortunate I am.
Thank you Jesus, for teaching me lessons through ugly kitchen tile.
I needed that one.
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I once had the privilege of serving in a church based ministry to homeless families. Those exhausted folk would stay overnight in churches in our area for one week and then move the next week to a new church location.
Each morning after spending the night “sleeping” at our church and rising before dawn to serve them breakfast, I would go home and fall onto my knees in equal parts of shame and gratitude for the blessing of my warm, safe home. God opens our eyes, doesn’t He?