how can we live “in progress?”

When we signed the lease to rent our current home, there were several conditions that we agreed upon with the property manager. A few big changes were planned in the kitchen with the flooring as well as the counters.

We loved this house immediately and figured a floor repair and counter replacement would be easy-peasy. As homeowners and far-away landlords ourselves, we know the process of utilizing a property manager and the need to act quickly when repairs are necessary.

I think for the two issues our Texas home has had, we gave the go-ahead and approval less than 24 hours after the management company presented us with work orders and bids. Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case in the home we are renting.

I’ll summarize here, but let’s just say that the people who hold the mortgage to this house took a lump sum from their homeowners insurance payout to replace the hardwood floors in the ENTIRE house, and yet only paid to replace the *kitchen* floor; they pocketed the money. This project was completed nearly four months after our move in date.

The replacement of the counters and sink with considerable, obvious water damage finally got physically underway last week. This, just shy of, oh, seven months of us living here. The granite vendor came to our house FIVE times to measure the counters and kept giving me and our property manager the run around about delivery dates, availability and scheduling his installation crew. Quite honestly I’ve felt quite taken advantage of as a “stay at home mom without a job,” as if my time is any less valuable than someone else’s. Yes, I’ve been as available as necessary to just get the doggone counters installed, but I’ve been jerked around about when I needed to be here and how I’d need to plan my schedule for months.

Just last week, I literally had to confess out loud to God and my prayer group that I have had anger and sin in my heart over how I feel toward the granite man. Between the phone calls, promised deadlines, missed texts, missed appointments, and general blowing of sunshine I was ready to pull my own hair out or use a granite sample to bludgeon a certain person’s face. (Hormones anyone?) Let’s just say that I jokingly, not jokingly told our property manager that she may have to post my bail at the county jail if he didn’t get here on the day he finally promised installation. Oh. My. Word!!! photo 1-2

The crew FINALLY came with the illusive slabs and installed them. I knew I’d be without my kitchen for several hours. And son-of-a-gun, if the project STILL isn’t complete. photo 2-2

Our kitchen spent the better part of the weekend in alternating periods of functionality. No water. Water. Sink. No faucet. Faucet. Water on. Dishwasher no water. Close call on burning and melting a plastic cutting board in dishwasher. Dishwasher finally up and running again; no house fire.

And now, the back splash needs to be addressed. More miscues between the granite man and the property manager and me.  More contact required with other vendors and the home owners. More tile samples. More measuring. More time living in a mess. I have never been known by my fruit of patience and this development of a “still-in-progress” back splash around the perimeter of the entire counter area may, in fact, be my proverbial straw-that-breaks-the-camel’s-back.

That and all of the sawdust and counter particles that fell into every. single. lower. cabinet. This, after I asked if my kitchen items should be moved or covered. No, he said. It will be fine, he said. There will be no mess, he said. We pop off the old counters in one fell swoop, he said. Your things will be fine, he said.

photo 3-2

We practically live in our kitchen and eat about 95% of our meals there. The idea of continuing to live and work and eat and cook around this mess and state of incompletion is driving me batty. I like things finished. And I like things to look nice. I don’t like seeing the disgusting glue or mold or gunk that formerly held the counters to the sheetrock.

Newsflash. I have about zero control over any of this now. This isn’t our house. These aren’t our decisions. This isn’t our investment or money. All of this lies in the hands of (many) other people. I know this is one of many drawbacks of being renters. I realize that this is just the way it goes.

As much as it pains me to see our kitchen like this and have to be inconvenienced with the varying degrees of a complete and working kitchen, I realize this is NOT a big deal in the grand scheme of life. I realize that the way I react and speak to our property manager and the granite man and his installation team is of far more importance than my aesthetic comforts.

The Lord has graciously given me an opportunity here to speak with kindness and show patience and forgiveness even when my flesh tells me I have the right to pitch a fit or speak with sarcasm or hostility or huff and puff about sawdust in my skillets. He has afforded me an opportunity to approach the people in my home with kindness and gentleness when my flesh says repay a lack of integrity with being a jerk and having my own way.

I’ll admit it. I hate this. I get frustrated when my faith asks of me to choose the high road and take the better path. I’ll dig in my heels and still utter some ugliness under my breath or out loud to Ryan. This is surely better than saying these things out loud to the property manager or granite man, right? It’s a step in the right direction, right? Like my kitchen, I, too, am still very much a work in progress.

Living a life in Christ doesn’t mean that I am all put together and shiny and 100% functional like I demand my kitchen to be. Coming to Christ means I bring my incompleteness, ill-repaired life and messes TO him. God is the contractor, property manager and home owner all in one. He can invade the space of my heart and only he can do the work in me; but only if and when I let him.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” {Philippians 2:12-16}

It may easily take another few weeks or months (God-forbid) to get the back splash complete and f-i-n-a-l-l-y finished. And if it does, that’s okay. We can still make coffee and prepare meals in the kitchen. When guests come to my house I can laugh off the mess and still show hospitality even if the sheetrock behind my sink and oven looks disgusting. We can still eat around the table and I can still be nice in the face of improvements!

2 thoughts on “how can we live “in progress?”

  1. Gwen Chandler says:

    Sooo hard! We have had painting and redoing of ceilings for over 3 weeks now! The house is full of dust and floors have been a mess! I understand and yet I love the verses in Philippians 2 that encourage us to shine like stars in this dark and perverse world! Thank you for shining and for your encouragement to live out my faith!


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