Remodeling–the sounds of hammering, sawing, and the sight of torn out drywall, a discolored sub-floor, exposed pipes, and a spaghetti of wiring–thrill my heart. Do you doubt it? It’s true. My husband and I have remodeled homes for over eighteen years and shivers of excitement fill my heart every time. I find it so satisfying to envision, design, and witness the entwining of ideas into a useful reality.
This week, we are leaping into a new task. Our main floor bathroom is getting a forty-year much overdue overhaul. It’s pretty exciting to watch the process unfold. An even greater joy, however, comes from watching my husband and son work to tackle the project together. My husband instructs and our son follows. He rips out and our son discards the old. My husband corrects issues and our son adds to his learning.
As I look into that torn up room, I wonder how thrilling it is for God to transform us and make us new. We may feel alarmed by the gutting and the shredding but He sees the pruning away of all that is rotting and useless. We may feel the shards that drive in and pierce our hearts, but He’s nurturing us in compassion, empathy, and love for others. We may feel the crushing weight of His hands, pushing and pulling, all while God shapes us into a more useful dwelling place for His glory. I’m very glad that we’re loved that much, and that God isn’t content to stand by and allow us to stay the same. I too often get comfortable rolling around in my ugly sin and content with my limitations.
I suppose, just like any overhaul in life, messiness is a precursor to any beautification process. I’m not sure how long our project will take this time, but if history acts as a good gauge, it may last one month or three. I am dancing with gratefulness that it’s started. Very soon, this whole demolition will fade to a mere memory, it will be behind us, and then we’ll all be enjoying it. We will be left with something beautified and much more useful. The next bathroom project is waiting in line though. It’s waiting around the corner, up a flight of stairs, and down our hall.
In a similar pattern of past undertakings–I can’t help but realize that I’m getting a sneak peek into something divine. God is at constant work in our lives too. Over the last few years, I’ve felt the prying away of sin. I’ve felt the cutting away of unfruitful habits and the gritty sanding away of the rough splintery places. I was content but God wasn’t. I once thought that what I was living with was just fine–even tolerable. God, however, saw what was lurking below the surface in my marriage and in me. In all honesty, He exposed more than I wanted to see. I didn’t want to view the dark ugliness. I’d been living in a hidden mess for well over two years and instead of keeping His distance–God has placed His loving hands all over my heart, mind, and spirit. He’s chiseled at our marital foundation, filled in the cracks, and continues to make the necessary repairs. God also reminds me, yet again, that hoping in the Lord and His work–does renew our strength. We are now entering the rebuilding phase on a stronger foundation, and wow–it feels so good.
I believe beauty and renewal are not far off for any of us. A masterpiece can arrive in God’s perfect time–if we give Him welcome access to our lives and hearts. His faithful attention, diligence, and creativity will re-create us like we’ve never dreamed possible. Sometimes, it’s difficult to think about such things when we are on the brink of marital or personal destruction though. As a neighboring demolition site, I want to remind you that God won’t quit working before His mission is complete–He loves you too much. It’s about time to let Him have at it–don’t ya think?