Fountains and Drains and Project Renovation

So today was day two of Project Room Renovation, which meant it was Ceiling Day. I lined my little work crew of four out on their various chores and set myself to the task of making our ceiling pretty.

As I cut in the edge of the ceiling with my perfect Apple Core white and my fancy new angled brush, out of nowhere it hit me. Like it was right there in my ear, I heard the criticism she gave of my last painting job, years ago telling me what a mess I’d made of it, how unevenly my paint was at the line where the wall met the ceiling.

I’d worked hard on that paint.

I had a toddler and a baby in the house when I’d painted that wall and it was my favorite wall in the house.

Until she said that.

I know she loved me and she probably had no idea how her words would affect me, but after hearing her say that my eyes wanted to always drift to the sloppy lines that I’d just learned had ruined the whole job.

And today my mind started to do the same.

My hand shook as I tried to make the edging perfect.

There were drips.

There were smudges.

And pretty soon it started to look sloppy and pretty soon my heart did too and then there I was…a wrought out mama up on my son’s wobbly little red step-stool remembering all the criticism, all the words negative, said from this friend over the years who didn’t even get it how her saying these things “in love” hurt, and I know it shouldn’t bother me…and I know I should focus on all the positive things she said instead…and I know we’re supposed to take every thought captive…

…but don’t words sometimes just stick to a soul?

So when I took a little break today and stumbled across some wisdom right there on a good friend’s Facebook page, it stuck to my soul too.

She said “Be a fountain not a drain.”

There it was.

Right there was the reason I’d been standing on the stool agonizing over the crispness of the paint on my ceiling.

I’d allowed the words of another to be a drain on my self-image and in doing so, it was a drain on my heart.

By allowing the draining words from one friend be so big, I’d made the fountain words of another friend small.

 

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The fountain friend who always had kind words and got watery loving eyes when she’d come visit and sit and rest with me and make me forget the piles of dishes and the topply bookcases and the soccer ball-sized tufts of dog hair and the unmatched anything.

I’d forgotten how she always made me feel that it wasn’t the furniture in a home, or the messes in a home, but the people in a home that made a house a home.

I’d forgotten how much she loved it here and by loving it here she helped me love it like I should.

In the busy of raising babies and toddlers, in my thirst for a perfect home, she’d come, and with her words over our coffees, she’d turn on a sweet fountain and before I knew it, I’d be refreshed and reminded that the perfect home I longed for was the one right where I lived.

Who am I a fountain for?

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)

My words can point others to God, and toward the best that He has for them, or they can do just the opposite.

Who, even without meaning to, have I hurt, or made feel less than worthy, with my words?

On Day One of Project Room Renovation, I’d taken on a duty usually reserved for my husband. Trying to complete PRR while he’s at work has been tricky, especially so when it came time to do the job he always loves to do: clean brushes.

We clean brushes in the tub. And after three brushes, a couple rollers and several trays (my work crew LOVES to paint!) I found myself trying to wash tools in a milky white bath of paint water.

The drain was plugged.

So I did what any brave and courageous wife would do.

I decided to save the nasty for my husband to fix when he got home from work.

And then I remembered how hard he’d been working all week and that my goal was to not bother him with any aspect of this project, so I did what any REALLY brave and courageous wife would do.

I unclogged the drain.

I’m able to speak about it now, but yesterday, as I dug through the things of nightmares, -things stuck to hair that could only have been shed from a sort of septic monster- I was sure that the only speaking I’d be able to conjure would be to apologize to my poor husband who has so bravely attended to this macabre duty for twenty years and has never once thrown up, cried in self-pity, or screamed in horror.

I’m a tough ol’ broad who can weather a LOT of gross stuff in life, (I’m a mama to four AND we live on a farm) but dealing with that drain took a lot out of me.

My words can keep someone stuck. Or my words can help someone grow.

I can love someone all I want but if my words don’t build, if my words don’t refresh, if my words don’t tell them YOU ARE PRECIOUS and YOU ARE IMPORTANT and YOU ARE GOOD and YOU ARE ENOUGH and JESUS LOVES YOU…

…even the strongest of us will be weakened by a drain.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Ephesians 4:29)

I have the power to build with my words.

You have the power to build, to be a fountain.

Our mouth, our words, they have the power of life and death. (Prov. 18:21) How are we using them?

How many I Love You’s does it take to unclog a drain?

How careless can we be, especially with those we know well, those we love the most? Yes, we all need to be able to take some harsh words now and then. But does that give us a license to just open up and let loose with our mouth the first things that come to our minds?

That kind of showering is a drain.

And drains get stuffed up. Drains stick. Drains are an ugly, stinky mess to unclog. The backflow of a drain can cause a quagmire.

And quagmires can be hard on a soul.

But the other kind of showering?

The tender kind and the encouragement kind and the yeah, it’s a mess but I love you and you’re more important than any old mess anyway and it’s gonna be okay kind?

That kind of showering will shower right on over a soul and speak life. Those kinds of words will fountain up and make us want to take our not-even-close-to-perfect lines and go on and use the water from one fountain to water another…with our strengthening …with our positive…with our gentle…

…with our love.

I want to be that kind of friend.

I want to be that kind of fountain.

 ~Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees.~  Job 4:4

 

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Father may we speak words of life to others. May we be a fountain for hearts everywhere. And may we forgive others when they are not. Help us remember that you are the one who really sees us, knows us and loves us and that until we are with you, we will sometimes fail, and others will fail us too, and we won’t always build with our words. But help us Lord, to keep trying always. Help us to be builders. Help us to be like you.

In Christ’s Name, Amen.

© This Crazy Little Farm

 

{{Photo credits: Wikipedia}}

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Fountains and Drains and Project Renovation

  1. Shilah

    LOVE this ! thank you for writing what I felt. I am so fragile — and so timid about sharing it when I am hurting — old lessons on “think of others!” pounded way too deeply into me, leaving no place at all for permission to think of me — but your post made me remember a fountain friend who is just like you; when I’m plugged up & the icky stuff won’t drain out, she just smiles & says something and poof, the plug is gone & it really is okay. Thank you for sharing your heart.
    & without even seeing your wall I bet Apple Core White is an awesome color. 🙂

    Like

    Reply
    1. Cassandra Post author

      Oh thank you!!! I’m so glad you reminded me of this post! I haven’t thought of it in some time. Thank you so much for the sweet feedback, and for coming to visit! ❤️

      Like

      Reply

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