Diagnosing a Sick Heart

Termites in My Table: Diagnosing a Sick Heart

Isn’t it funny how common things make the best illustrations? I’ve been teaching our 4 year old what it means to have a pretty heart – to be pretty on the inside and the outside. You guys, I won’t hide my mama bias…my daughters are B-E-A-utiful. They have wavy blonde hair, bright blue eyes, and the cutest little smiles between their kissable cheeks. As their mama (they’re not allowed to call me “mom” 😂 I’m too young for that), I want them to grow up to have beautiful hearts that surpass their physical beauty.

Introducing: The Table

Something you may or may not know, my husband is a youth minister. As part of his compensation, we have been given the Taj Mahal of parsonages. Seriously, we have been so blessed and well-provided for by the church here. The house is on church property and was totally renovated and remodeled for us.

One thing I’ve learned about the group here – they love to swap furniture! Some things are donated to our community outreach program, some are given for specific needs, and some just want to make a change and try something new. Every now and then, I come across one of these pieces that make me want to practice my DIY renovation skills. This table was one of them:

At first glance, we could tell it was not in great shape, but it was large, had 2 leaves to make it even larger, and appeared to be made of solid wood. My heart started thinking “farmhouse table for moi!” As I started to sand away all of the deformities and surface damage, I made a discovery: it was not made of solid wood, but a wood-laminate combo. I debated scrapping the whole project, but decided to roll with it.

Out With The Old

After a thorough sanding, I repainted the metal casings on the legs and taped off the areas that would either be stained or painted. Staining was a pretty simple part of the task (although I did learn to read the instructions and set your thermostat accordingly – especially here in the Florida humidity). After it (finally) dried, I did a couple coats of polyurethane to protect it from the tiny humans that eat dinner at our table 🤭.

Next, I painted. And painted. And painted some more. I think the final count was 6 coats of paint. The laminate and I had a battle royale, even while using chalk paint; I wanted a smooth, milky finish and it thought that streaky psycho was best. Top it all off with a few layers of polyurethane and presto!

What? You didn’t read this post for the story of my DIY table? Hmmm, how strange. 😉

Uninvited Guests

Ok, fast forward about 4 weeks and my 4 year old asks “Mama, why did you put this sand under the table?” Uhhhh, what? Sure enough, there was a perfect little mount of a sand-like consistency on one of the supports. Trying to not freak out, I vacuumed (I misspell that word literally EVERY SINGLE TIME 🙈) the mound and hoped for the best. Next morning, same thing – vacuumed it up for one final test. Few hours later, it’s back. DUM DUM DUMMMMM. Get this thing out of my house, pronto!! As we picked up the base, my husband’s fingers went through the wood and there they were…TERMITES!!! Termite babies, termite teenagers, termite mamas and daddies, termite seniors….all in there livin’ life and doing their thing, and we had NO idea.

How could I do all that sanding, staining, painting and eat on it for a month and not know about the thriving metropolis inside?! That is the creepy crawliest part to me.

Diagnosing a Sick Heart

As I re-told the story of our mystery guests (I love to tell stories, especially if it gets a big reaction 🤷🏼‍♀️ but you probably could tell that), a friend mentioned how the table can be just like our hearts. On the outside, we may look renovated and farmhouse chic, but if we neglect to improve what’s on the inside, we may come to find that we are rotting and infested.


You guys, there are just so many things going on right now that are symptomatic of a sick heart. Hate, racism, prejudice, selfish ambition, lies, and so many other things are just way too common. My list reminds me of another…

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these.

Galatians 5:19-21

Other Heart Conditions

I recently had an intense heart-to-heart with one of my closest friends about the racial issues our country is facing. And when I say “intense,” I mean an emotional roller coaster. Feelings of love, frustration, sympathy, empathy, and mutual admiration flooded us both.

Not really sure how to say this…as a middle-class white woman, being a recipient of racism is not a regular reality for me. As such, it is easy to forget that it is very much a reality for some of the people that I hold most dear.

I wouldn’t think twice about my husband going for a jog…it grips her with anxiety. I teach my children to behave a certain way because that’s what we feel is appropriate, she trains her children with the added pressure of how they may be perceived due to their skin color. The more we talked, the more my eyes were open to her struggles, struggles that felt so foreign just a few hours earlier.

Home Remedies

This is one of the best visuals I have seen addressing how we can change the condition of our world. PSA, it can be used to eradicate any harmful behavior – or create positive change.

@ohhappydani How To Change the World

It all goes back to the whole “man in the mirror” mindset. If I want the rainbow of skin color to be celebrated, I need to model that in my own life…and then teach my children. If I long for more kindness, I need to be kind and teach my children how to show kindness in their lives. If respect for authority/generosity/financial peace/the value of life/(fill in the blank) is important to me, my own heart needs a check-up and then I have to instill that value into our family.


But how do you change your heart? There are parts of me that desperately need some adjusting. Thankfully, the Bible continues and gives us the answer in the next verse:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…

Galatians 5:22

By focusing on these qualities, I look less and less like myself, and more and more like God. Now, I’m not saying I can accomplish all of this in one day – and certainly not all of these characteristics at once – it is a lifelong journey, but I have to do it and I have to start somewhere.

Looking at the two lists, where do you find yourself lacking? Where do you struggle the most? What are your strengths? Have you already seen improvement?

Real conversations about delicate topics can be hard, but you don’t know what you don’t know. A part of personal growth is to admit that there is room for growth and improvement! Don’t be like my table…glammed up but rotting from the inside out.

We certainly can change the world, but it takes each of us owning our individual responsibility, and then spreading that to our families, friends, communities, and corners of influence.

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