Wallpaper: I HATE it, I know I just said hate. My son would gasp if he knew I wrote those words for all to see.
I just spent one month stripping the many layers of wallpaper off of my kitchen walls. The previous owners thought it to be a good idea to paint over, what I counted, 5 different prints of the various trends of the years. This is where I have learned to say “bless their hearts.”
But during that month it was no coincidence that I was dealing with a season of the Lord cleaning out some deep wounds and having me deal with forgiveness myself. For many years I struggled with the guilt of knowing there were certain pieces of hurt in my past that I hadn’t yet let go of. There were people who previously held positions in my life that had scarred me, damaged me, and left gashes in my heart that I felt even stiches could never heal. And, the worst part was, I felt as if these emotional injuries had also brought harm to the heart of my child. As a mother, there is truly nothing in this world I wouldn’t do for my children, and the thought of my child being hurt in the same way I had been was something I didn’t have the strength to find forgiveness for, regardless of the fact that the person that caused this hurt would never know that 18 years later, I was still struggling to forgive them.
Because of all the incredible things God has done in my life and for my family since this obstacle so many years ago, I’m able to clearly see that His plans and purposes for my life are infinitely more powerful than the past. But, I know I’ve been called to forgive even within the most devastating situations.
Ephesians 4:31-32 says, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
It’s like this, every time I would reach to rip the wallpaper from the walls, the pieces would come off in ½ inch strips. Then just when I thought a large piece was coming off and I was finally making progress, my scrapper would break. Does anyone know what I’m saying here?
You peel and then eye roll, peel and then eye roll. It takes time to get down to the smooth drywall, and even when you do, you have to patch and sand. It gets foggy from the dust. It’s a process that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a constant battle.
Each moment I spent peeling the wallpaper, I was reminded of the battle against forgiveness that I was fighting within my own heart. Each tiny piece repeatedly brought to mind the fact that I still had yet to find the peace that comes with experiencing full forgiveness.
In these moments, God brought to mind Colossians 3:13, “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
I was called to forgive the sins that had been committed against me and my child, so that God could ultimately forgive me.
When being honest, we can all say that we have had those people and situations in our lives that take time to makeover and overcome. As I was annoyingly peeling the wallpaper for the one-hundredth time, I came to the conclusion that forgiveness, restoration and reconciliation are the very layers of the home improvements of life. It is hard work, lots of sweat, time and materials, but there is the hope of the end always in sight. We also find joy, relief and hope within the love, redemption and forgiveness that God so freely offers us.
When the job is finally done and your walls are finally clean, you can sit with a fresh cup of coffee, relax in the peace of His presence, and decorate the new walls of your heart with the joy of the Lord.