My domestic church

Originally Appeared in : 9721-10/12/17

It had been too long. One room in particular had not been painted since we moved into this house just before Augie turned two. He’s currently studying to get his driver’s permit. The good news is the walls in that room were a kind of light beige and hid handprints well. In fact, so much time had gone by that the room had developed a patina found on only the highest quality antiques. 


We started out thinking we would just do a quick coat on the walls, which of course instantly makes everything else seem filthy. The one spot in the house that I used to think was the “updated” space was suddenly covered with dust. And footprints. It was all there before, I guess, but I just didn’t notice.


The truth is, we knew this needed to happen a while back. Paul and I had been having this talk for a while, how the house needs some TLC. But life gets busy. We never have time. It’s just a time in my life with lots of big kids doing lots of new things, and I don’t have the time I used to have to devote to the joy of decorating. These were all the reasons why it just didn’t seem to happen.


And then, when the time was right, we were able to deal with the problems at hand. The stars aligned, and we had the time and energy and money to put into the project what we needed to. And the results are amazing. The front room feels brand new.


Of course, the feelings one experiences when a project like this is over are two-fold: one, I’m so in love with my house it looks amazing and two, I’m so embarrassed people came into my house the way it looked before.


But I needed to stop myself from getting carried away. Life happens; we get caught up doing our thing and we just lose track of time. Or our focus changes. When I started working a few years ago, I simply wasn’t at home nearly as much. I no longer spent time sitting in my front room analyzing its condition (for better or for worse).


This reminds me a little of something I’m reading with my high school students as we work our way through the Bible. In Exodus, as the Lord tells Moses and Aaron what to do to help free the Israelites, Scripture repeatedly mentions how he “hardens the heart” of Pharaoh. In spite of all the plagues that God sent, Pharaoh’s heart did not change – and God allowed that. 


Much bigger than the issue of my beautifully painted front room is change within us, or within those we love. We pray for God to fix areas of us that are broken and tired, that need updating. We pray that those we love would be healed. We see things that need fixing and we want God to pay attention, to send miracles and transformation.


We pray – and sometimes that change happens right away.


But sometimes we spend years praying for a change. We beg God to heal us of weakness or sorrow, and we don’t always get the results we want. We pray for loved ones, and nothing seems to happen. And it’s hard to wait, especially knowing things could be better.


In the midst of that, we have to trust that God knows what he is doing. We have to trust that God sees us and knows us and wants every good thing for us. We wait, and we pray. 


And if we always go back to what we know is true – that God loves each one of us as if there was only us – then all the waiting, we trust, is also part of his perfect plan for us.


Rachel Swenson Balducci is a freelance writer and member of Most Holy Trinity Church, Augusta. She can be reached at

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