Messy hearts & Messy homes

working on the basement
It is almost the middle of October and I was hoping my life would slow down a little. Remember when we started a summer project called finishing the basement? Yeah, it is still going. I guess we can start calling it our autumn project now. We just got home from Home Depot and are hoping that the carpet will be going in at the beginning of November which will be the last of it. Finally.

The last of the mess making – the saw dust, drywall dust, paint, grout, and general mess that has been trekked through my house on a daily basis. The last of our daily trips to Home Depot (I hope)Β even though we created a pretty long project list for after the basement is finished (home improvement is addictive!) The last of “sorry we can’t do that we need to work on the basement” and the last of “I’m not ready to go back to work I feel like we worked all weekend.”

I’m looking forward to a finished basement and although we are so close, I feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is still so far away. I laugh because we had no idea what we got ourselves into and while I know we will be proud when it is all over, I don’t know if I would have encouraged it so much if I knew what we would have to sacrifice to finish it.

My house has been a mess for the last 5 months. I’ve had toilets on my couch, sinks, in my living room, speakers and spare furniture in my bedroom, a stack of all our lighting fixtures in my kitchen, drywall dust on EVERYTHING, and a kitchen table that looks more like a workbench than an eating area. We’ve eaten out far too much,Β moved the furniture all around to watch a movie, created pathways to get around, and consumed a fair amount of beer πŸ˜‰ It’s been pretty messy.

I feel much more at home in an orderly place. I love a tidy home and decluttered life. The months of having a home that almost never met those standards did a work on me. I was forced to invite people over (even though I wasn’t loving the state of my house) and continue doing life with people. I reached several breaking points when I needed to have a reality check and deal with my perfectionism. and I had to face the messy in my heart while living in the messy in my home.

I guess I am still working on all that mess – the house mess and the heart mess. Sometimes the perfection monster screams so loud & the pressure that I put on myself to do it all, be it all, have it all, share it all, and invest it all is too much. I struggle with blogging, with working, with being there for friends & family, with making meals, with keeping house, and with all those other things that life throws my way. But this summer more than ever I’ve found grace in that mess. I’ve hosted parties in the middle of the drywall dust, I’ve had friends move couches and sit with feet up on stacks of tile to watch the Broncos play, and I’ve been loved through my mini meltdowns (thanks for being so gracious friends!)

I’ve been looking at the gospel again with new eyes. Seeing that I am not enough on my own and that mess is inevitable BUT He is enough. He is the wholeness and redemption and sustainer of all the mess. While my heart longs for perfection it is not something that working harder or stressing more will ever solve. I will always fall short. I can never work my way out of my need for the Lord. The thought of this has been somewhere between a hard pill to swallow and the best gift ever.

So currently things are messy. The basement mess will end one day (soon I hope) but more messes will come. My heart mess is all over the place and will continue ebbing and flowing as outer circumstances change. But the Lord is constant and the Lord is faithful and the Lord is always MORE.

xoxo, elizabeth

Author: Elizabeth Mayberry

  • I try to remind myself messes mean memories, but usually I just feel stressed out when my house is a mess..Oh well! Great post and love your blog!
    Morgan | The Rad Wife

    • Oak & Oats

      Thanks so much Morgan! I know, I get that! I feel best when my house is in order but that is not always the case and I’m learning to still be okay even in those moments πŸ˜‰ Key word – “learning” lol!

  • Great post! Mess comes in so many forms. How we deal with the mess is what matters and means the most. Hoping and praying that when the dust settles (in many forms) it will reveal everything you need!

    • Oak & Oats

      You are wonderful and such a truth speaker! Mess comes in so many forms and it is how we react to it! Thanks friend!!!!!!!!!!

  • This mess will all be over soon and you’ll have learned some great things from it! Letting go a little bit of perfectionism has to be good for the soul, even if it’s really hard to do!

    • Oak & Oats

      You are so right! Thanks for your sweet encouragement Emily!

  • This post is so applicable to so many messy stages of life, Beth. Home renovations are hard and stressful. I remember living through some growing up and know there are more in my future. It takes a lot of grace with ourselves to let others into our messes. I find, though, that most of the time my friends don’t care about the mess, they’re just happy to spend time together. It’s hard to live in that knowledge, though.

    • Oak & Oats

      You are so right Stacia!

  • beautiful post!

    • Oak & Oats

      Thanks so much! hahah.

  • AMEN! πŸ™‚

  • Mmmm I just love you. I know this summer was hard, but I’m glad we all walked through it together. And the basement project will end soon. I promise. XOXO.

    • Oak & Oats

      I know! You are so amazing and helped me stay sane – thanks for all those dishes you did πŸ˜‰

  • just when i thought october would be slower for me, or at least slow enough for me to enjoy the fall weather. but alas! it doesn’t happen that way. i too always feel more at home in a clean and organized space. i love nothing more than relaxing in a clean home after a long workday! you will get there, one day at a time, and all the hardwork will be worth it once you too can relax in peace.

    • Oak & Oats

      Thanks so much for your sweet encouragement! And I know the space will be sweeter just because we worked so hard on it!!

  • Oh Beth! You always speak such truth! It’s hard to remember/embrace the mess sometimes, but the work will end soon and you’ll have an awesome basement!

    • Oak & Oats

      Ashlee! Thank you so much πŸ™‚ You are amazing!

  • YES! I love this, girl! We can aspire to perfect organization and clean transitions, but life is rarely this way. I love how you captured it all, and reframed it as an understanding of grace.

    • Oak & Oats

      Yes! Grace! Amen for that huh?!!?

  • amy

    tell that perfection monster to shove it πŸ˜‰
    remember that on our pursuit of righteousness God offers grace & mercy…and my gosh do we need it.
    i’m so excited not only for the beautiful movement in your heart, but to see the finished space (yayyyy for when that happens!) until then, enjoy the journey. <3

    • Oak & Oats

      Thanks so much Amy!! You are so wonderful and encouraging at all times!! Thankful for you!

  • “I can never work my way out of my need for the Lord.”

    This is a powerful statement, Elizabeth. Thank you for sharing your heart.

    • Oak & Oats

      Thank you! Yes, and I need to remind myself that all the time!!

  • Melanie Montgomery

    I loved reading this, this morning. My mess has come in the form of a screaming infant that I can’t seem to console, and a house that sits in chaos because of it, laundry undone, dishes in the sink…etc. And I’m a mess as well when I’m normally so put together. Mess come in all forms.

    • Oak & Oats

      There are so many types of mess and life will always carry that mess! Thank goodness for GRACE! Praying for your screaming baby today and for peace in your heart!

  • Roberta

    Love this post.

    • Oak & Oats


  • This speaks directly to my (orderly) heart. Haha. Our basement is under construction right now too and while I’m super excited about it, it is also stressful. But life will always be messy in one way or another right? Can’t wait to see how everything turns out!