Everything but the kitchen sink. Literally.

We have been without a kitchen sink for over 45 days now. It's been trying to say the least. While my flesh wants to scream at people and punch walls, my spirit has been gently guiding me to other, less violent ways of coping. Praise the Lord.

Months ago we noticed some water damage on the bottom of our island cabinets. Of course, we called the professionals.... days after noticing it... because who the heck has time to make immediate phone calls anymore? Welp,turned out the dishwasher had a wonky part which created a leak, which lead to water damage, which lead to dismantling our entire island. One might think the process to fix a little water damaged cabinet would be fairly easy. One might think....

The LONG process started by fixing the dishwasher then removing it. And then taking off the  counter top which was followed by taking out the sink , and then stripping away ALL the cabinets. At this point in the journey we had a random half wall with pipes and screws sticking out smack dab in the middle of the kitchen. Which was so appealing to look at. Not to mention, functional and safe for the kids. -_- Ideally this would have been a week or two project- but you know- ideals and reality are rarely on the same page.

our current state

our current state

Right now we have new cabinets, which is great. But we also still have a dismantled island which is NOT great. The (damaged) quartz counter top is leaning against our make shift "work bench/table/tool catch all" in our garage along with the dishwasher and our beloved sink. Which also makes parking in our garage impossible- but who the heck is keeping track of all the inconveniences this has brought our family. Clearly not me.

Oh how I long for the day

we might one day scrub pans in our dreamy SHINY metal basin instead of our VERY SMALL porcelain hand sink in the guest bathroom. What joy it brings my heart dreaming of a sudsy bubble filled sink. I literally WANTED to do the dishes while on our recent vacation because I missed the (taken for granted) functionality and gift of a kitchen sink. Throughout this process I've realized how important the kitchen sink is. Like, it is a second garbage can in our home. I dust the crumbs into my hand which end up in the sink... not the trash. It's also the source of water for every paper towel mess. It's the place I hover and eat lunch while watching my kids destroy the plate of food I COOKED. It's amazing how everything revolves around the kitchen and even more specifically the kitchen sink. Want to cook a hot meal? There's options in the kitchen. You've got a microwave (I know- it's not really "cooking" but at least it's hot.) You also have the option of a crockpot, a toaster oven or outside the kitchen- you've got the grill! What are the other options for a kitchen sink? What? The dishwasher. Yeah- that big boxy appliance sitting in my garage? Well outside of that miracle contraption the options are 1. washing your dishes in the bathroom sink and/or tub. 2. Bring all your dirty dishes to your neighbor's house. (Thanks Tom and Margueritte. We seriously love you guys.) True story- we have literally brought countless tubs of dishes to our neighbor's house. They're the best neighbors in the world. Needless to say, I feel like I'm missing my best friend. Me and the kitchen sink were tight. We did so much together. So much.

SO! This is why we have been eating off of paper plates. Okay, truth is- we use paper plates all the time- but whatever- we've been using less dishes out of necessity. This is of course just a minor detail when it comes to meal time. Queue the RANT : Do your kids eat raw veggies? Neither do mine. Well, except cucumbers. They like raw cucumbers. With the skins peeled off. So basically IF they're eating uncooked vegetables, they're eating 5 calories of seeds and water. Maybe getting vitamin C? That vitamin is in everything. If you're some kind of super mom that magically gets your kids to eat raw vegetables, pat yourself on the back and don't tell me about it. I'm too fragile right now.

No, we aren't cooking a lot of healthy meals lately. It's a lot of frozen foods, eating at restaurants and easy take out options. (Side note- if you live close to a Chili's- take advantage of their curbside service. It's super easy and considerably affordable compared to other options and mayyyybe a bit healthier than say, McDonalds. AND They have steamed broccoli and corn on the cob. My kids eat those, too.) I caved yesterday and cooked eggs. I still haven't washed the egg pan because DOING DISHES IN THE BATHROOM SINK IS FIRST WORLD TORTURE.  I miss the days of "whipping up" a meal and "tossing the dishes in the sink" to "wash them later." If I let ANY dishes pile up in the bathroom it makes me feel like I'm back in my college apartment. I look at them, cry inside and run for shelter to my room hoping and praying someone else (jacob) takes one for the team. Usually he does. Which has made him so much more attractive to me. I mean he's already a 10 out of 10. But come on, a guy that does the bathroom sink dishes- he's a freaking winner.

This is real life what our guest bathroom has looked like for the past month and a half. HELP ME.

This is real life what our guest bathroom has looked like for the past month and a half. HELP ME.

WHY am I even sharing this with you? I know you may be wondering what the moral of the story is. And yes, there is one. NO- it's not to invite you all in to my misery. (well, maybe slightly it is. I'm a work in progree. Don't judge me.) Maybe you have a fully functioning kitchen, but you've got your own proverbial "kitchen sink" issue. Maybe you're in the middle of a relationship struggle that seems like it's taking forever to get resolved. Maybe you're waiting for a job to open that will create a more functional routine for your life. It could be that you've got an unsettling health issue with no real end in sight. We are all in some sort of storm and waiting for the solution. Even when we know the solution or see the solution in sight we still have to wait. We know the next steps that need to be taken to see our sink restored. But, we have to wait for the people to act on our behalf. In a lot of ways we are at the mercy of others. Read here about Why is waiting SO HARD and how we can take joy in waiting.

Throughout all of this I see the Lord showing us just how easily hardship can throw us off.

He is gently reminding me of the security I place on convenience and ease of life. When my comfort is challenged, everything else is, too. It's super duper easy to be on fire for the Kingdom and to put Jesus first when not much is contending for that primary spot. But, really, there's typically always something fighting to be number one.

I heard a sermon the other day on Acts 27, which talks about Paul being shipwrecked. [I literally can't figure out who was preaching or where I heard it. Yes, I am THAT much of a scatter brain. If the good Lord reminds me, I'll attach the link.] It really put my little problem into perspective. I am certainly not on a broken down boat heading for disaster... I just can't do my dishes. But don't we all do that?! We take a very small problem and let it turn into a SHIPWRECK. At least the enemy tries to make it that big. When we give it steam and attention the problem becomes so much bigger. While listening to the pastor teach I gained some very valuable perspective and insight. I would challenge you to read Acts 27 in light of your current struggles and ask God through His spirit to teach you through it as well.

What I will share with you is this: When you're on fire for God, there will be snakes coming out to bite. We see the story unfold as Paul is sitting by the fire to get warm, a snake comes out from the fire. It attaches itself to Paul, and we read that Paul, shakes off the snake BACK in to the fire. This was so significant to me because it illustrates the very lesson the Lord has been guiding me through. When life hands you lemons, you know what they say- make lemonade. And the same goes for: when the fire in your heart for Jesus brings out the snakes in your life, ya know, shake them off BACK into the fire. We see that it was the fire that actually scared the snake out. This is confirmation for the fire being hot in your life. When we start gaining territory, when our relationship with Jesus blossoms, when we break free from the shipwrecks in life- the enemy gets scared and he comes out for blood. It's up to us whether or not we will let him sink in his teeth. We can run around screaming about the snake biting us and then treat the wound- or we can shake him off before we are even compromised.

By His grace, my affection for Jesus is deep and most days it's really fierce.

And with that affection I know I also have a big target on my back. Scripture says the enemy of our souls prowls around looking for those whom he can destroy. The Bible is clear that when life is hard, Satan will kick us when we are down. And he sure knows how to pick a fight; always scrappy, never anything new, always lying, always trying to whisper and antagonize. Y'all there have been days that I wanted to just throw the dishes. Like at the walls. And yes, I've even considered throwing them in the garbage. That's normal, right? Just cook a meal and then throw all the pots and pans away. No. Big. Deal. It's in those moments that the enemy tries gaining ground. AS SOON as my lips utter the words my flesh is feeling, like, "I can't stand this!" or "HOW LONG are we going to have to put up with this?!" or "WHEN is that guy coming to fix this?!" The enemy of my soul sees opportunity. Why do you think the Lord tells us to do all things without grumbling or complaining? Ever consider it's to stay protected against the weaker areas of our flesh? To not give momentum to feelings that can be invitations for the devil to dig in a little deeper? Have you ever thought about how contagious complaining is? One moment you're happy and going about life, then you stub your pinky toe. In that moment you are faced with two options: 1. Say FUUUUU....dddgggggee( because you're a christian  and/or you have little kids listening.) Followed by, "EVERY TIME I turn the corner, that stupid wall is just waiting to take me out. OR 2. Respond with a quick "ouch!" and then a "thanks for giving me a pinky toe, Lord." Silly example, I know- but for real, the pinky toe stub is one of the most painful common day injuries one can endure.

Either, we give ammunition to the attack of the enemy by feeding right into his schemes

OR

we throw a log into the fire of our faith.

I bet every time we respond in a way that brings the Lord glory in a trial, the enemy runs and cries and feels defeated all over again. Scripture is clear; Resist the devil and HE WILL FLEE from you. James 4:7.

Why did my dishwasher break? I could probably boil it down to lousy manufacturing. (Maybe with a little help from the devil.) Regardless of whether there was a spiritual component that started it- I have a choice in how I respond. WE ALL DO. Your job is to FIGHT the good fight of faith. Believe that you can actually listen closely to the Holy Spirit guiding you. Believe that your flesh can be silenced through worship. Believe that in being made new, God can give you strength to endure hardship with grace and dignity. You can absolutely be a beacon of hope and light in all circumstances. I have been given the opportunity to endure well in this short season without a kitchen sink. And while it's been frustrating at times, highly inconvenient and exhausting, MORE IMPORTANTLY it's taught me how to shake off the attacks of the enemy. It's highlighted the truth, that like God provided for Paul in his trial, He also has provided for me and my family.

We CHOOSE to find the joy in it.

And that brings Glory to God!

Shelly Jata