I have a confession to make:
I harbor serious baseboard envy.
Perhaps it might be more accurately described as baseboard covetousness.
To be clear, I don’t struggle that others possess better baseboards than my own. I do battle with the fact that they have baseboards at all.
I really want some.
I know it’s not right.
Four years ago, on Easter weekend, we moved into our home—a 1904 fixer-upper in the very neighborhood in which we’d prayed for God’s planting. A solid roof over our heads, floors that stand firm, doors that close against the wind and rain. Really, what do I have to complain about?
Over the last years, my husband and I, with young ones at our sides, have finished a basement, covered nearly every surface with fresh paint and our children’s art, planted vegetable gardens, refinished stairs.
When I look up from mama scattering, piecing part of a task here with a half scrap there, I see this place is not what it once was. And I see life, joy. Such good.
Yet sometimes the lack of these baseboards, simple finishing pieces of wood defining line between wall and floor, undo me.
It’s as if I believe their presence would speak completion, enough. So what do I think their absence represents?
On occasion, when I’m particularly overwhelmed with the state of our current home, I look at photographs of our first house—a sweet little 50’s ranch. Charming and finished with its black and white checkerboard kitchen floors, tidy and colorful landscaping, sparkling picture window.
And its baseboards.
Ah, the baseboards.
But how quickly I forget. For in that house, just as in our present one, baseboards crow barred from walls to make way for hardwood floors splintered apart. And it took us three years to remodel the house and replace blanks on the walls with long pieces of wood we felt best fit the little home. Just in time for its fast sale.
On this day discouragement clings, and I shuffle slippered feet and look towards the floor and to stripes of old paint that hold the place for baseboards that should be. An unsightly view. Like a slip hanging from below a skirt, a comb forgotten in a bouffant. As if I don’t know what a finished product should look like.
I pause and realize the desire to look right covers a deeper hunger to be right. Feel complete.
Then I hear words of call and blessed redirection: “Child, look up.”
I do, reluctantly at first. From slippers to ceiling. It takes a while, but my frantic settles. Then it’s as if arms begin a gradual breaststroke through blue and layer of cloud to the Holy One, The Perfecter and Finisher. Past my incomplete to His Fully Complete.
I stop inner grumbling. Stop comparing a false done to the true, good imperfect is. I rest in His adequacy. I hear Him.
Yes, you are undone, He says, and I am the One who finishes you.
These days, those ugly gaps are transformed.
I see them, but all is well in my soul. Once annoyances and triggers of not enough, now they remind me to look up.
Look up, past the undone and to the life, the beauty that surrounds me. Look up to my Perfecter, the Lifter of my Head. Look up to my God, who prepares for me an eternal Home.
To you He says the same: Look up, dear child. Look up.
By Ashley, at Draw Near