walking in grace

House Hunters and Lipstick

I pulled into the driveway.

Turning off the engine I inhaled deep. And again.

With a knot in my gut I got out of my car and headed toward the front door. After three months of looking for a house, and 4 failed offers, this was it. We hadn’t allowed ourselves to visit this house before now. It was at the high end of our self-appointed price range and we had not wanted to pay such price. But as I have learned and oft repeated, desperate people do desperate things. And well, we were beginning to feel just that. Desperate.

Another deep breath.

With the turn of the key I held that deep breath in my lungs.

“I love it! This is it. Oh, my. This is it!” declared my realtor. I am certain she was thinking, “for the love of all good things let this be it.”

“Look at this kitchen! It’s beautiful. I love this kitchen!” she continued.

She wasn’t wrong. It was beautiful. Bright. Open. Airy. My wish list complete.

The layout was open but not forced, as some renovators are prone to demand from old bones. The use of color calmed my anxious self. And the marble countertops were dreamy. Dreamy, I tell you!

But that sense of delight and satisfaction was short-lived.

A closer look told me this was nothing more than a cheap lipstick job with an inflated price tag.

My heart sank. The adrenaline from the hunt and kill was drained. Every bit. Drained.

We continued looking around, hoping to find reason to move forward, only to find more evidence of lipstick.

Fresh paint on poorly prepped walls that had seen too much. New flooring installed by local kindergartners. Flashy marble placed atop cabinets telling tales of at least forty years.

“I wish this guy would have left this house to someone else. Why couldn’t we have found this house before he began painting lipstick over all this ugly,” I complained.

“This layout. It would have been perfect for our family. Why oh why? Man, he really blew it.” I continued, belaboring my point.

And again. “I am just so disappointed. So disappointed.”

After convincing my heart that my griping would change nothing, we left.

Driving home this foiled plan danced around in my head, becoming something altogether different. A house half-renovated turned to a life half-surrendered. Remembering former days.

A time when I put on my Sunday best while wearing my worst most other days.

When I never missed a Sunday, but too often missed Jesus.

Too many occasions of my making a point rather than making a difference.

A time that I, too, slapped lipstick on these lips that could cut someone to the quick.

A life half-surrendered is no more beautiful than a poorly renovated house. Oh, it can be deceiving. If you look quickly. Just a glance at that flashy marble exterior. But don’t linger too long, or dig too deep.

Because eventually the ugly shows itself. And it is ugly.

There’s a reason Jesus implores us to obey His greatest commandment.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c]38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

MATTHEW 22:37

All of your heart. Our desires. Affections. Purposes.

All of your soul. Our will. Our character.

All of your mind. Our thoughts. Both fleeting and lingering.

You can live a life half-heartedly devoted to Jesus. I tried it for years. It wasn’t pretty.

And I won’t sit here with my pecking fingers and tell you I have mastered this fully devoted life thing. What a perfect opportunity for the enemy to prove me wrong!

After years of struggling to earn my way to a special place in God’s heart, I have determined I don’t have to master anything. I simply have to surrender. All of me. Oh, it was a long and painful process. But beauty emerged. And is still emerging with each new surrender.

Friends, we can let Jesus fully restore us, worthy of the price He paid for us.

Or, we can sport a cheap lipstick.

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

PHILIPPIANS 1:6

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