When Waiting Comes in Handy

I’ve always wanted to be the kind of handy-girl who can make minor repairs on my own house, but the only tool-related action I can seem to handle is pounding nails in the wall to hang pictures. I can’t be bothered with measuring, and trying to follow directions only confuses me.

I want to be the girl who can change the flapper on the toilet. {But I get distracted when I hear the word flapper and my thoughts drift to bobbed hair and F. Scott Fitzgerald.}

I want to be the girl who knows where the water shut-off is located in case a pipe breaks. {But I can never seem to remember  — is it in the garage, under the sink, or out by the curb?}

But for a girl who only dreams of being handy and does few repairs, I have plenty of tools. 

I have hot pink wrenches and screwdrivers, mini tools that fit inside a spiffy black case the size of a makeup bag, and a set of full-sized ones in a case emblazoned with STANLEY on the side {whoever he is}.

A few weeks ago when my refrigerator stopped dispensing water, my online research said the line could be frozen and a hair dryer might thaw it. I wanted to try it but since I had no idea where the line was located, I called a repair man. 

I couldn't believe it as I watched him unpack a hair dryer and steamer from his tool bag. I wished I had been brave enough to tackle it. {After all, a hair dryer is my kind of tool.}

So I knew I was being rather daring when I decided to change out the window treatment in my guest room and install a curtain rod.

I set up my vintage ladder {that I'm rather fond of since my dad used it all through my childhood} and tried to hang the curtain brackets with my hammer and hot pink screwdriver.

Soon my walls were riddled with nail holes with my repeated attempts to find a place where the brackets didn’t fall out of the wall. 

My handy-girl hopefulness was fading fast.

On my way to get toothpaste to fill the nail holes, I texted my friend Scott {who is the handiest man I know} photos of my pitiful ladder and tools and told him I wished he were here to help.

Coming to my rescue, his long-distance advice was to soak bread in sugar water to fill the nail holes. Although I thought this might attract ants, I trusted his expertise and had the bread nicely soaking when he said he was just kidding.

I think he might have felt a little contrite that I took his Mr. Fix-it tip to heart because later he checked in to see how my walls were doing. 

He said he’d been wondering if they were minty fresh.

{With my affinity for cleanliness, I think nearly everything can use a little toothpaste, even my walls.}

Although I may not be able to fix much of what goes wrong at my house, I’ve learned what to do when I’m confused about what’s not working in my life. 

I turn to the only how-to book filled with the words that can breathe life and hope into what feels broken-down and beyond repair. 

I’m practicing speaking these words of scripture out loud so my head and my heart can hear them. I can’t explain it, but somehow it makes a difference. 

Sometimes I think I expect God to act only in ways that I’m familiar with and this very act of confining him to my assumptions limits my perspective of him.

Maybe you, like me, wonder how much of our circumstances are about the work we should do ourselves and what we should leave up to God. When we've expended all the effort we can, is our role then to pray and hope?

I feel a little foolish when I hope. 

The very heart and soul of hope — expectations and desires — are precarious and unpredictable. I've always believed that if what I hope for never occurs then I’ve wasted all that time hoping. So wouldn't it be better not to hope at all?

But I don't think hoping is wasted. Because hoping is really trusting. Abraham is described as believing with hope that God would give him son, even against all hope. 

These are the words I'm saying to myself {and maybe you need to hear them too}.

When there was no good reason to hope, he hoped anyway. Because he believed what God had promised him.

Hoping opens myself to God to experience new ways of treasuring and experiencing him. Hoping leads me to prayer, and prayer invites me to encounter him in ways I never have before. 

When it feels like I’m speaking my prayer requests into the empty space of my bedroom where it seems as if they’re carried only as far as my curtains, I remember that God hears them.

I love the Lord, because He hears my voice and my prayers. Ps. 116:1

No, hoping is not in vain. And maybe there’s hope for me after all. 

After six years of needing nail hole filler, I just happened to walk past it in Target {on my way to the nail polish aisle} and I congratulated myself on remembering to purchase it. 

No more toothpaste in my walls.

Every time we talk, Scott reminds me that he will keep his promise to fix a crooked lantern on my courtyard that we’ve laughed about for the past year. It wobbles every time a breeze blows and the winds of March are just around the corner, after all. 

But I’m still hopeful that someday I'll become a bonafide tool-toting handy-girl. 

Then maybe I can fight tooth and nail to avoid making extra holes in my walls and filling them with toothpaste because I'm pretty sure my walls don't need to be kissable.

I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Click the image for more inspiring posts!


  1. Valerie,
    I have so missed you. Reading your words and seeing the beauty of your heart. I always enjoy the story you weave into deeper thoughts. I'm with you. I want to be handy or be able to do simple things well but they elude me. I think because I get so aggravated by not being able to do the seemingly easy tasks of life.
    I would be using toothpaste or calling on my husband. I wish you could see the wary eye he casts me whenever i wield a paint brush. Like danger is lurking. :)
    I loved your thoughts on hope. I have been reading my girls the story of Abraham. And I loved your line here, "I've always believed that if what I hope for never occurs then I’ve wasted all that time hoping. So wouldn't it be better not to hope at all?"
    It feels so much safer to embrace pessimism. This life seems to predicate it. It seems to be the cushion we need to muscle through life. A life that seems to just get bleaker.
    But a life without hope causes us to live minimally and slowly wither. I know its true for me.
    And like you eluded to many times God works with us in very unexpected unfamiliar ways. Perhaps to achieve within us something we didn't know we needed. Didn't know we were missing. Just like geriatric Abraham who would receive a son.
    Love you Valerie. And I am so glad I stopped by today.

    1. Summer,
      I have missed you and I have missed reading your words on your blog! So glad you stopped by today - -your encouragement is such a gift! I get so aggravated too when I can't seem to do the simplest tasks -- like which way to turn a screwdriver or I can't use a wrench! And don't you just love the story about Abraham hoping? I love it that you're reading it to your girls. I was delighted to see your comment and I'm praying for you and hoping you're back to blogging again soon!

  2. This is hilarious! I am just imagining you going around your house with your tool kit filled with pink tools and toothpaste!

    1. Brittany --haha -- toothpaste should be an essential for every toolkit, don't you think? (for so many reasons!) :)

    2. You mean it doesn't come in tool kits already? I'm shocked!

  3. Valerie, great #coffeeforMYheart today in Ps. 116:1. Thank you for sharing. Have a great day, Kim Stewart

    1. Kim,
      So grateful for your visit! I just love that verse in Psalms, don't you? :)

  4. Thank you, Valerie, for your encouragement to hold onto hope and allow my hope in Jesus draw me closer to Him. : )

    1. Crystal,
      Thanks for stopping by today -- so appreciate your encouragement!

  5. Thank you for reminding us that hope is always a good idea. (Beautiful room~)


    1. Damarise,
      Thank you for reading -- grateful for your sweet words!

  6. Valerie- I really appreciate your thoughts on hope -I have had trouble with this lately, and just yesterday was thinking I should stop hoping- on a particular issue :( so discouraged. I love this,"Hoping opens myself to God to experience new ways of treasuring and experiencing him. " gives me a new reason to hope- not for the thing itself but for the experience of God- a far greater reward. Thanks for the gift of this though today- sending blessings and love

    1. Susie,
      Yes, we're hoping for our particular circumstance but really, it's more of God that we want, isn't it? I just love your encouragement here every week! You are truly gifted with bringing beauty through your words. Praying for your situation -- and hoping with you too!

  7. I love this post! At least you've learned to ask for help - with house repairs and with life! I'm such an independent, 'fix-it' girl that it's been a tough lesson to learn to ask for help - especially with life. Putting my problems and my trust in God's hands has been quite a learning experience for someone who is convinced I can fix anything ;)

    1. Kathryn,
      If I only I could be a fix-it girl! I so admire that! I need some lessons from you! :)

  8. My Mom was the handy one when I was growing up-she learned everything from her plumber father. You'd think I would have learned from her, but you'd be wrong.
    That would be cool to learn now, but I am pretty sure I am not going to wake up with that knowledge!

    1. Sarah,
      How great is that to have a fix-it mom! Maybe at least someone in your family is handy and now you can teach your girls?! :)

  9. I love your posts - each and every one of them. This one really spoke to me. I too have this challenge when it comes to hoping. I seem to get stuck in the thinking that I shouldn't hope because I will only be disappointed (which is ALL satan and his LIES)!! I love it when you said that hoping is trusting. Isn't that what God really wants us to do? To trust that He is our God and our redeemer and that He is at work in our lives, even if we aren't necessarily seeing the results at that moment? I love that you referenced Abraham. Scripture proves to us that Satan is trying to steal from us - our HOPE. - Shawna

    1. Shawna,
      I just keep going back to the example of the story of Abraham and the beautiful lesson to hope, and I love it that God included all those examples for us because he knew we'd need them! There are so many verses about hope in the Bible that he must have thought it was not only important but essential for our lives! Love your encouragement, as always! :)

  10. Oh, I love your pink tools. I laughed when I read you actually put bread in sugar water to fill a hole, only because I'm just as gullible and would have done the same thing :).

    "When there is no good reason to Hope, he hoped anyway." Thank you for the reminder of Abraham and how well he hoped.

    1. Alecia,
      Yes, that's the word I was looking for -- gullible! So glad I'm not the only one! :)

  11. Oh my goodness, I have the same HOPE decor in my home ;). Great taste girl. I also have the love one as well. Amazing post.

    Kay of Pure & Complex

    1. Kay,
      I had no idea there was love, too! HOPE was just sitting all by itself, looking forlorn among some vases and flowers and I knew it was calling my name to rescue it from TJ Maxx! I wonder if there is joy and peace too? Love the cheer you bring here, Kay! :)

  12. I loved reading this...perhaps because I'm the same about tools and fixing things. Somehow I've survived 42 years this way! Somehow the Lord has always put people in my path when I need help! I do think hoping can cause us to feel vulnerable. But it is worth it as I think it brings glory to God - it tells Him that we know He is big and can answer our requests and allows Him to decide if those are right for what He wants to allow into our lives. Praise God you do know how to use the best tool...His Word!

    1. Amy,
      So glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post! You're right about vulnerability being worth it to God and I'm so encouraged by your thoughts that it can tell God that we know he can answer our requests but ultimately we leave the outcome to him! Love these thoughts!

  13. Oh Valerie you cracked me up!! ♥ I'm actually a pretty handy girl- sometimes to my detriment because I end up doing all the odd jobs around the house because they all think I know the most...ha! My dad was never afraid to hand me a tool and show me how to use it growing up. And I can't be bothered to measure either! I adore your vintage sheet music and you did a great job with the curtains! And "Hoping is really Trusting" --- Amen! I Love That! P.S> I have the purple tool set ; )

    1. Heather,
      How I wish I had the handy-woman skills like you do! Thanks for noticing the sheet music -- I love to display it on my piano -- and with your love of music and vintage -- I wonder if you have some too? :)

  14. Actually sheet music is the one thing I don't have! lol!!


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