Love in the Messes

Love in the Messes

If you’ve wondered what I’ve been up to lately, I hope you’ll enjoy these pieces I’ve put together about some of our projects lately. This is what started a lot of changes around our house…

I wandered down the stairs to open the washing machine door after it should have been finished running its self-cleaning cycle. It had begun smelling the way washers sometimes do, so I cleaned the filter and set it to self-clean. I didn’t want to leave the door shut, or it would get that smell again. On my way down the stairs, my ears caught a sound that drew my eyes to the bottom. There was water covering the entire floor of the basement.

After a moment of deliberation, I plunged in, walking on my tippy toes in my socks. Stretching over the washer, I turned off the water then hit the button to turn the machine off. Then I pulled my phone out and called Andrew, who was working in the garage.

He was working on someone else’s car, and between parts being slow to come in and him being so busy, it was a mess. He was hoping to finish it, but I knew as I called him that those plans would go out the window.

“He’s not going to be happy…” I thought as I waited for him to pick up.
When he answered, I didn’t even pause for a breath.

“Hi, so, there’s a lot of water in the basement, so I’m going to need you to come like, now and maybe bring the shop vac or something, I don’t know.”
Ever so calmly, he told me he’d be right there.

“I wonder how much water she considers a lot.” He wondered as he walked into the house, went through the kitchen, and trekked down the stairs. His question was answered as he realized there were at least two inches of water covering that side of the basement.

You see, our house is a triplex that we own and rent out the upper two apartments. The side with the washer was finished at some point but was back to bare bones by the time he bought the house. Our assumption is it was due to water damage, but we don’t actually know. A door featuring a lock on our side opens into the utility side where the panel boxes and water heaters are for each apartment. There is a step up about four inches to get into that side.

He got the shop vac, unlocked the coded lock basement door from the outside while I gingerly walked up our stairs in my wet socks. Stripping them off on the kitchen floor, I searched for my rain boots. I had used them while working in the garden, so I took them outside to stomp the mud off then I went downstairs to try to figure out what to do first. After filling the shop vac with water in less than a minute, Andrew decided I should call my parents to see if we could borrow their bigger shop vac and another dehumidifier.

As I got off the phone, I burst into tears. Andrew, who knows how to handle me better than I know how to handle myself, had stayed calm and collected the entire time while I felt like he should have been exploding. Never have I seen anyone so unfazed (at least outwardly) by two inches of water being where it doesn’t belong and possibly ruining the instruments, decorations, and car parts stored there. Yet, he never lost his temper or even got upset at me. He noticed the initial adrenaline rush was over and knew my body didn’t know how to cope.

“Have you taken any hydrocort yet?” He asked as he tried to calm me down. I had. He surprised me again with how calm and caring he was when I had just made a huge mess.

Now, perhaps I myself didn’t make that mess, but I caused it since I was the one who was trying to clean the washer, so naturally, the blame should be on me, right? But he never pointed a finger, placed blame on me, or made me feel guilty. All those feelings were my own, and I realized I was looking for him to affirm my negative emotions, yet he didn’t. He calmed me and kept working. I calmed down enough to get the dehumidifier and shop vac from my parents. I came back calmer and with a fan, too, and a promise of another dehumidifier from my sister and more fans once we had a bigger vehicle.

It took a while, and I was exhausted before the end of it, but the basement is dry now. We moved everything out of those rooms and found there was a lot we could get rid of. Funny how physical things lose their value when you focus on what matters. In this case, that was making sure nothing got moldy because that would cause bigger issues, especially for me. He took a full truckload of burnable things over to my parents to burn, and we set out a lot for waste management to pick up. We realized we were holding on to objects that didn’t need to be held on to, and we got the opportunity to re-focus our priorities.

As I was doing my devotions today, I was reminded of a couple of things.

First, our greatest joy should not be in our possessions, but in our Savior.

Second, everything is trash compared to knowing Christ.

Third, if Andrew loves me this much (which is often beyond what I think he should), how much more must God love me?

When I think Andrew should be upset with me, I carry mental dialogues and let them affect me in negative ways when I don’t honestly know what he is thinking or feeling. How much more do I do this with God and assume He is pointing fingers, placing blame, or calling me guilty?

According to the Bible, God sees me as guiltless because of Jesus’ sacrifice (2 Corinthians 5:21). Andrew saw me as innocent because he knew I didn’t do it on purpose.

On the ride home after picking up more drying appliances that evening, Andrew told me he knew making a big deal out of it would only make it worse. He was purposefully careful and calm because he knew by escalating it, I would have melted down worse. I would have needed more medicine and not been as useful. Besides, what’s the point in getting mad when there’s nothing that can be done about it?

Andrew’s grace amazes me, but how much more grace does our Heavenly Father give? He owes us nothing, and we owe him everything, yet he took our place for us and cleans up our messes.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

If Andrew loves me this much, how much more must God love me? Trying to comprehend that takes my breath away, and I hope you experience this same sense of wonder I have.

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