Monday night, my husband came home around 8:30 and was surprised to find me painting my office. Early that morning, as I lay in bed, unable to sleep, I decided to paint my office. The deadline was driven by a Tuesday installation appointment for a TV. After all, why hang the TV on a wall with old paint, nail holes and patches of paint missing where the dry-erase squares had been removed?
New fresh paint would make a difference.
To my husband's credit, when he walked into my office, he looked around and offered to help. With his help, we were able to finish up the second coat right around 11 that night. Without his help, I'm pretty sure it never would have been completed — I would have become too tired to finish and would have given up.
This painting adventure is one of many house projects that have been tacked this past month. Two weeks ago, it was our daughter and I moving around the furniture in our house while my husband and son were away on a Boy Scout camping trip. You should have seen his eyes when he returned to furniture in new places.
Last week, the project was putting dozens of plants in our yard. Which involved his help, as well. For weeks, I have been working on a family picture project for our bedroom and downstairs playroom hall. All the pictures are being moved to black frames and being rehung on the walls.
While it has taken me hours more than anticipated, the fun part has been looking at the pictures from when our children were babies. You realize they grow up fast, but it warmed my heart to see them as babies being tightly held by family members.
This project craze has led my husband to remark that he never knows what he is going to find when he comes home. I mentioned just this morning that the guest bathroom might need a new color on the walls. It's good to keep him on his toes.
I can't quite put my finger on what I am preparing for, but I was reminded during our marathon painting session in my office that preparation comes before performance.
As we painted my office, we watched "Facing the Giants," the inspirational movie of a losing high school football team, the Shiloh Eagles, their coach, Grant Taylor, and their journey from fear and failure to belief in God, hard work and victory. Having watched the movie before, I knew that they would win the state championship at the end of the movie (yes, spoiler alert). The story of their transition from despondency to belief and victory was the point of the movie, not the win itself.
Early in the movie, while struggling with his team's losses, and facing possible dismissal, Coach Taylor runs into Mr. Bridges, a faithful man who has been praying for the team, coach and players. He reminds Taylor that God is at work.
"I just don't see him at work here," Taylor responded.
"Grant," said Bridges, "I heard a story about two farmers who desperately needed rain, and both of them prayed for rain, but only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one do you think trusted God to send the rain?"
"Well, the one who prepared his fields for it," replied Taylor.
"Which one are you," asked Bridges. "God will send the rain when he is ready. You need to prepare your field to receive it."
This changed Taylor's focus — from the endgame of winning, to getting his team ready; preparing not just for football, but preparing for life. He did this by focusing on God, following his commandments, teaching his players to give God their best.
They praised God when they won — and when they lost. The goal was not to win — the goal was to give their best to God, and to leave the outcome to him.
Taylor not only won the state championship, but his wife, who was told she would not become pregnant, learned of her pregnancy on the same day the team won.
As Taylor kneeled in front of his wife, he became overwhelmed when hearing the news. But she reminded him of what he had told his team. Through God all things are possible.
Through God all things are possible. Our job is to prepare for rain; it's up to God to determine when the rain will come.
Jackie Gingrich Cushman is the co-author along with her father, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, of the book "5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours." Read more reports from Jackie Gingrich Cushman — Click Here Now.