We saw a house we liked. Something that needs a lot of work, but is in a spot we like and has potential. Tim told me about it first as he drove past it a couple of weeks ago – he mentioned he’d seen a house that could be a gem, but would need some love. I said, ‘No, no, no! I do not want to move to a place that needs a ton of work!’ Fast forward to last week and I came across the picture of it on the property website and couldn’t believe what I saw.
‘Is this the house you were talking about?’
‘It’s amazing, we have to go and see this!’
So we did, with a realtor (estate agent). We liked the property which then led Tim to say to said realtor, ‘Why don’t you come and see our house and give us some ideas about what we need to do before we can sell it?’
Right now?! I’ve worked full-time for the past six months and the house is badly in need of a thorough spring clean as I’ve yet to get into any routine with it. We haven’t been thinking of moving until this minute. My head starts to pound a little straight away, because we both know some of the things she will say, and most certainly one thing. One big thing.
This big thing is our upstairs bathroom. Though I’ve cleaned with every cleaning product on the market and every home-made remedy I can find, the mould keeps coming back. The root cause needs to be dealt with, we need to stop it getting so humid up there. It’s needed tearing out for a good couple of years, but there’s always something that happens. Last year it was the bathroom or visit family in England. Family won.
As soon as the realtor, was in the house we knew she would see that bathroom. No matter how good the rest of the house may be, she would see it and tell us it needed to be done. We know, we knew.
And she did see it, and she did say that no one will buy this house until that problem is solved – and a test done to prove that no more mould spores were in the air. We knew that too.
We talked about stripping it out and putting in a new shower, bath and all the rest. The realtor said,
‘If you do that it could be the showpiece of the house!’
Just hours after she left my son started to rip and strip everything out. The work has started. It’s disruptive and costly, but the results should be worth it.
This has replayed over in my mind many times this week, mainly because I’m ashamed to have let the problem get so bad, and have a realtor see it before it’s done, but also because it spoke to me of how Jesus deals with us.
When we invited our realtor into our home it was guaranteed that she would see that bathroom. Once we invite Jesus into our lives it is guaranteed that he is going to go to the darkest of places in our hearts to bring light. No secrets or shame, unforgiveness, bitterness, hurt that we’re nursing, addiction, unhealthy obsession, or any sin that’s hindering our relationship with him, is hidden. We keep theses things locked away because to open the door on them makes us vulnerable, we fear people will reject us if it spills out. It means admitting we haven’t got it all together. The truth is that those things poison the rest, hidden or not.
Thankfully Jesus doesn’t shine a light on the darkness and say, ‘Okay come back to me when you’ve dealt with it.’ He stays. He forgives. He heals. He sets free. He comforts. He does the work, by the power of his Holy Spirit. However painful and deep-rooted the mess in our lives, His grace is enough to deal with it.
Also he doesn’t break the door down uninvited. He knows it all anyway, but waits until we say, like the Psalmist,
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23,24
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sometimes it takes time, often we need others in the church to stand with us, to encourage, pray and help us receive that freedom, and there may be habits to change so that the mouldiness doesn’t come back again.
The results of opening up those hidden places is worth the discomfort.
Often it’s in the most broken places in our lives that God’s grace shows the most. Where the transformation He brings is most evident. What was shameful becomes the showpiece, giving honour to God.