I blame The Nester.
It’s her fault I haven’t been able to feel my arms for the past two weeks.
Remember how I told you I was going to read it?
Well, I did, and it changed the course of my July. (And the look of our current rental home.)
If I hadn’t read it, I definitely wouldn’t have spent the past two weeks scraping off wallpaper, spackling, sanding, priming, and eventually painting our entry way, dining room, kitchen and half bath.
But I’m so glad I did.
Apparently, Myquillyn Smith (aka “The Nester“) has the power to persuade me to do crazy things.
Like write 31 blog posts in 31 days. (Which happens to be far less labor intensive than the remodeling project, in case you were wondering.)
But her book did more than inspire me. It gave me that boost of motivation that bumped me from the “Nope; I Don’t Have It In Me” Camp, to the “Oh, Fine. I’ll Do It” side of the fence.
Why? Because as The Nester reminded me, home is meant to be enjoyed.
Even if it’s a rental. Even if it’s your tenth rental in ten years, as this one happens to be.
So, I bit the bullet, and guess what? The grueling hours spent scraping and spraying and steaming and scraping more wallpaper made me think more about about salvation and sanctification.
You see, our walls had three different types of wallpaper. The first, a navy blue checked paper, came off with a mediocre level of sweat and tears.
(Okay, I could barely lift my arms high enough to reach my laptop keyboard after the first day of spraying vinegar and scraping. With my last ounce of energy I managed to type “wallpaper steamer rental” into the search bar before collapsing into bed.)
(The next morning I almost cried trying to lift my arms high enough to reach the steering wheel so I could drive to the rental place to get the steamer.)
(In case you were wondering, I survived.)
I could totally relate to the chapter in Melanie Shankle’s book, The Antelope in the Living Room, when she writes about painting their “back house.” As she points out, at least our arms are more toned now than they’ve ever been before.
But back to my revelation about how wallpaper relates to salvation.
So, the first type (the navy blue) was average in its difficulty level. Then there was the tannish brown with navy paisleys.
Oh. My. Goodness.
Almost as impossible as trying to get a sugar-buzzed toddler down for a nap.
It put up a seriously good fight.
(I might’ve wished once or twice during this phase that I’d never read The Nesting Place.)
Even with the steamer, the wallpaper came off in beautiful, long sheets, like this:
By the time we finished peeling paper from the two entryways, the dining room and the kitchen, I was ready to forget about the half bath. Then I figured I’d regret it later if the rest of the main floor was freshly painted and that was the only room left in the house with any hint of wallpaper. So, I decided to go for it.
And it was so easy. Peeled right off. That’s when I started thinking about how walls with wallpaper are like people.(Stick with me.) You see, every single one of us has a heart that is completely covered in sin.
Like a wall covered in wallpaper.
(Raise your hand if you think wallpaper is sin.)
(I’m kidding. If you have wallpaper in your house, I’m sure it’s lovely.)
Back to our hearts. They’re covered in sin, and they need to be changed.
But we can’t just paint over the wallpaper.
We can’t just add something that looks nicer on top of the layer of sin.
We need the paper to be removed.
And try as hard as we might, those stubborn sheets of sin will. not. come off.
Not even with a steamer.
We need someone else to do it for us. A Professional Sin Remover.
If you look in the Yellow Pages, you’ll only find One person qualified for the job.
If you want your heart cleansed, if you want to be free from the grip of sin, He’s the only One who can do the job.
He strips the ugly wallpaper from our hearts through His sacrifice on the cross, and He takes it upon Himself.
Some of us might put up more of a fight than others. Like the brown wallpaper in my dining room.
Others might be more readily receptive, like the paper in my half bath, already dried and starting to loosen at the corners.
But only He can pull it off.
He takes away the sin until the bare drywall is exposed. Then He covers us with a fresh coat of His blood,
and we are clean.
To quote The Nester’s motto, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.”
And the same applies to you.
You don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful.
If you’re waiting until you’re “good enough” to have your heart remodeled, you’ll never be changed.
You don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to make you beautiful.
But through trusting in His sacrifice, He can make you both perfect (in the next life), and beautiful in His sight.
As a reward for reading this far, some before and after pictures:
Back Entryway Before:
Back Entryway After:
Dining Area Before:
Dining Area After:
And isn’t this the coolest carving of Africa? Two guys from our church recently brought this back for us from Uganda:
I put an empty frame around it ..
.. and now it has a new home:
Oh, and I can’t forget about this map decal ..
Then, in a totally uncharacteristic move, I bought a can of black chalkboard paint. I thought I was being bold. Daring. Creative.
Let’s just say .. the black wall and me? It wasn’t exactly love at first sight.
But we’re growing accustomed to one another, now that we’ve spent the past several days looking at each other multiple times a day.
The half bath has not been overly friendly. This is what she looked like before:
Apparently she’s still trying to find her identity. Personally, I hope she finds it soon. I have a hunch that she doesn’t like to be in the spotlight, so I’ve decreased the wattage, and so far she seems softer and more pleasant.
And that’s it.
That’s me blaming The Nester for making my arms sore. And for writing such a thought-provoking and challenging book. And for helping me turn this rental into a home that I enjoy even more than I did before.
If nothing else, the cobwebs have been cleared from the ceilings, my arms are toned enough for the next several months, and our outlet covers have never been cleaner.