peeled back


Friends, I pulled up so much old flooring this weekend that I can hardly see straight. There was the faux wood that the most recent owners had put down (which, hi. Why would you put down fake wood next to real, beautiful original wood? You’re not going to fool anyone.), below that was a layer of vinyl tiles of the black and white checkerboard variety, then came a semi-ancient linoleum floor, followed by the original linoleum floor (which was so fancy and new-fangled for our house’s era, 77 years ago). Each remodel had simply stacked upon the last, no one bothering to wipe the slate clear and start fresh.

Because the layers were so deep, we cut rows with the skill saw then with much effort and several crow bars, we ripped it off, all the way down to the sub-flooring. Then, when the pile of discarded floors got too large, we stopped and hauled it to the dumpster.

This peeling back, this undoing time, starting fresh concept is not lost on me.

Through our recent financial faithfulness adventure, this weight loss journey, and what was that other change? O yes, becoming a mother, I feel like the calloused, sinful layers I had built up around myself are being peeled back layer after selfish, prideful, impatient layer.

(And I thought that old linoleum was ugly.)

My health and weight loss efforts have brought to light my ‘need’ for comfort through food, my belief that I deserve to eat whatever I want (see also: overwhelmed mom), and my lack of concern for the body God has given me. Our crack-down budget and new-found fiscal responsibility (Total Money Makeover fist bump) has made it apparent, O so apparent that I have very little self control over my consumerist tendencies. And now that I feel that my postpartum anxiety and depression have been consistently in check for a while (glory to God!) I am needing to be honest about my character and behavior toward my children.

It’s like God can’t leave me alone, y’all. He just keeps after me, keeps trying to remodel my heart, and it’s hard. It has been especially hard lately, with so many vices and sinful tendencies coming to the surface at.the.same.time. I have honestly prayed and asked if I could keep one or two for now. You know, just put some new flooring over the anger issues and we can address those during some other remodel?

No? Can I keep the laziness, then?


Obviously just peeling back and seeing what’s under there is not the same as the actual work of removing the layer. Be it flooring or sin, it takes a lot more back breaking effort and a longer timeline than simply the first identifying glance. So here I am, being peeled back where scabs had grown and where I had gotten comfortable without even noticing it.

I know this work is long and hard, but I also know that the result is beautiful.

23 Responses to “peeled back”

  1. Dawn S

    Wonderfully said! The peeling back is painful, and it feels the reno may never end for me, but God is making progress, chip by tiny chip.

  2. Caitlin MidAtlantic

    Wow, I’m really impressed with this analogy. I hope your remodel reveals the “You” you most hope to see. The remodel is never quite finished, so enjoy your journey!

  3. Sarah

    Very impressive analogy. it really resonates with me. I might just cry over this.. and do some blogging of my own. (Dust the cowebs off that darn thing..)

  4. Kim

    I, too, am impressed with the analogy. These posts make me stop and take stock, that’s a wonderful thing. Well said.

  5. Mo

    It warms my heart to read posts like this. For you to see the love that God has for you in everything you do, is just beautiful. And truly awesome!
    I too have been struggling with peeling back old ugly layers. Layers that prevent me from being the wife and mother I know I can be. This post is truly inspiring! Thank you for the reminder, that I am not alone!

  6. Elizabeth

    I know what you mean about feeling like you deserve food as a reward for being a stressed out mom. It’s so hard not to think like that; I struggle with that too! Post any ideas you have to combat that mentality!

  7. Sarah

    “which, hi. Why would you put down fake wood next to real, beautiful original wood? You’re not going to fool anyone.”

    Umm…probably because not everyone can afford hard wood flooring throughout their house, and may not want carpet or tiles for personal reasons? For a post about “God” that sure was judgmental and self-righteous.

    • AllisonO

      Woooo, girl. I’m wholly afraid to respond to this. I guess I’ll just say that we’re all entitled to our own opinions, my opinion of low-quality finishing choices in my house and yours of… well, of my opinion, I guess.

      • Sarah

        Don’t get me wrong – I don’t personally care for faux-wood flooring, either. However, to disparage it in this manner just smacks of living a relatively pampered lifestyle with little appreciation for the financial hardships others face. Hard wood flooring is expensive…it’s lovely that you can afford it, if you can, but many people cannot and make do with other options. No need for snide commentary about money-saving home decor.

    • Tricia

      I think somebody missed the point of this beautiful post.

      Allison, I couldn’t agree with you more in this awesome analogy of how God continue to peel back our layers to expose more and more that we have to work on in order to become more like Him. Thanks for being honest about what you’re learning in your walk – you have encouraged me because I struggle with some of these same issues! Hugs, sister friend!

  8. HopefulLeigh

    Allison, I so relate to wanting God to delay on some of my heart remodeling. I know it’s for my own good in the long run but geez. Wouldn’t it be nice to skip the painful parts and move on to hindsight?

  9. Jennifer

    thanks you so much for this post! I felt like you were speaking my language. lots to think about!

  10. Jenny

    OAllison, How I hear those written words you wrote deep in my soul and stomach! You and I used to weigh the same weight before you started Medifast – super proud of you girl! Reading your progress convicts me so much but I keep saying to myself “Not yet Lord, I need to be okay with being a new mom first. I need to get my house clean first. I need to get my work done first….blah blah blah” and He says “What about trusting me? What about listening to me? I’m here. Are we going to talk?” Ugh. I’ve been so disobedient and lost and yet He stays steadfast.

    I’ve been reading (and this girl doesn’t read) Susie Larson’s book “Balance That Works, When Life Doesn’t”. It’s been richness to my heart and soul. God’s truths so strong and clear. She talks about Physical Heatlh in the first half – in a real way. And Spiritual Health in the second half. I recommend it. It’s given me so much hope – because she digs right into scripture and relates it to real life struggles.

    Thinking and Praying for you!

    Friend that I haven’t met yet,

  11. Crystal

    Allison this was a beautiful post you put your feelings out there and it’s disappointing when you do receive criticism for minor comments. From what I’ve read you and your family work hard and appreciate the things you have.

    You always seem to be such a patient Mum, don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t live up to your own expectations. The reality is kids can be tough and I think you are doing the best you can do and thank you for sharing your journey with us. I know I would never be that brave to put it all out there.

  12. abby

    Great post. I think we can each look at ourselves and see that we’ve got layers that need to be pulled back…

  13. Amanda

    Beautiful. You are, and your words. And your home. :) I love this analogy, and wholeheartedly relate. Wifehood, motherhood, friendships, health – God uses so many things to show us our need for Him, and the depth of His love and grace toward us. It’s hard to peel back the layers and see the grime, but it’s o-so-worth-it to replace it with beauty in Christ! He has made you to be a wonderful encourager, friend, wife, and mom, and you will continue to grow into those roles and new ones as you walk with Him. Thanks for being you. :)

  14. robyn

    Ok, I know this is beside the point, but, there may have been so many layers of flooring because previous owners were afraid to pull up the lower-most flooring for fear of encountering asbestos. You know the advice–put down new flooring on top of the old flooring, instead of disturbing any asbestos that may be under there. Hence, all those many, many layers.

    Now, on to the point: I have been encountering a peeling-back of sorts of my own lately. Actually, the peeling-back has just begun, after the haze of the first 1.5 years of being a mother. I’m realizing how I’ve been slack when it comes to organizing my days, using the time I’ve been given, etc. Now it’s time to get myself in order. It’s not easy or fun, but I HAVE to do it. Otherwise, I will keep complaining of feeling tired, out-of-sorts, disorganized, etc. The other part of the lesson is that I can’t make any of these changes on my own strength because I will surely feel discouraged and fail. Bottom line, I have to learn to truly rely on God and recognize when He’s leading me to do something or go somewhere.

  15. Stephanie

    I could weep. Thank you for blessing us with your words. Reading this entry makes me feel so much less alone and more human, knowing I’m not the only one who sometimes can feel so down-trodden and disappointed in myself. Seeing how you’ve let God work in your life gives me hope and reminds me to stop trying to control, and to take all my problems to Him. Thank you.

  16. Sarah

    Once again, I love reading your blog…..it puts my thoughts into such perfect words. Good luck with both remodels – they are so worth the effort!

  17. Melissa

    Love this! You and your family are beautiful examples of integrity in stewardship and faithfulness to God. Thank you so much for writing!


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