Next month I will have owned my home for 3 years. It was built in 1900 and had a small price tag because it was vacant and needed work. Three years ago after signing the closing paperwork, I enthusiastically jumped on fixing her up. Setting aside my days to commit fully to the labor it would take to get the property functional and beautiful, I had figured on being able to live in our house in about 1 month. Then just work on minor details as time went on. Some deep cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, laying some flooring and fixing some minor electrical issues would do the job. HA! Reality check—though the HGTV shows may only last an hour of your time, it’s best to plan on any renovation project lasting a significant amount more, especially when it’s DIY on a limited budget! I had no idea that 8 months into it we would have still been living in the barn loft, running to the house to use the toilet (and yes- many times we were running!), driving to mom’s house for a shower, and wiping drywall dust off of every dish we use. Though we still have so much ahead, I must say we have accomplished a great amount. The problem is that a large part of what has been worked on will never be seen, and much of it had the potential of being done much quicker and simpler than how it actually played out.
A large part of the completed work was demolition. Little did I know how much of the house that I fell in love with would have to be destroyed prior to it becoming what I had desired. And at every turn there were things that we discovered needed to be done first in order to accomplish the next task. I must say there have been many disappointments during these past 3 years.
I purchased this fixer-upper knowing well that she would need lots of love. It was clear that she had been beaten up in her many years of serving, protecting and providing for the dear people that depended on her. She had seen so much over the years… good and bad, and it made her who she was. As she stood there alone and abandoned looking nearly hopeless, I found her somewhat charming and knew she was precious. Full of potential. So many had passed by barely noticing her pain, choosing to throw stones, or simply walking away deciding she wasn’t even worth the time or effort. Her broken frame, damaged interior and weakened foundation were all signs of a desperate failure. Yet, she was stronger than what she appeared.
I’ve realized how much I can relate this whole renovation process to what God does in and through me. What may seem like problems or failures He views as opportunities. With a house over 100 years old, there have been many layers of things hidden and buried that have to either be destroyed, carefully revealed or completely rebuilt in order for the true beauty and purpose to be achieved. God does that with us. Time, people and events in our lives cause layers of hurts, layers of secrets, and layers of scars. But as we surrender and allow Him to break down, reveal and refine the deep parts of our foundation we become the beautiful work of art that He created us to be. Even through the mess He finds us charming and knows our potential.
It may seem like such a daunting task, but it’s well worth taking that step! Be courageous and allow Him into the home of your heart. That fragile, deep place that has been beaten up by life. Opening up and trusting Jesus to do the renovation work is the best decision you will ever make. Just like any house that becomes a home, we ourselves will always be a work in progress. But He is faithful and will finish the work He has started!