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It’s been a busy couple of months, on top of work, our ongoing adoption process, Christmas, New Year and the associated visits from family, we have also had (and still do) the disruption of major building work on our house. And while the results are and will be brilliant the wait and process is a little…. chaotic.

And so it was this evening I found myself stripping wall paper in the bathroom, to my shame something that I have never done before. We’d borrowed a wall paper steaming device, which essentially pummels the wall paper with steam until it submits wherein I scrape it off the wall. Ideally. Undoubtably the steamer made this a much easier job, but there were some areas that were more difficult than others, some areas where the wall wasn’t as flat as others, where the paper had stuck firmer. Things I hadn’t expected – peeling paint, plugged up holes, all made the job harder. But when the walls have been stripped back we will be able to redo them, making them the wall we want. Or at least the blokes we have employed will.

Sometimes being a Christian feels a bit, well crappy. It seems that all the work I put into being self disciplined, all the effort into loving people, all the tears into trying to show compassion and grace just result in me hurting. I feel like asking Jesus what the dickens He is up to? Other times I recognise that I have created this disguise that I wear like wall paper. And for Jesus to change me (and that change to mean anything at all) that paper, that disguise, that false me, must be loosened and scraped off. Now, Jesus will make this as painless as possible for me, He will use the equivalent of a steamer to work the disguise free. The thing about steam is that it is hot, it burns, at best it’s uncomfortable, at worst it plain hurts. But as that layer comes off and what is underneath is revealed, scars and all, we come to a point where I can be rebuilt: not as I want but as Jesus the master decorator intends and always has intended.

Psalm 139:13-16 ‘For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.