Sometimes you can just take the thingamajig apart and clean it and voilà! A strong, high-pressured flow of water bursts from the faucet. (I’m told the thingamajig is an aerator, and you don’t “just” take it apart, but whatever. Compared to the cacophony and mess of ceiling tiles removed, pipes sawed into pieces, clamps harnessed with a power screw driver, water dripping, and the occasional grunting and groaning of my husband during the past week, cleaning the aerator seems like a pretty simple process to me.)
This was not a clean the aerator kind of fix. It was a major, replace the pipes overhaul.
In fact, we had been dancing around the idea for a couple of years. Or rather, my husband would start talking about it, and I would start dancing to distract him. Because the whole idea seemed a bit daunting to me. Our house was built nearly six decades ago. And the builders used galvanized pipes throughout.
If you need a brief lesson on galvanized pipes, here’s the gist: Galvanized pipes were commonly installed in houses built in the US prior to 1960. They were an alternative to lead pipes, which were considered a health hazard. Galvanized pipes are made of steel and coated with zinc to prevent corrosion and rust. The problem, however, is decades later the these pipes corrode and rust on the inside.
Our pipes, my husband insisted, needed some attention. I preferred sticking my fingers in my ears and doing the Hokey Pokey. It worked for a while. I was still able to do laundry, wash dishes, and shower. For years. I didn’t even mind that I had to be careful not to lather too much shampoo in my hair or it would take five minutes to rinse it all out due to low water pressure. I was used to it.
But then we had some plumbing issues in the basement. At the same that time we (I use that pronoun in the broadest sense) were taking care of that issue, we were also thinking seriously about selling our house since we are empty-nesters. That’s when the husband decided no more dancing around the pipe issue. It had to be done.
I came home one day to discover coils of piping and the babel of power tools. The new pipe replacement project was in process. At one point during the week, my handyman pulled me aside and showed me two things. First, a pipe that was part of a main water line in the house. The pipe was nearly rusted through. Had he waited much longer on this project, the results would have been disastrous.
And then he showed me the inside of one of the pipes he had removed. It was so rusted and corroded on the inside, so full of gunk, that it is a miracle any water managed to snake its way through at all.
So yeah, that project? It was messy. It was noisy. It was time consuming. It was inconvenient. It was costly. It meant cutting out, and cutting apart the old, and installing the new.
But man, when I turned on the shower for the first time once the work was complete, I jumped back in surprise. Then I reached in and turned down the faucets. The flow was incredibly strong, and I no longer needed the water on full blast. I quickly learned that I could no longer start my bath water and leisurely go fix a cup of tea, because with the new water pressure, the tub would overflow before I returned! Who knew such abundant water flow existed? Not me. I was used to the old.
Have you been feeling like you’ve lost some flow, some power or, for lack of a more glamorous word, oomph? Maybe you just want more. More joy, more financial freedom, more healthy relationships, more romance, more purpose, more growth, more of JESUS flowing through you.
As my husband labored over swapping out piping, I realized that sometimes we lose flow in our lives because we’ve continued with the old, when we are being called to something new. Sometimes we continue with the same things, because, well, we’ve always done it that way, or thought that way, or because it’s easy and comfortable. But there are seasons when we need to cut away the old, if it is hindering us, and replace it with something new, something that allows new life and new ministry and new passion to flow through us. This can be uncomfortable and costly and messy. I’m a safe, familiar kind of girl – meaning I don’t like to shake things up too much, step too far out of my comfort zone. But my word for 2018 is NEW. I am praying that God will bring NEW life to a somewhat stagnant heart. That I will be open to NEW visions He has, and NEW adventures He calls me to, and NEW dreams He plants in my heart. That I will look at things from a NEW perspective. But it also means a willingness to let go of the old.
Old thoughts. I can’t. This is impossible. There’s no way. Nothing’s going to change. There simply isn’t room for these thoughts AND ones like Wherever You lead Lord, I’m ready. I trust Your way. Let’s do this.
No, the old thoughts have got to go, replaced by Truth and trust. Daily journaling will help me keep on track.
Old habits. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve spent way too much time watching Netflix this past year. Saying yes to things I should have said no to. Perusing social media. Eating dinner in the living room instead of at the table, where we always ate when raising our kids. Procrastinating on things I’m afraid to attempt, risks I’m terrified to tackle. This first week of January, I’m seeking direction for what to rip out and what to replace it with. He who began a good work in me, will be faithful to direct and complete. I’m sure of it.
Old dreams. Never give up on your dreams, I’ve heard. But sometimes old dreams have to go. Things don’t turn out the way we once thought they would, and that’s okay. If we hang on too tightly, we might miss out on something new. It is okay to pack away old dreams, to box them up and set them by the curb for Goodwill or pass them down to a dear one, or simply place them in a trash bag. Or place them on a shelf for a few years. This makes room for the something NEW that God wants to do right now.
There are a few verses God has given to me over and over these past few days, verses that seem to resonate with and confirm my word for 2018. The first comes from Isaiah 43, verses 18-19 (NIV) . Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness, and streams in the wasteland.
The second is Isaiah 40:31 (NLT) But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary, They will walk and not faint.
I don’t know if I have any old readers left. Perhaps I’ll gain some NEW ONES this year 🙂 But whoever happens upon this little bit of rambling, I’m wishing you the happiest of NEW YEAR’S, 2018. May He put a NEW song in our mouths, as we seek the One who is making all things NEW. (Psalm 40:3, Revelation 21:5)
Grateful for this wonderful life,
Marie with a 🙂