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.
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)
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