Plumbing the Depths


I wish I were a DIY sort of girl. 

Just to make little repairs around my house, nothing too ambitious. It seems that something in the bathroom always needs attention.

I’d like to figure out how to clear the drains in my sink. Or find a better way to change the lightbulb in the fixture above my shower without teetering on a ladder and getting doused by plaster from the ceiling. Or even how to install a new shower head.

I know there are a plethora of YouTube videos that might show me how, but it took me five viewings of one before I had the strap attached to my camera correctly so I can imagine how long it would take before I could make a home repair.

I do have three toolkits, though, strategically stashed around my house should I need a wrench or a pair of pliers or a teeny-tiny screwdriver. I even have a level. Which I’ve never used because if I wonder if anything is straight, well, I just tilt my head and eyeball it.



My limited success at DIY projects has been sewing little fabric flowers to a lampshade {which took much longer than I thought and looks messy}, or ironing tape on the hem of my pants instead of sewing {since as the lampshade project proves, I can’t really sew}, and leaning two panels of shutters on the windowsill {instead of attaching them to the wall}. 

So when it comes to changing that ball and chain thing on my toilet, I call my handyman. But installing a new toilet seat? I think I’ve got this. 

Last year {to my immense surprise} I successfully installed one, so the second time around should be a breeze, shouldn’t it? 


The instructions said to attach the bolts with a wrench until the bottom of the bolts broke off. 

I didn’t remember using a wrench or tightening bolts last time, and I know I would have remembered practically standing on my head to get a grip on the bolt, with my hair sweeping the toilet. 

I think this job would have been easier with a little help. 

Maybe instead of going it alone, some things are meant to be done in tandem. 




I’ve spent a lot of time lately wondering how things work when we partner with God. I wonder how much work God wants me to do when I bring him my problems and concerns. 

It seems impractical — and also a little lazy — to say, “It’s up to God.” 

Maybe I’d rather do it myself, because to leave it to someone else makes me look weak and needy and helpless. 

I’ve fallen for the myth that I’m strong enough to figure life out and make it work on my own. After all, I’m a career woman, responsible for myself, aren't I?




But when I lay the things in my life before God, it's not a faint-hearted act. It's actually knowing where my strength lies. And it's not in myself.  
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. - Eph. 6:10
But he’s kindly and tenderly showing me — with the things in my life that I can’t control or fix — that I do need him. There’s a point when only God can bring the change or make the shift or turn the tide. 

I do my part of the work that I can do. And I pray. 

He guides, directs, suggests, nudges, whispers.

God certainly doesn’t need us to pray for him to act, but sometimes — maybe more often than we think — he extends the opportunity for us to join him in his work. Maybe that’s when we step into a new chapter of our relationship with God to experience him like we haven’t before. 

And that's when I see what's in front of me couldn't have been accomplished on my own and I know I'm living in faith.




After an hour of wrench-turning, the bolts on the toilet seat finally broke apart, signaling that I’d successfully completed my installation.  

For a prim and proper girl like me, I don't relish the idea of blogging about toilets {and I considered flushing the entire idea}, but somehow writing this has shed a little more light on the way things work. 

For it’s here in this space for words that God meets me and does a little restoration work on my soul.

How about you? Are you a handywoman or DIY-girl? Tell me your secrets! 

And if you're in partnership with God about something, I want to hear about that too!



{Art photos are from San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore church in Milan, Italy}

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!





Comments

  1. He is in control...and we need Him!

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    1. Hi Emily,
      Oh we do! Thanks for being here!

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  2. Valerie ... I love the way you weave the daily into the deeply spiritual. God cares about all those nuts and bolts ... and there always seems to be some kind of invitation in there if we're willing to look for it.

    You inspire me so ...

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    1. Linda,
      It sounds silly to say it, but I do think he cares about the nuts and bolts of our lives and all that troubles and concerns us too, if we look for it!

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  3. I am so NOT handy and the bathroom, or any plumbing for that matter, seems like impossible territory. But your lamp, so lovely - and the little glimpses into your decor look like you have a great style, Valerie. And yes - partnering with God. I've been mulling over some similiar thoughts about hard things we must undertake and how its truly impossible to do it without His strength working in us. So grateful we have a willing and able Father at our side. Blessings, friend.

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    1. Tiffany,
      So glad to hear from another DIY-challenged sister! I think our pondering about our lack and his strength must surely usher us into a deeper understanding of his great love for us, don't you think?

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  4. You are such an amazing story teller! And how you brought it to our need to allow God to be in control as we step out in obedience was also amazing. I totally am not a diy girl either. I alway dream but it never turns out right or it took longer than I expected. In most cases I would rather have someone else do it. Lol if only I would do the same with God. Visiting from coffee for your heart #86

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    1. Hi Kristina,
      So glad to have you here and thank you for your kind words! I think we can both turn things over to a handyman and leave the DIY safely in the hands of experts, right?! :)

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  5. Partnering with God sounds awesome, Valerie. Side by side. Hand in hand. I think we too often want to run ahead in our own strength, don't we? I'm afraid I lean too heavily and take too much for granted all the fix-it jobs my husband does for me. If you were my neighbor though, I'm sure he would be happy to help you out, too. :) This makes me think of our conversation with a neighbor, a 93-year-old widow woman, a couple of days ago. She was excited and said she just had to tell us... Her garage door wouldn't go down, and she didn't want to ask my husband for help again. So she prayed, and God showed her to move a bucket back to where she had it. And it went down! So we talked about how nothing is too little to ask of God. Course, I'm not saying your toilet seat will be miraculously fixed, but He sure did power you to do it. :) Your creativity in decorating your home astounds me sometimes. I love who you did with the lamp. Such a great idea! Blessings and hugs to you!

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    1. Trudy,
      I laughed at the thought of being your neighbor and could only wish for someone like your husband to help me out! {Although my handyman is a few doors away and he is a life-saver!) I LOVE the story about your neighbor and her garage door -- what a sweet, sweet story! And thank you for liking my sad little flowers on my lamp shade! :) I won't be attempting that again! :) xoxo Thanks for sharing your DIY stories here with us!

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  6. I LOVE DIY-ing, my Pinterest board is full of projects and ideas...ones I'll probably never do :/
    But I do like to try! I recently found some old window frames at a flea market. I brought them home, cleaned them up and now have them hanging on my walls. One has family pics inside the windows. The other has a wreath hanging over it. OH! And I made a book wreath to hang over my bed (got that idea from the Nester). I'm not very good at diy, but I do like to try. I smiled imagining you over a toilet with your hair dangerously close to the inside water :). I love that God partners with us, enables us with wisdom to do things we never thought we could do...even changing a toilet seat!

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    1. Alecia,
      What a great idea to display your family photos in the old window frames! I'd like to see the book wreath too -- both sound like great projects! And you are right about my hair -- I had to wash it immediately after the project was finished! :) Look forward to seeing some of your finds and projects on your blog someday soon!

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  7. I so love your use of puns! I always look forward to them!

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    1. I keep the puns in my pocket just for you! :)

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  8. I constantly struggle with the whole "do I let God do it" or "am I supposed to get this done?" I step back, but then I feel lazy and out of control. Yeah, not easy.
    And neither is DIY ;)

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    1. Sarah,
      It is quite the question, isn't it? I'm so glad I'm not the only who struggles with it -- and glad to count another sister who finds DIY challenging too! :)

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  9. Only you dear girl could write a post about a toilet yet make it feel elegant! ♥ DIY skills are a blessing and a curse... but I have to implore you to leave the drain cleaning to the men- it's not a girly pursuit! LOL! And I'm finding such depth in my prayer relationship with God as of late... I have to give credit to you and the recommendation of Fervent all those months ago. We definitely work better in tandem with God when we start praying for things in His will instead of just making our own plans and asking for His blessing. DIY prayer never quite works out! And I think asking for God's help is actually a pretty strong thing to do ♥ xo

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    1. Heather,
      I'm laughing at the incongruity of the words elegant and toilet -- but thank you! You, my friend, would have plenty to show me about sewing :) and I am so glad you are finding Fervent inspiring! There's few like Priscilla Shirer to encourage, motivate and inspire all at the same time -- I just love her!

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  10. Hi Valerie- First I have to tell you that as I was reading I was distracted by that cute lamp. I was just thinking how much I love it and then read that you made it!! It is so sweet- what a great idea! (and well done!!- I thought you probably got it at a vintage shop!) Love your thoughts here- I am also learning how we "get to" participate in what Gods doing with him- Like a child who gets to help her mommy bake cookies :) I want to see it that way- Sometimes it takes faith for me to believe he is inviting me! Thank you for sharing this-just beautiful-( I also love the Noahs ark painting!! amazing!) xoxo

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    1. Susie,
      I'm glad you like the lampshade! I had envisioned gluing them on but that did not work at all so I had to resort to sewing {not one of my talents}! Isn't that art from the church in Milan amazing? The church is in the middle of a busy shopping area and you almost miss it, but the art inside it magnificent and that one photo I took that looks faded is thought to be from one of Leonardo daVinci's students, since it looks just like his style. I'm walking right along with you seeing how we can participate with God in his work in our lives! xo

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  11. Those fabric flowers look fabulous, I think! I'm a little bit of both--a fixer upper and a call a friend or family member for help. With God, I know I often want to do before waiting. But He's teaching me in His gentle way.

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    1. Thanks Lynn! Waiting is so difficult isn't it, especially when we think we ought to be doing something. I think waiting offers hidden treasures if we can stay open to what it's showing us!

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  12. Gorgeous photos AND lamp shade! I'm learning that "hacks" seem to be becoming more popular than being a pro at things. Which is good if you can deal with all the how to's as you said - I'm semi-crafty, but unfortunately have a tendency to like to learn hands on because verbal and poorly written small, fine print instruction overwhelms me. Maybe this is why I'm drawn to brightly colored, large children's Bible books haha!!! Thanks for sharing this. I loved how you wrapped everything together in a lesson for us. I love when the everyday things become gold nuggets we can apply and cherish!

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    1. Meg,
      I'm so glad you are direction-challenged {as in following them, too!} as I am. I end up more confused usually! :) I think my expectations might be a little too high too! :)

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