Thursday, March 10, 2011


The porch
 We bought our first home 16 years ago, back when the kids were two and brand new. The vacant 2-story stood tall and depressing, much like an old work boot tossed aside and forgotten. Completely void of character, the blank exterior offered very little in the way of curb appeal. In fact, the only appealing aspect was the opportunity to escape our cramped rental home and spread our wings a bit in 1,600 square feet of “potential,” as the Realtor called it.

The house was quite the disaster inside and out. The poor thing seemed too tired to even whimper for attention, but the need was clear. Regardless, we’d become proud home owners of the tall, lanky, eye-sore/fixer-upper that nobody wanted. Yes, it was a mess, but it was OUR mess.

We tried our hand at home improvement in sporadic bursts over the years; random attempts made between diaper changes and nap time, as well as a husband working his way up the career ladder. The major work happened about five years ago: a massive overhaul that took six months to complete. Once the dust cleared and they hauled away the oh-so-attractive Port-O-Potty from my front yard, we ended up with a new kitchen, dining room, family room, back patio area, and a nice face-lift all the way around. Aahhh…..finally!

The quiet relief of our finished project sort of dulled the sting of many tears and fears spent getting from point A to DONE! We set out with a goal in mind: a finished, updated home with more wiggle room for a family of four, a couple dogs and the various winged creatures that occasionally take flight from one room to the next.

If we’d purchased a home in move-in condition, there wouldn’t be any need for improvement, nor would we have the opportunity to make it ours by infusing our own personal stamp. I see myself in that rough-around-the-edges “before” picture greatly in need of God’s special touch. I’m His:  flawed and imperfect, needing a little sprucing up inside and out. The potential may be there, but there’s so much yet to be done.

Birds on a fence, er, in a fence.My paint is chipped. Not everything is in working order. Though my foundation may be intact, my floors sometimes creak and weaken beneath a heavy load. The wind howls and I may bend, but through my walk with the Lord over the years, my life has become strengthened, supported by the sturdy walls of God’s Word. Each day, the light of the Lord shines in through streaked windows sometimes casting light on a mess or two. But it’s His grace that reveals the areas still needing attention, and it’s His grace which strengthens me to fix them.

I, too am that awkward fixer-upper standing stark and plain; a blank canvas ready for the work of the Master Carpenter.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: 
The old has gone, the new is here!
(2 Corinthians 5:17)

Images provided courtesy of


  1. "I, too am that awkward fixer-upper standing stark and plain; a blank canvas ready for the work of the Master Carpenter."

    Oh, me too! Debbie, thank you for sharing this awesome reminder of His love!

  2. Your post reminds me of the old, old song "This Old House" with the words, "Ain't a Gonna Need This House No Longer."

    I look forward to the completion of God's Extreme Makeover on this ol' dwelling. But, for now, His ongoing repairs are so welcome.

    Lovely pictures and another great JoE post. God Bless.

  3. What a lovely word picture you've painted for me this morning--as who really isn't a fixer-upper!

  4. Loved the line"too tired to even wimper for attention" I know well that feeling! But we know that God knows our need, even when we cannot express it. Great analogy!

  5. Absolutely fabulous analogy, Debbie! We're JUST like that, aren't we?

  6. Beautiful encouragement for me today. Thank you.

  7. Aawww, humble thanks to all you sweet ladies for your comments. Thank you and God Bless :)

  8. Loved the imagery, Debbie...and the analogy! We were friends with the Cathedral Quartet many years ago when George Younce, their bass, would sing that song: This Old House. Like Nancy, this reminded me of that song, especially reading your last lines! Wonderful post!

  9. I am a builder's wife ans this piece really touched me where I live! I am so glad our heaven;y father isn't trough "renovating" us yet!

  10. I'm so grateful to be a broken mess in the hands of the Master Carpenter. Beautiful writing sweet friend as usual :)

  11. I enjoyed the smooth flow of this devotional. The ongoing home improvement both physically and spiritually never seems to truly be DONE...but someday...what a glorious day that will be.

  12. Thank you all so much for the sweet comments!

  13. Oh Debbie. I'm a huge fixer-upper project. I need so much work done. Thanks for this--married to a contractor, this is one I can relate to sooooo well.



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