Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Painting with a Broad Brush


I’ve asked my friend Shawna to paint some more of my furniture. Last year she transformed my French couch with a creamy linen color she custom-mixed with Annie Sloan chalk paint. 

Then she coated my dresser in a dreamy color she suggested: Paris Grey. 

{She didn't even need to show me a paint swatch since any color with Paris in its name is chic enough for me.}

I love everything about Shawna’s decorating style. 

When she moved a few doors down from me, I couldn’t wait to see what she did with her townhouse since it’s exactly the same as mine. 

When I finally wrangled my way in {pushing aside her protests that she wasn’t ready for tours yet}, I found she fashioned drop cloths into curtains for her bedroom windows, hung a turquoise cow painting on her wall, placed French champagne buckets as centerpieces on her tables, and of course filled her house with her own painted furniture.




So a few weeks ago, she came over to take a look at my vintage buffet and a chest of drawers in my bedroom. 

Both pieces look dark and dated {and I’m refraining from exiling them to the resale shop} so I thought maybe paint could bring them back to life.

We talked colors and I told her I’m thinking of shades of creamy white with a dash of Provence blue to highlight drawers and doors, but I’ll leave the details to her. 

I completely trust her style and artistry.


Which is kind of surprising since trusting isn’t all that easy for me. 

When someone says, "trust me, you’ll like it," I tend to think that's a sure sign that I probably won’t.

But it seems that relinquishing control of some parts of my life is what God’s been proposing to me. 

He doesn't force his way into my heart, but he leaves it up to me, asking, “Trust me with this?” or “Why don’t you think about loosening your grip on that?”

No matter how hard I try to figure things out, I'm not heading in any particular direction, I'm not leaning toward any certain solution, and I've not come up with any type of a plan.



I’ve let the pieces break and scatter and I’ve watched God put them back together. 


I’ve watched the cords unwind and unravel and I’ve seen God restring them into something altogether different.


And I've stood before the mountain range of impossibility and I've watched God make a way where there wasn't one. 


{I’ll bet you've got some of these similar mountains in your life too?} 


So I've decided to camp here a while. I've pitched my tent. Unpacked my suitcase. And I'm making myself feel at home.

This is where I'll be waiting when God comes down from his holy mountain. Because there is one thing I am sure of: I don't want to miss him.



Years ago, I was fresh out of college and mired in a job search that went on for months, full of dead ends and brick walls. 

The internet didn’t exist then {it's hard to imagine a life without Google} and I was in a new city with few networking connections. 

It was the most hopeless year of my life. 

I was living with my parents who were going through their own financial and business difficulties. I knelt on the shag green carpet of our rental house praying for a job, praying for hope, praying for an upswing in our circumstances.

Back then, a career, my own home and a car seemed like a far-off dream.

But that hard year was my first experience to really know more of God than I ever had before.


He was laying a foundation of trust in me that I could look back on through the years as a remembrance of what he had done and to see how far he'd brought me. 

I finally found a job that allowed me to buy a car, but it took several more years before I could afford my own apartment.  

And eight years and three jobs later, I finally landed the very job I'd prayed for and dreamed of during that first difficult year out of college.

My experience has been that God does not move quickly in my life. He’s much more interested in slowly doing a work in my heart and securing my trust than in giving me what I’m asking for when I want it. 

And it’s taken me a while to realize it, but I want that work in my heart more than I want the change in my circumstances. 



So I'm waiting for Shawna to show me a few more furniture paint colors on Pinterest because she wants to be sure I'll like what she chooses before she gets started. 

She really doesn’t need to because even if she wanted to paint my furniture frog-leg green {my least favorite color}, I have a feeling it would still look lovely. 

She has a way of giving dreary old furniture a new lease on life even though they’re on their last spindly legs.

I know I can trust her.




I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart and with Bonnie Gray at the Faith Barista. Join me there for more inspiring posts!






32 comments:

  1. "God does not move quickly in my life"...He is always in control. Great reminder that HIS timing is best!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emily,
      That's a hard season to sit through, isn't it, when we wait on his timing? I'm so grateful he's always in control (and not me!) and I'm so grateful you're here today!

      Delete
  2. "I want that work in my heart more than I want to change my circumstances."
    An ocean of wisdom there, for sure! Thank you for such beauty of words and of images!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Michele,
      So glad you enjoyed the photos and thank you for your sweet words here!

      Delete
  3. Hi Valerie, I'm visiting again from TheFaithBarista today, and I love the Place-of-Trust in which you are waiting! "I've watched the cords unwind and unravel and I’ve seen God restring them into something altogether different." When He works that way in our lives, He reminds us of that just when we need it again. Thank you for your precious reminder today that touched my heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bettie,
      So grateful for your visit here! God's work in our lives sometimes takes a route that we wouldn't have chosen but there's always a gem to uncover if we trust him!

      Delete
  4. One of the reasons I like to journal is so that I can go back and be reminded how far I've come and how God worked out situations that felt, at the time, so incredibly hopeless. I'm in a middle season of my own right now, I know what I want but not sure how to get there and would really love for God to open doors and make things clear.

    sigh.

    But that's not how it works. So I trust and wait and pray.

    Always a joy to stop in here.

    p.s. Your furniture pieces are gorgeous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alecia,
      I love the way the furniture turned out too! A few years ago I started keeping a prayer journal and it's amazing how when I started noting the answers and solutions and answered prayers, how many more of them there were than I had imagined. Praying for your season now and for doors of opportunity to open for you!

      Delete
  5. "My experience has been that God does not move quickly in my life. He’s much more interested in slowly doing a work in my heart and securing my trust than in giving me what I’m asking for when I want it." I know it's a long quote - but so, so good. Yes, Valerie - that's how He works in my heart too - and my heart is often slow to listen. So glad that He is gracious and patient and that what we need trumps what we want.

    And chalk paint - I want to do like every piece of furniture I own in all the beautiful colors...that scare me. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tiffany,
      Our hearts are slow to listen -- yes I like that! Sometimes it just takes a little longer . . . Paint scares me a little too, that's why I have an expert like my friend Shawna do it for me! :) xo

      Delete
  6. Loosening our grip, cultivating trust, releasing something precious ... all this takes great faith and lots of grace.

    And I can't wait to see how your furniture turns out. I've always thought you were brave and courageous ...

    ;-}

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Linda,
      Releasing something precious -- love those words today! That does call for great faith that God is working for our good, no matter what. I can't wait for the furniture to be painted, too -- I'll share photos!

      Delete
  7. This encourages my heart, Valerie. God works slowly in me, too, securing His trust little by little. And I'm not always willing to rest in the waiting. I'm glad He is so patient with us. I want to allow His work in my heart rather than fretting about unchanging circumstances. I hope you will share what your friend does with your furniture. And by the way, did I read it right that you wouldn't even care if it's "frog-leg" green? :) I wouldn't want you to get nightmares...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Trudy, I included my absolute most un-favorite color in there, just for you! I hoped it would give you a little chuckle! :)

      Delete
  8. Hi Valerie,

    Nice to meet you. I followed you over from Dolly's blog. Thanks for this glimpse into your decorating musings and style, but even more for the glimpse into your heart stories of learning to trust God and finding him to be sweetly prove-worthy. :) I can relate.

    So, what's this job that took eight years in the making?! And keep us posted on the armoire color.

    Jennifer Dougan
    www.jenniferdougan.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Thanks for stopping by and nice to meet you too! In college I interned in the PR Dept of a hospital system and really loved it, but it wasn't until several moves and several jobs later that I finally landed back in communications for a hospital! :)

      Delete
  9. Valerie,
    Beautiful :-) And I can relate to this: "My experience has been that God does not move quickly in my life. He’s much more interested in slowly doing a work in my heart and securing my trust than in giving me what I’m asking for when I want it. " Yes. I pray regularly for the grace to trust Him more. Blessings to you :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dolly,
      Thanks for stopping by! That prayer for more grace to trust him is one I join with you in praying too, friend!

      Delete
  10. Oh Valerie - thank you so much for your kind words. I cannot tell you how much this meant to me. And of course tonight I was feeling a bit "slumpy" about myself (if slumpy is even a word - I don't think it is but it just sounds right) - so your encouragement came at the perfect moment. And the fact that you talked about TRUST was just another affirmation for me. LOVE THIS QUOTE: "And I've stood before the mountain range of impossibility and I've watched God make a way where there wasn't one." That is so so good. Your incredible gift for putting your heart into words never ceases to amaze me. I will message you tomorrow with my thoughts on the furniture so that we can get this started! -Shawna

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Shawna,
      No rush, of course, on the painting -- I'm just getting excited about it and the shutters on my photos from Italy reminded me of the color we talked about! :) And I kind of love the word slumpy :) but trust isn't easy for me either. I think that's why we spend our lives practicing it!

      Delete
  11. Hi Valerie! I would love to see a picture when she is done! I loved hearing your story too- and so glad you finally got the job that you had wanted!Trusting isn't easy for me either- I think it depends on who it is and what we know to be true about them- So the more I get to know Him the easier it will be to trust I guess! Thanks so much for all these thoughts- such beauty as always!! sending hugs and love xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Susie,
      Can't wait to share photos - -I'm especially excited about the buffet -- I think it will make the room! How right you are that we have to put our focus on what we know to be true about God, otherwise our circumstances will just confuse, confound and disappoint us. I somehow think trusting is a life-long endeavor, perhaps to prepare us for what's to come in a future we can only imagine?

      Delete
  12. Thank you for sharing your story Valerie. It encourages me to trust too. God builds are trust for He knows what's coming up where we may even need to trust and surrender more. I have a lot to learn still and happy He has led me to places like yours to glean from. I hope you post pictures of this recent project so we can see the paint colour picked!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Lynn,
      I can't wait to share photos of what color we end up with -- it's always fun to see the finished project! Yes, God give us ample opportunities to trust him and I think we need that repetition, don't you?! Thank you for your always sweet words!

      Delete
  13. Love this! It can be so hard to trust that everything is going according to God's plan at times, I know I've struggled with it a lot myself. I know your taste is impeccable so I'm sure whatever she ends up doing will be impeccable too! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Amy,
      Oh if only you could see Shawna's adorable place -- it's such a treat -- but thank you for your vote of confidence on my decorating style! xo

      Delete
  14. Goodness knows I've felt a lot like I'm on my last spindly legs this week....! How did I get to Thursday and just now write a comment to your beautiful post?? This spoke so much to me : "My experience has been that God does not move quickly in my life. He’s much more interested in slowly doing a work in my heart and securing my trust than in giving me what I’m asking for when I want it. " YES and AMEN! I'm finding this more and more... Oftentimes when I'm bent out of shape because things are not happening fast enough for me, it's not because God's not working (because He surely is..) it's rather because I'm trying to do something out of season... And I love how you said you were pitching a tent to wait it out--- just like a tent, every season is temporary... it's hard finally getting to the place where I realize that but so wonderful to fully work out my trust in HIM, not me. Can't wait to see your "new to you" furniture! And I ♥ your candle in the top picture... for obvious reasons! (wink wink) xoxo Valerie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather,
      That candle snuck into the photo, didn't it?! :) I find I often have A LOT of time to ponder trust and faith, and that time seems so much longer while I'm going through it, yet it's really just a season, as you've beautifully pointed out. Yes, I'm so grateful he's always at work, even when we don't see him!

      Delete
  15. I know I'm not supposed to laugh at the idea of you pitching a tent, but I can't help it. :) I'd be the same though.
    You are right-things are so much better when we let God do them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarah,
      I'm laughing too, since a tent is never my first (or last!) choice of accommodation! Maybe it's a luxury tent?! :)

      Delete
  16. His timing is perfect! While my father has been ill for the last few years, I was recently deployed to Afghanistan for a year. I was concerned about him while I was gone, but was confident that if he past he would be with his Heavenly Father and wife. But God, in His perfect timing, allowed me to return home to see my father before He called him home.
    I heard a sermon this Sunday of how we ought to know God. His greatness as well as His goodness. His love for us is incomprehensible.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jim,
      So sorry to hear about your dad, but how wonderful that you got to see him after your deployment! It seems in everything we go through, God give us a new side of him to experience and that is sometimes beyond our understanding! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete

Thanks for reading -- I love to hear your comments! To leave a comment, you can choose an ID in the "comment as" box or just choose anonymous. Choose your ID first, write your comment in the box and hit publish. Your comment will be visible just as soon as I can post it!