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Why Didn't I Just Take "No" for an Answer?

It should have been an easy project—take out a bathtub unit and replace it with a shower unit. Because of Jamie’s disability, he was no longer able to step over the bathtub. Realizing that our old tub unit was almost twenty years old, we figured we got our money’s worth from it and hired a contractor to make the switch. Yes, I knew it was going to be a huge mess. Centered right in the middle of our home, I knew a project like this would spread dirt and drywall dust all over my house. I knew the contractor would disrupt our lives for days. I even knew that I’d have to find an alternative way to shower since this was our only full bathroom. For all of this, I was mentally prepared. I didn’t prepare for was the inner struggle I would have as I heard the word “no” over and over again throughout the project. Sorry to say, I responded badly. It all started when I decided that as long as we were going through the mess, I wanted to add a tile accent to the walls. Headed off to Lowes and Home Depot, I spent the day picking tile before finally deciding which I liked the best. My plan was all set before I ran it past my contractor. That’s the first time I heard “No” as he explained that I couldn’t have the tile I picked because of how my walls were shaped. I was disappointed, but I decided to be mature, take the tile back, and move on. Only as I was returning the tile, the woman checking me out started talking about the beauty of the tile I was returning. Her agreement that it was wrong that I had to return the tile opened the door for me to start feeling sorry for myself. Eventually, self-pity fueled my determination to find a tile that would work. So off to another tile store I went! Even though this store had the tile that would work on my walls, I heard “no” because the store didn’t have it in stock and couldn’t get it in the timeframe I needed. Even when I offered to pay extra for shipping, they said, “no.” Eventually, I got the gist: I couldn’t have what I wanted. So back to the car I went, this time having a full-on pout. I really wanted to tile!!! After running a few more errands, I went back to the store determined that I was going to find something in their “in stock” section that would work in my bathroom. I was on a mission, and I would not be deterred!!! That’s when I found it—-buried at the bottom of the “in-stock” section, covered by papers, was the most beautiful tile I’d ever seen. It fit my preferences and color scheme perfectly. It was even on sale for half the price of Lowe’s!!! Cha-ching!!! Obviously, this had to be God’s will!!! I was absolutely in love with this tile and could visualize it on my walls. All was well until the contractor came and started tearing my bathroom apart. That’s when we found it: Black mold in the vanity that I didn’t want to replace. Apparently, we had a leaky faucet at some point, and the pooling water ruined the wood inside the vanity. I honestly couldn’t believe it. Now I had to find a new vanity. Because our bathroom is so small, I couldn’t just go to Lowes and pick one up—I had to order a unique size and wait for it to arrive. Almost immediately, I knew what this meant: this new project would eat up my tile budget. The next day, I found out that even if I decided to stretch my budget, the tile was still going to be problematic because of my bathroom size and the shape of the walls. That day, the hits just kept coming as the contractor found more problems that needed to be solved. I’d love to say that I handled it like a godly woman filled with faith and maturity, but that would be a lie. Instead, as the contractor asked for quick decisions for our changing plans, I cried. Right there in front of the contractor. He’s lucky I only cried in public because I was angry and venting my frustration at my Dad and brother in private. I’m not proud of it, but that’s what happened. I was just so disappointed. I had a plan. I could see it. I had my heart set on it. Yet, “no” by “no,” problem by problem, my plan was fading away. I was disappointed. And angry. I felt like everyone was getting what they wanted in the remodel except me. I swear, I will never again criticize the people on HGTV who get upset when they find out that they can’t have what they want because they found structural damage in the house that ate up the budget. Walking in their shoes, I had the same response. “No” was so hard to hear—-especially after I’d worked so hard to overcome it. Of course, I eventually had to collect myself, make decisions, and finish the project. Today, the mess is cleaned up, the new tub is installed, and my walls are painted. The tile is returned. Picking bright contrasting blues, it turned out beautiful. Looking back on the week, I genuinely wish I would have acted differently. For one, I wish I wouldn’t have cried. I’ve apologized to my family for losing my temper when I was disappointed. Mostly, I wonder, “Why didn’t I just take ‘no’ for an answer the first time I heard it?”. Why did I put myself through so much stress demanding my way? Why didn’t I act more mature? Why did I get so emotional about tile? Why didn’t I just accept the answer and move on? I could blame it on hormones or just being a girl. But deep down, I have to confess that I was just plain wrong. Acting like a spoiled child, I wouldn’t listen when I was told “no.” I wanted what I wanted, and I did what I had to do to get it. It took dramatic circumstances for me to accept “no” as an answer. Looking back, I wish I would have accepted the first “no” that I heard. I wish I’d have just surrendered my desire to the wisdom of those who knew better in the beginning than wasting my physical and emotional energy chasing after what I wanted. As I thought about it this morning, I realized that this is a life lesson we all need to apply at some point in our journey—-probably more than once in this crazy year. The truth is that we all have our plans—events we thought would happen, directions our lives would take, assumptions of how things would be. When life throws a curveball at us and says, “No, not happening,” we have a choice. We can pout and throw a fit. We can cry. We can try, as I did, to push open doors that are just slammed shut. We can waste our time and energy trying to get our way… Or….. …..we can simply surrender to God’s “no”. We can accept that God knows best….that He is allowing our plans to change for a purpose….and that in the end if we agree with His plan, we will like the results. We can trust that even if it isn’t what we imagined, God’s ways are ALWAYS perfect. When we submit to Him, we find rest, peace, and the perfect plan that He had for us all along. Today, looking at my finished bathroom (well, except for the mold-free vanity that won’t be here for months), that’s what I wish I’d have done. Instead, I had to repent, ask Jamie and my Dad to forgive me, return very heavy tile, and then surrender my heart to God’s plan (which turned out to be very pretty even without tile). So that’s my story—-the lesson I learned. I hope it helps you the next time you need to take “no” for an answer. May it help you to simply surrender and trust that sometimes our ways aren’t best. When our plans are redirected, we need to go with the flow and trust that God will lead us where He wants us to go.


Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.

When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.

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