The Door to Humility

When Curt and I bought our little 1925 wood frame house two years ago, we knew we were in for a long journey of renovation. The house was quite a bargain, but there was a good reason for that. The inside needed tons of work. It was six months before we spent our first night in the house. Actually, Curt pulled a few all-nighters trying to get some projects done so that we could move in before the blessed return of our Lord. I will never forget the night that Janelle and I, both at least seven months pregnant, donned our husbands’ workout clothes and some pretty ineffective masks and painted my kitchen cabinet doors. She is a true friend. We decided that if our kids ended up with very challenging dispositions, we’d blame it on the paint fumes. Those six months were pretty stressful, but there’s something sweet about knowing that your (or mostly your husband’s) blood, sweat, and tears are in the fabric of your home.

Even post-renovation, our home has plenty of quirks. Each of our old doors opens and shuts differently. Our bedroom door has to be slammed shut or it won’t stay closed. Jackson’s door has to be jerked open when it’s cold and doesn’t like to shut all the way when it’s hot. It’s funny how after time you just get used to each quirk. My poor college girls who come over on Wednesday nights have yet to master all the door opening and shutting tricks.

Our front door was absolutely the worst offender. I had to push it open with my hip or shoulder, and that was after fighting the ancient screen door with a toddler in my arms. It was hard work just getting in my house. You can imagine how challenging it was when Jackson was asleep on my shoulder! The door had a diamond shaped window right at eye level. Anyone who approached it couldn’t help but look inside our house. When we had Jackson, I taped a wash cloth over it so that I could have some privacy. It was so classy. When the previous home owner dropped by one day to see all the renovations we had done, she couldn’t believe we hadn’t replaced the front door. That hollow-core door was at least fifty years old. It was so brittle that an eight-year-old could have kicked it down.

Some months ago Curtis and I ventured into Lowe’s after a lunch date. I walked slowly through the door aisle and saw the door of my dreams. I never knew there was a “door of my dreams,” but there it was. It was red and had a beautiful window so high up that it would let some light in, but someone would have to be very tall or nosy to see in. It looked like a door that would go on a beautiful old bungalow. Our house is not quite a bungalow, but I thought it would look great. Curt shocked me by saying yes when I asked if we could get the door. We decided to think on it for a while first.

Soon we found out that our neighborhood was going to be in the middle of a major redevelopment project and some houses would be bought and torn down. We didn’t know if our street was being targeted for something new or if it would be left alone. We still don’t know, but we think we are staying put. (The city is not going to use eminent domain.) So we finally took the long-overdue plunge and my beautiful new door was installed last Thursday. It is even more gorgeous on my house than it was in the store. It opens and shuts gracefully. Praise God, the screen door has finally been retired. It feels secure and private, and the window makes rainbow reflections on my wall in the afternoon. I am completely in love with a door, of all things! But those who are proud of their door, the Lord is able to humble.

Ironically – so very ironically – our across the street neighbor got some new furniture that very day. In my city, it is extremely common for people to leave their old furniture out on the curb so that someone else can come and reap the blessing. Usually things like that are taken away within hours. Many people drove slowly by our house that day, not to admire my lovely new red door, but to see if the large couch in my neighbors yard was something they’d like to have for themselves. It was a perfectly good leather couch. What completely baffles me is that it remained there for three days. Three days! On the fourth day it was kindly taken away by the city.

The irony of this may be lost on you without my confession that the Lord has been dealing heavily with my pride lately. I’m not sure if I’m being more prideful than usual, or if the Lord is simply giving me eyes to see it. Whew! It has been a challenging couple of weeks! I recounted all the stories of my many recent humblings to my mom and we were squealing with laughter. If I can’t laugh, I might cry!

Even though this post is already very long, I’ll go ahead and share another little slice of life with you. Curt and I were asked to help distribute the elements of the Lord’s Supper on Sunday night. I was to stand up front and hold the cup of grape juice while church members dipped the bread into it. Let me tell you, I was very nervous about doing this because of my recent pride issues. I did not want to take or distribute Communion in an unworthy manner, lest I offend the Lord and become sick or fall asleep! (See 1 Cor. 11:27-32.)

I was getting some last minute instruction from my sweet pastor’s wife on the two sentences I was supposed to say to each person as they dipped the bread. Then she broke the news to me that by the end of it, I would probably have grape juice splashed all over my pants and shoes. I looked down at the cute new wide leg pants that I got from Anthropologie for my birthday and grimaced. I quickly tried to think right thoughts about the situation and offer my pants as a sacrifice to the Lord. What a very, very small sacrifice in view of Christ offering His body and His blood for the redemption of my soul. Well, the Lord put a holy scotch guard around my trousers and did not allow any grape juice to touch them. I’m absolutely positive that He gave me the vision of being bathed in grape juice in front of our congregation to protect me from that ugly pride during Communion. Now, if anyone saw me standing up there with spittle, it must not have been enough!


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