Let me tell you about the utter disaster that happened our first night as homeowners.
It was 2009, and we were going to spend our first night in our new house. I bought us a bottle of wine to celebrate. Because as a 25-year-old, I thought that’s what adults did.
Being complete novices at the whole drinking alcohol thing, we innocently unwrap the foil at the top and find a completely inserted cork. Like, that thing is in there. It’s not like the movies where it pops off in about 2 seconds. (Things actual adults know: you pop off champagne corks, and they’re very different from wine corks.)
After panicking for a minute, I concurrently remember that corkscrews exist, and that we don’t own one. We chip at the cork for about 20 minutes with a knife and get nowhere. So, being millennials, we google “how to open a wine bottle without a corkscrew.” Aw, internet. When I need a wacky hack, you’ve always got my back.
Hacks 1 and 2 helped us piece out more of the cork, but it was still solidly lodged in the bottle. Hack 3 involved putting the wine bottle in the heel of a sneaker and smacking it on the counter.
You guys, Hack 3 actually worked!*
*keep reading and decide if that is a true statement**
**after further research, we did the hack wrong. You’re supposed to tap it on the wall. Horizontally. We tapped it on the counter. Vertically.
The thing about gravity is that it tends to bring things down. Even things, like the cork, that you want to go up. The cork flew INTO the wine bottle instead of OUT of it. I’m just saying maybe Brian should reimburse his parents for that Engineering degree for thinking this was a good idea.
The wine flew out of the bottle in a majestic geyser all over my white kitchen formica countertops, along with everything in a five foot radius.
Fast-forward an hour later and I’m sobbing, desperately trying to scrub the horrible purple stains off my white countertop. Even with undiluted Clorox, the stains stayed. I’d ruined it. On the first night. It was going to be that way forever.
And the worst part was, when I actually did have a glass of the wine, it had tiny bits of cork floating in it from all our failed attempts to break the cork.
Just as I started to live with the heartbreaking realization my counter might look like that forever, I started wiping the counter every day, every single day, with Clorox. No scrubbing, just consistently wiping down.
And this crazy thing happened, y’all. The stains started to lighten up.
It took months, but with consistent cleaning, those stains slowly faded away. Nowadays if you come over, you can’t ever tell that a horrific wine disaster ever took place there. (This might be a lie. I might have missed one of the dots that landed on the wall.)
And as hilarious at that story is, it stays stuck in my brain because those wine stains remind me a lot of the chronic fear I used to live with.
Like the wine on my counter, fear blighted my life -- a surface that was intended to stay pure. And once I realized it was there, it was all I could see. I prayed and prayed for God to scrub that fear out. But I can’t say there was one day I felt different than the day before.
Instead, God cleansed me a little every day, as I prayed and read His word. Day by day there didn’t seem to be any progress, but looking over years, I can see huge progress.
It took years, but God completely cleaned out my heart of fear. I firmly believe that, just like the wine, it was healed a little bit at a time. Now you can’t even tell it was there.
A couple of thoughts on this idea:
Consistency was the key. If I would have never started cleaning the counter, no progress would have ever been made. Feeling sorry about a situation doesn’t change it one bit. Change happens when you do something about it. To counteract my fear, I prayed and read the bible consistently. Did I miss days? Absolutely. But I stuck to it. And you can too.
Faith kills doubt. Of course there were times over several years, and even today, that I have doubts that God healed me from fear. The key to fighting this was not only knowing the promises in the Bible, but knowing they were promises for me. I spent time memorizing and reciting the word, but I had to believe it had power for ME. If you don’t believe that to your gut, you might end up walking around with a lot of memory, but no power or faith. You might as well be reciting “Will the owner of a ‘95 Buick LeSabre please report to the parking lot? Your car is about to be towed.”
In your life, where are you needing a healing? Where have you doubted God working in your life because you haven’t seen the blessing instantaneously? Where do you need to be more consistent in seeking your healing?
In the comments below, feel free to process those questions or ask some new ones.