Concerning White Paint and Wonderful People

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Paint is amazing.  With the help of five gallons of semi-gloss white paint and our two oldest sons my husband and I completely refreshed every white surface of our property in just five days.  With the help of five more gallons of flat white paint and several friends, we also repainted and gave new life to every interior wall on first floor of our home.

After all the re-painting was done, I went on to marvel just how amazing cleaning products are as my children and a few more friends helped me scrub every window sill, appliance, closet, and floor in the house.  My husband and sons, meanwhile, learn the beauty of thrift shops and transfer stations while getting rid of eight van loads of clothing, household items, and assorted debris.

Following all this labor, nothing about the actual mechanics of our home had changed, but its appearance was so uncluttered and sparklingly beautiful that it sold in just five days last November!  It was truly a miraculous and often exhausting journey from the first stroke of white paint on the picket fence in October to the final stroke of black ink on the closing contacts in January.

Anyone who has recently been trying to sell real estate knows the improbable odds of selling a house in this economy at this time of year.  In fact, one real estate agent told us not to even bother putting our house on the market until after the holiday season and certainly not before moving out of the house.  She apparently couldn’t fathom showing a house with – gasp! – eight people living in it.

Although getting our house ready to be put on the market was essentially about material appearances, it made me think of the verse in scripture that says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).   It made me think of this verse because during all this activity, although my hands were justifiably flustered with painting and cleaning, my heart was savoring an atypical sense of tranquility.

Somehow my heart knew that the selling our house was not about the outward appearance of the building we have called home, the time of year, nor the state of the national economy.  The heart of the matter was did we or did we not trust as St. Paul wrote in Philippians 4:19 that God would supply all that we would need in the process of selling our house?

Well, my husband and I did our best to trust in God’s provision, and now, even though there will be no obvious change of appearance any of my online or newspaper writing – surprise ! –I will now be writing from Ann Arbor, MI, where my husband has accepted a great new job.

It is bittersweet to move after being blessed with 13 years of living on Cape Cod in the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts.  We have made so many good friends and precious memories.  One of the best things about moving, however, is the opportunity to actually say goodbye and tell people how much they’ve meant to me instead of letting friendships sort of fade away as our schedules and interests change over time.  Although it may have appeared to be so, it really wasn’t the white paint, the cleaning products, nor the purging of possessions that made the sale of our house possible.  It was the wonderful people who jumped in and helped us to do what we felt God was asking of us, and it was God himself, who is ever faithful to supply all our need.

Is there something God is asking of you in 2011?  Something that, perhaps, you are actively avoiding because it appears to be impossible?  My prayer is that you will have the faith to do what God is asking; that you would have the faith to say with St. Paul, “My God shall supply all my need.”

Copyright 2011 Heidi Bratton

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1 Comment

  1. Heidi – I loved this column! Another thing, how wonderful that you let folks help you prepare for your move! I hope you settle in quickly at your new home. Thanks for the inspiration!

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