I thought about all the laundry we do everyday. I have been using the washer that was already here until we can get my high efficiency one set up. The one that was here is much smaller so I run a lot more loads with a lot more water. So much for being patient and getting bedrooms done first. We were going to have to get my washer hooked up fast. However, we wanted to put the washer and dryer under the stairs and out of the kitchen. There is already plumbing because right then it was the awkward bathroom. But Sunday had been so nice since we finally had two bathrooms, we didn't have to start getting ready for church by 6:30am. I had thought maybe we would wait even longer to change anything. It wasn't what we wanted but it could work. Not to mention, my washer leaks sometimes and we didn't want to ruin the floor, maybe by the time we made the switch I could just get a new one that didn't leak. So much for that idea, we needed to make a change NOW.
Next I thought about the dishes. I have a high efficiency dishwasher sitting on the back porch but the old dishwasher we took out is so old that the plumbing and electrical hook ups don't match today's dishwashers. It certainly uses less water than I do since I fill up the sink many times a day to keep up with the piles of dishes. I thought I was being patient and not putting an extra burden on my husband by nagging for a dishwasher. I wondered what it would cost to use paper plates.
Next I considered showers... But the washer was the one thing I could work on now so into the awkward bathroom I went and started cleaning it out. Then I started taking apart the stand up shower but it seemed like it was attached to the floor somehow. I tried everything I could think of, even looking up You Tube videos of how to remove a shower. All of them said if the drain didn't come apart that I would have to cut the pipe. I didn't want to lose that drain pipe though because we were going to get a plastic pan that sits under the washer and have the leak drain out through what was the shower drain. I spent 2 hours trying to get this thing out, even going to the hardware store twice but in the end I started cutting the drain pipe which meant digging through insulation and reaching to a very awkward place over the pile of coal in the basement. Jared came home and saw what I was doing. After looking at it for a minute he went upstairs and lifted the shower off the drain. I could not believe my eyes. I didn't even have to cut the pipe! The insulation was holding it down not the drain. I was fit to be tied. I had to go pick up and drop off people since one of our cars wasn't working and when I returned Jared had the sink out as well as the toilet. I could have saved a lot of time and just let him do the whole thing!
Due to many years of unvented shower steam the walls under the stairs were a mess. I went to the store to get the things we would need to prepare the new laundry room. Marty was at work so I thought I'd surprise him and go get the supplies myself. I got drywall, paint, and flooring. While I was there a young girl came up to me and asked if she could give me her gift card for the returns she just made and I could give her cash for gas. She was even willing to take half of the card value, she just needed some gas. I've been there. I know that desperation and frustration. So I think it was a God thing because I was able to show her the grace of God and gave her full value for the card which she insisted I use first to make sure it was valid. We had to wait for Josh so I got to spend some time listening and sharing with her about God's love. I was certain it had been a meeting set up by God and I left feeling quite happy. Marty was less impressed as he looked over all the "pretty" stuff I got and wondered where all the supplies were for behind the wall or under the floor. I hadn't thought about that stuff. There is a reason we are a team, I think I got a little rambunctious - again.
As I said earlier the car was also broken so we were guzzling the gas with our van making multiple trips taking people to work and practices. I was spending every day driving more than I was home. It was becoming ridiculous. I remembered the excessive amount of pipe Marty bought when we were working on the upstairs bathroom because he really didn't know what we would need and the many trips to the store were getting very expensive and old. I went through the house and collected them all. I even wiped off the dust and found the receipts for each one. I had over $100 to return which was perfect because the part we needed for the car was just that. My heart soared as I drove to the store to return the pipes and get money to get the car fixed. I was dumbfounded when the store clerk said the receipts were too old I could only get store credit. I begged and pleaded. She talked to her manager but alas store credit it was. It was almost time to close and try as I might I could not find one person who would give me money for the card. I left the store very dejected and angry. How ironic. I had a good cry all the way home.
Soon after I was going to my room in the dark and heard the laundry sink running at full blast. In anger I slammed the handle down as I said, "With our water bill who would leave the water.." I stopped mid sentence. The handle didn't move and the sound continued. Putting my hand under the faucet did not feel wet. I flipped on the light and called Marty into the room. We searched around and found a water fall running down our basement wall. The pipe to the washer had burst and from the placement of the water we found out why our water bill was so high. It had been leaking for quite some time. We had to shut the water off to the whole house because there was no valve to stop it. The next afternoon my dad came over and fixed the problem but there was no longer any water to the washer. Out of desperation to do piles of laundry Marty put the garden hose through the window and hooked it to the washer. It worked!
That Saturday Marty and I were trying to figure out what to do. There was so much between the car and laundry room and just the house in general. We had no money so it made doing anything feel impossible but sometimes God directs by not providing what we think we need. We did the only thing we had provision for. We went to the store and used our store credit to get the rest of the things we needed for the laundry room. This time we went together and it was good to spend some time without the kids. I think some time together was what we needed even more than any of the other things screaming for our attention.
The next few days a lot of stress just kept compounding from driving all day every day to being unable to pay for things because of the amount of gas costs to forgetting people or appointments and the list could go on. I had just had enough. I was on my way to pick up Marty, driving on a quiet country road with no one anywhere and I just lost it. I yelled as loud as I could, "I can't do this anymore!!! Do You even care!? Where are You?..." By the time I got to Marty, I was hoarse and weary. There was no answer from Heaven. Just silence. But I knew that I was at the end of me. I had done all that I knew to do. I had tried to do all the right things. I had asked for help but none could be given. I had no where left to turn. I held nothing back but poured it all out to Him who sits on the Throne of Heaven and He heard my cry. A little while later the car was fixed and the laundry room was underway. The problem of the water was fixed and the hose will hopefully soon be gone from our window. The utility company gave us a small discount on the sewer part of the bill and worked out a managable payment plan for the rest. Was God finally moving because I yelled? No. He was moving all along. I just couldn't see it. I had to come to the end of myself so I could know He had this thing under His control despite how it looked to me. I can enter into His rest knowing that or I can keep trying to make it all work myself. It is such a hard lesson to learn and one I must easliy forget because He keeps having to teach it again and again. But in his incredible love and patience He continues to shape and mold me even when I cry out and think it's more than I can bear. He sees the bigger picture and He loves me enough to ignore my whining for the sake of becoming all that He intended me to be. I just wish it didn't have to hurt so much.
2 Corinthians 12:8-10
8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.