Monday, March 2, 2020

Making the Best

We moved into the old farmhouse a few years ago now. And there was so much work to be done! The walls were made of old plaster and were visibly cracking in places--even a fresh coat of paint didn't help them much! The attic floor needed to be reinforced; I was concerned that someone was going to fall into the dining room from a height ;-) and join us for dinner unexpectedly! ;-). There were major issues (we needed a well; the windows needed to be replaced) and minor issues (the mice were a little too cozy and settled; though I do like mice in moderation--just not in my house ;-), the walls needed fresh coats of paint) and we knew that we could only tackle a little bit at a time. 

The Lord led us to this home in the Midwest and I love the old farmhouse dearly. But there was (and is) an awful lot of work to be done. 

One of the "minor" issues was the lack of cupboards in the kitchen.  Actually, there were no cupboards--just an antique buffet that the former owners used to put their dishes and other items in. It was beautiful and big and immensely heavy--with see-through glass windows that didn't do any justice to my (lack) of pretty dishes  and to my abundance of child-friendly glassware and sippy cups. Any woman reading this immediately shudders. How does one survive without adequate kitchen storage space? Is it even possible? 

So I did the best that I could. I arranged my dishes and plates and other miscellaneous items in that great big glass-windowed shudderingly-see-through cupboard-buffet. I used the drawers for cookie cutters and other such items; the opposite side of the buffet is a house to my small appliances (blender, food processor, etc). An obliging closet upstairs and our attic houses some of the other kitchen appliances. 

I was not entirely happy about this arrangement but decided to make the best of it. We would get cupboards for our kitchen in due time. And I have read too many missionary biographies about small spaces and "making do" to whine and pout too loudly . . . 

But in this little heart of mine I was dissatisfied; I really was. My usually-very-organized- neat self balked against the lack of proper storage space. As time wore on and the dearth of cupboards in my kitchen became less and less of a priority in light of the more major issues that kept surfacing, I began to despair of my dishes ever receiving a proper home. 

And then there was the drawer in the kitchen that attacked me. It was the only place that I could put the utensils in--but the problem was that it was just too close to the hutch, which was too close to the stove, which had no place to go because of its positioning in the kitchen. And we needed a stove; so getting rid of that particular appliance was not an option--even with our commitment to rural living. ;-) So back to that drawer--it stuck when I was attempting to squeeze something out of it and shaved back a large chunk of skin on my thumb--there was a dizzying amount of blood and I still bear the scar from that particular battle (the drawer won). 

In response to all of these "issues" that caused me chagrin, I "left" the buffet--it was a bane and a blight to happy kitchen living. "It's useless!" I thought, and just let a little dust collect in its inner corners. The dishes and cups were neat, but not as neatly ordered as they could have been. My cookie cutters were a bit jumbled in another drawer and my gift wrapping drawer needed to be organized. I looked at that buffet and it looked back at me and I just couldn't wait until I could tell it that its lease was up. We scowled at one another; I refused to dust its inner corners; it refused to open properly for me and we were really very spiteful to each other ;-). "You're too bulky!" I told it and it squinted at me through one of its under-windexed windows.  We refused to speak to one another for a while and I very begrudgingly gave it a bath with magic erasers only when it pleaded. 

And then the Lord spoke to my heart. I'm a believer that the "hidden" places matter. The dust under the bed, the crumbs carefully concealed beneath the legs of the table, those things that are sometimes neglected because no one really sees them. But God does. I read a story about Amy Carmichael and about the way that she emphasized to the little girls in her orphanage that they should sweep the corners when they cleaned and not be neglectful of the dirt that "no one sees." Because God does and we do our work unto Him. 

I felt convicted that I had purposely been neglecting the buffet because I was irritated in my heart that I didn't have the right storage space. I humbled myself before the Lord and made peace with that buffet. 

We have been on friendly terms since. 

I saw an idea in one of my Mom's old country magazines where someone had covered the open glass windows of their "unsightly" cabinets with pretty fabric. There it is; I thought! And the next time I was at the local Mennonite dry good store, I purchased enough to cover the open glass windows. Painstakingly I tacked it on and re-organized my cups, glasses, appliances, and various other items finding a home in that buffet. I knew a peace sweeping over my heart as I accepted the buffet as the Lord's present will for my storage and trusted that in His good time I would have proper storage space. I look at the buffet with new eyes and I daresay, it looks back at me with a gaze of mutual respect. :-). 

The point is here that when the Lord at times, in His perfect wisdom, chooses not to change our situation, whether it be in great or small things (such as in the case of this buffet) we can either accept His will or balk and pout. I knew that it wasn't His timing that we put cupboards in our kitchen. My acceptance of His will was more important than me being able to immediately organize my kitchen the way that I would like to. 

And yet, in the meantime, the Lord gives us creativity and grace to make the best of our situation. When we don't have the money to buy books that we might like, He gives us libraries. When we are not able to travel or to go on vacation He gives us lakes and parks and places to enjoy His creation. When we longingly wish for a new dress, He opens our eyes to see what is already hanging in our closet .

When we make the best, He gives us new eyes--the eyes that redeem seemingly useless things to have use again and to be used for His present purpose. 

I have experienced this countless times in my life--I can either "make the best" of something through His enabling joy and power --or sit in my pouts before God. 

Is it wrong to pray that He will change our circumstances? That He will give us proper storage space, that He will open doors in whatever area of our life that we are praying about? Absolutely not. But as Amy Carmichael says, "in acceptance lieth peace." If the Lord is speaking the words "Wait," into our hearts, our response must be acceptance of His present will for us. He will give us the grace to wait. 

So we make the best. We don't rebel. We trust our kind, loving Savior--we talk to Him about how we would like Him to change our circumstances. And then we move forward. We are faithful in the small things. We clean the corners of our cupboards. We neatly organize our dishes. We talk to our children about being faithful in little things and we especially show them by our example. 

God is faithful in the small things. He makes the best of concrete and allows violets to grow through its cracks. He makes the best of unkempt lawns and allows dandelions to grow up in them to feed the birds. He scatters rays of sunlight through gray clouds. He dresses the birds beautifully in the long and cheerless winter. God makes the best; so should we. 

So we make the best too--with cheerful hearts in the joy of the Lord which is our strength. We trust the One who knows all things and who is infinitely wise and good--

And we make peace with old buffets. 

You might find me on these link-ups:

Inspire Me MondayLiteracy Musing MondaysThe Modest MomRaising Homemakers, Classical HomemakingA Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Woman to Woman Ministries,  Testimony TuesdayTell His Story,  Imparting Grace, Thought Provoking ThursdayGood Morning Mondays,  Counting My BlessingsThe HomeAcre Hop, Mommy Moments Link UpGrace and Truth LinkupFaith Filled FridayRaRaLinkupWord of God SpeakBooknificent ThursdayCoffee For Your Heart Weekly LinkUpYou're the Star Blog HopHomesteader HopFresh Market FridayHeart Encouragement Thursday Sitting Among Friends Blog PartyFabulous Warm Heart PartyOh My Heartsie Girls Wonderful Wednesday LinkupWriter WednesdayTea and Word


  1. Rebekah, thanks so much for your always honest words that speak right to the heart. I am learning to be content even when so much needs to be done in my house. These words are so true: "So we make the best too--with cheerful hearts in the joy of the Lord which is our strength. We trust the One who knows all things and who is infinitely wise and good--..." Yes, we rest in Him, trusting that He will give us strength. Blessings to you!

  2. What a beautiful lesson from a big buffet with glass windows! Remodeling isn't easy (I've refused to unpack anything after a move until all the remodeling is finished--which had me 'cooking' in the bathroom for three months while we worked on the house). I love the lessons God teaches us with the insignificant things (they seem insignificant, but in reality, they aren't are they?).

  3. enjoyed my visit and reading your blog post. Love that old oven as well you seriously do have a nice set up
    come see us at