Playdates with God: Painting the Door


I am cleaning the house, getting ready for the small group when my husband decides to paint the front door. I’ve dusted downstairs and swept and mopped the kitchen and I am running the vacuum in the living room when I see him through the window—up on a ladder. And this is when the ghosts of all my patients haunt because I can see him fall as clear as if it were unfolding before me.
I shut off the vacuum.
He’s stretching up—painting the top lintel—when I step outside.
“Do you want me to hold the ladder?”
He glances down, but keeps painting and I can feel the stress all furled up in him. There is so much that needs doing. There is so much.
He finishes the top and climbs down from the ladder.
“I’m just going to do the frame today. Put some primer on these soft places.”
He’s painting down low and I stand on the edge of the porch and try to absorb some of it. The sky is deep crystal blue and there is woodsmoke in the air. The evening yawns beautiful and I stand on the rim of it. But I can’t stop the worry flowing down.
Yesterday, when we were driving together, I asked him, “Do you think God is testing us? Do you believe in that?”
He just looked straight ahead and said, “I don’t believe anything anymore.”
I look at white paint dripped on brick and paint brushes strewn around on throw cloths. And I go back inside and mop the living room. It’s not long before he’s back standing beside me and I’m just finishing up with the corners, thinking about the bathroom next.
“I got the frame done,” he says, and with each word I hear how he hates it. Not the work—just the weight of it all. Painting the door is one small thing he can do. He can do this because he can’t make the job at the University work and he can’t make our boy’s surgery go right and he can’t change the way things are with the licensure board and those neighbors? The ones we hoped were gone? They came back today.
“I’m a pretty good painter, you know,” I say. And I am too. I worked two summers at the power plant in Shinnston when I was in college—cleaning greasy equipment and then painting it.
“I know,” he says, and rocks back on his heels. “You wanna finish the door?”
“Well, the bathroom still needs cleaned. And the upstairs swept.”
“I can do that.”
So we switch. And I’m outside under that blue sky sloshing white paint over the door—every stroke a prayer.
And I can hear the vacuum cleaner humming through the door. 
How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:


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Comments

  1. OutnumberedMom says

    I know that worry. I’m well acquainted by that stress, that weight. And the best part? So does He. I hang onto that for dear life!

  2. caughtinhisnet says

    We’re always looking for something we can control, aren’t we? Praying all goes well for you! (Sorry, didn’t mean to link up twice – not sure how that happened)

  3. JosephPote says

    You displayed much wisdom, Laura.
    To recognize the stress…to understand the multiple sources and the frustration…and to gently encourage by simply offering to switch chores.
    I sense a lot of love and sweet understanding in this story.

  4. says

    I love how you didnt nag or complain, which I would have done:) Just faithfully walking forward, praying all the while. May He strengthen you and sustain you in this challenging time of trial.

  5. pam says

    “I don’t believe anything, anymore.” Praying that he can embrace that in a joyous way. The longer I walk this journey the more I realize I don’t know, the more I realize I NEED to abide with him, the more all the unknown is okay….that today is all I know, sometimes this moment. We were not made for this world, learning how to flow through, through the tedious, the long, deep valleys, yearning for the mountain tops…that is our life sometimes. Praying God prospers you both spiritually, that you can both “see” Him all around you each day and embrace His goodness, reveling in your relationship with Him….to come alive in Him, no matter what the days bring.
    This is all what He has been stirring in me. Sweet abiding Laura!

  6. Ro elliott says

    It seems to be a season for many right now…so much we see…so much we can’t fix…and the struggle to focus our eyes where truth is found…I wrote of my tumble down the hill…falling to pieces is not always a bad place to be…thanks for being real and honest here…blessings~

  7. says

    You know, you’ve been on my mind heavy every day for at least a week. I’ve been praying for you, simply, without definition. You expressed the weighty-ness of life without details and that took some courage. I’m there too, but starting to feel it lift. Praying for a crack in the sky for you too my friend. Love you much.

  8. messymarriage says

    Just as you are in the middle of this huge and overwhelming project on your house, it appears you are “in the middle” of a storm in your life, Laura. It’s so hard to feel encouraged in the middle, but you are persevering and that’s that key. I will pray that you sense God’s nearness and that He strengthens you for every challenge–including painting doors–that lies ahead in your path. 🙂

  9. Jennifer Dougan says

    Laura,

    I’ve been pulled into your story with so many hanging threads, wanting to know more: about the job stuff, the husband not sure he believes anything anymore, the surgeries, and more… “The evening yawns beautifully and I stand on the rim of it.”

    Nice to get to know you more. Thanks for stopping by my post “Of Gardens and Churches.”

    I’m linking with you this morning. 🙂

    Hope to get to know you more,
    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

  10. lindalouise says

    My eyes are all blurry dear friend. Your heart, so tender with grace and love, speaks eloquently. These seasons, when everything piles up and weighs us down, are so difficult – but having someone who loves us endlessly and quietly comes along side, eases the burden. You are doing all things well Laura.

  11. kingfisher says

    Dear Laura, your family seems to be going through some storms. I pray that God will handle the “weightiness” and give you peace, and wellsprings of inspiration. May our Creative God give you creative insights that will bring underlying currents of joy. Maybe not the happiness “all is well” kind of joy, but at least the “For the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross” kind of joy.

    Praying that his presence will be real to you. And even when you don’t know how to feel anything but weightiness, he is there, holding your hand, walking through the storms with you. May your burdens be lifted by the inexpressible gift of Christ Jesus.

    Love ya!

  12. says

    I appreciate this testimony of gracefully handling what could have become an even more stressful situation in the midst of the storm. This shows the result of time, wisdom, and love in a marriage. How simply you met each others needs and carried the burden if just for a moment.

  13. smoothstones says

    I have so much to learn from you. Really. Saying a prayer for you, today. Spiritual warfare is so real. It may not be God testing but the enemy attacking. Either way, I believe something is happening. You are doing all the right things in living as peacefully as you can.

  14. Hazel Moon says

    May the angels hover around you and yours and the protection from above be yours in the coming days. May the path ahead be clear and peace reign.

  15. says

    It helps to feel your hand here, reaching out for mine, Megan. We are so blessed. These are bumps in the road. But if we hold on to each other tight, and be careful where we look, we might not fall out of these seats :). Love to you, lady.

  16. says

    Thank you for this encouragement, kind friend. Yes, it does feel like that right now–such a heavy weight. But we are so blessed and so loved and God is good and He will make a way. Thank you for praying.

  17. Alicia@the Overflow! says

    Laura, I’m just aching for you today. Aching with you, feeling all that stress and frustration and longing– and just praying,praying, praying, for you. Asking that He will speak and lead and clear the fog and show Himself faithful.

  18. says

    Sometime,s we just have to engage in the silly, menial tasks to help us refocus. It’s like someone recovering from an injury. They can’t work. They can’t drive. They can’t do what they are used to doing. So they just have to focus on what they can. Our minds are that way too — don’t take in the whole big picture. Just. Do. One. Thing.

  19. Theresa@Heavenly Glimpses says

    I love how you left us lingering, as you prayed with every stroke and he vacuumed. You beautifully portrayed grace through a difficult time and a picture of how we carry each other’s burdens.

  20. says

    It is beautiful in marriage when each partner plays to his or her strengths. I’m sorry, dear Laura, for all the hard at once. That is somewhat familiar territory for me. May I say, as a sister pilgrim, that even though I wouldn’t want to go through the hard things of the past again, I wouldn’t trade anything for the knowledge of God and His Word gained there? May God give you a glorious, socks-knocked-off, redemptive testimony from this time (and enduring trust in Him as you wait and work).

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