Monday, February 20, 2017

The Crawlspace

In our few short years of home ownership, if there's one thing that I have learned, it's that there is always a project to be done.  It just never fails that as the house is lived in, things fall apart, get worn out, or need repainting.  Such is life, and when you consider your home is most likely the biggest asset a person owns, you want to take care of it.  It just never occurred to me over the years how much these projects would teach me, stretch me, and grow me.

In an effort to keep the details short and get the post to the point, we've had some issues with our crawlspace over the years.  In fact, the home inspection probably should have rang a bell or thrown a red flag, but alas this is our first home and we're more than naive so we just had no idea.  The biggest issue-- moisture!

When we first discovered the problems a couple years after we bought the house, I was actually embarrassed about it.  I somehow felt like there was something we had done wrong or didn't do, or maybe we just bought a "bad apple."  Little did I know, after conversations with others, that moisture under the house is  something that many deal with.  And other than catching it and handling it a lot sooner than we have, there's really not much we could have done to avoid it.

Anyway, I guess it was about 2 years into home ownership that it was originally brought to our attention as an actual problem by our pest control company.  At the time, we had some DIY theories we thought we might try, we were short on funds, and if we're really honest, I don't think we had any comprehension of how big of an issue it actually was.  Not sure if that was just us being naive, OR if it was us sticking our heads in the dirt and just choosing to ignore it purposefully because we didn't need "one more thing" at the time.   Probably a combination of both!

Fast forward a couple years further, and our denial, and choosing to "deal with it later" got us nowhere and in fact made the problem worse.  What could have been just installing a pump and laying a barrier had now become a burden and a worrisome problem for the structural integrity of our house and had also brought about the dreaded four letter curse word.... MOLD.  Which brings me to my first lesson learned-- ignoring that a problem exists doesn't make it better.

A few days after our initial assessment with the company doing our repairs, our pastor said at church "We never end up at Jesus' feet by accident.  We must be intentional."  I can deny that I have a problem in my walk, in my heart or with my faith.  OR I could choose the "I'll deal with it later" path and claim that missing a week or a month of church is no big deal, and I can read my Bible tonight or read my Bible tomorrow.  But none of these address my issues.  And in fact, if I'm not filling my heart with good.... I'm still filling it with something whether that be something bad or just plain complacency.  (Which one could argue is just as bad, if not worse.)  Not addressing a problem, never fixes a problem and it almost always makes the problem worse.

"Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known." -Jeremiah 33:3

Fast forward a few weeks and work begins on the house.  I'm reluctant, stressed about the money, and anxious about the inconvenience of people invading my space for upwards of a week.  But, it has to be done.  And God has decided that he's not done teaching me lessons through this project. 

So at this point, I'll just mention that it's super awkward having folks working on your crawlspace.  For one, there's the vulnerability of how terrible it looks under there and wondering in the back of my mind if they're judging us for not addressing issues sooner or letting it get so bad.  But beyond that, there are people literally under your feet all day long!  You can hear them through the vents and the floorboards.  Every conversation they have and every groan as they squeeze through the narrow space attempting to do work.  AND of course they can hear you!  It's weird.  Plain and simple.  And whereas most people have work and school and whatever else during the day, we're mostly just home.  (Me and the boys.)  

So the first day of work was when I realized how much I literally nag the kiddos.  Granted I will say that sometimes nagging is justified!  But in the day to day trying to get through our schoolwork, and get through our chores and whatever else I have planned for the day-- I'm talking attitude and nagging, and dragging them through my schedule as opposed to giving them respect for theirs.  I first realized it as we sat down to do our school work that first day that folks were working on our crawlspace.  It was a constant, "chop, chop, snap snap.... we have to get this done and this done and this... and we need to do it right now and right away."  I will confess that math is our biggest struggle and that a certain child doesn't always want to do his math work and often needs a push.  But he doesn't need an attitude, or the nagging, or a push off of a cliff.  

Anyway, it was a couple hours into our work that I realized my tone and how much I had bulldozed our school time with my demands.  While one of the perks of homeschooling is that the kids get more freedom and play time because we can efficiently get through our subjects.... the point of us homeschooling is not for me to rule the day with an iron fist and neglect their hearts and the blessing that is our time together.  

I sat there and wondered what the men under the house thought about all of my nagging.  Surely I wasn't being a great example of a homeschooling mother.  And definitely not an example of nurturing and fun, and thankfulness for this calling on my life.  

And again it points back to my heart.  Motherhood is no easy task-- whether you are a working mom, homebound mom, work at home mom, homeschooling mom, the mom of 1, or the mom of 10.... we all have our seasons.  And again the issue comes back to my heart and what I'm filling it with.  I might believe that my issues are my own.  But the reality is that my issues effect everyone around me.  I'm pregnant, I'm tired, the toddler continues to throw things in the toilet and run from me in public places, but none of those things give me an excuse!  Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.

"The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."  
-Luke 6:45

Alas, this post has gotten far more lengthy than I ever intended, but who would imagine that expensive home repairs could show me the problems of my heart and point me back to my need for God.  I'm a mess and a constant work in progress, but I'm SO incredibly thankful for his abundant love and grace upon grace!  And thankful that He continues to stretch me, speak to me, and correct me when I'm in the wrong. 

"For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace." -John 1:16

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