Several months ago, we moved into a new home.
The new home is definitely an upgrade from the two-bedroom, one bath, 800-square foot abode that we owned and resided for 8 years prior.
The new neighborhood is much quieter and safer, too.
But if I’m being honest. The new house is a bit of a fixer-upper, too. And it is not the kind of fixer-upper you’re going to see transformed in a 20-minute segment like that on Joanna and Chip’s HGTV hit show, Fixer Upper.
It’s the kind of house that you know is a bit of a fixer upper when you buy it, but vow to turn it into something beautiful later on. Much later on. Not in, like, two weeks. We’re talking over the course of two years (at least). Because let’s face it, renovations cost money and, like the old saying goes: Money doesn’t grow on trees.
To commence our renovation journey (remember, we’re in it for the long haul), I did several inexpensive DIY projects myself.
I stripped off the dingy, dirty carpet on the stairs. I pried out thousands of tiny, blood-thirsty carpet nails over the course of 8 months.
I sanded the stairs lightly, and then patched a number of holes and gaps with a white putty substance that dries and is paintable in minutes. Lastly, I slathered the stairs with three coats of white paint.
The tile floor was grungy, but in good shape. So I spent a number of days pouring caustic cleaner on it and letting it sit. When it started to bubble and fizz, I knew the dirt was loosening, and I’d scrub the grout lines and wipe away the grime.
I tell ya, those fumes nearly killed me, but I got on my hands and knees and scrubbed, scrubbed, scrubbed until the grout lines started to reveal their original hue.
In the kitchen, I painted the ceiling and walls, as well as put a fresh coat of paint on the surface of the cabinets. Endured more cleaning. And I installed a faux backsplash. (Please try not to judge me for my sink full of dirty dishes.)
In my haste to see the transformation come quickly, I ripped up the laminate wood floors in the dining room, hoping to find original hardwood floors underneath.
To my dismay, what appeared were run-of-the-mill subfloors. I had already discarded the laminate floor slabs, and so we are currently making do with our subfloors.
We’ll eventually purchase new hardwood floors and we plan to invest in a new dining table, but because moving is costly we are trying to be wise with our expenditures, not moving too hastily to buy a new ‘this’ and a new ‘that.’
As I’m making improvements around my new house, I can’t help but wonder if God sees me the same way — that I’m a little bit of a fixer upper, too, that needs some tender-loving care.
In fact, I really don’t need to wonder. Because I’m pretty certain He does. Psalm 139: 13 says that God “created my inmost being” and that He “knit me together in my mother’s womb.”
Yes, my sisters, he is restoring me and making me whole once more. That which sin made dirty and unrecognizable from its original conception, He is making clean again.
I was 19 years old when God called me into this life called discipleship.
And since then, through character-building life events, He has chipped away at the faulty exterior and built in me a new way of thinking and patterns of righteous behavior.
With His skilled hand in my life, the good Lord continues to make me over, transforming my proverbial interior and exterior construction into, one glorious day, a sight to behold.
And just like my own home renovation project, this fixer upper called Emily, is still a work in progress.
How is the Lord still working on you?
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 NIV
Lord almighty, you are a righteous God who sees me in all of my mess and, yet, extends your hand to me with loving grace. I praise you for first creating me, and then making me whole and clean again through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior. May I always answer your call to be made new from the inside-out, all the days of my life. Amen.