Anyone who's had a kitchen or bath re-modeled knows what a hassle it is because those are key areas constantly in use by every member of the household. But when it is done - wow! You just sit back and grin - and then you spend the next few weeks being surprised since you have such a lingering memory of 'how it was.' Once 'blecch!' now 'blessed!'
Renovation or restoration is easier than full remodeling and for us on poorer budgets, it is a wiser choice. Still the pleasure is there -the gift of seeing something new every day. Where once there was disappointment, or annoyance or shame, there is a something functional, pleasing, even something perhaps to be proud of. "It looks SO much better!" "Hey - I like the new floor!" "Wow - that makes the room so much brighter!"
In this home, we've had several things done in the past two weeks -and more to come.
1) New flooring - beautiful tile - for our famly room/office
2) New window for the kitchen
3) New storm door for our lower entrance
4) New antenna hookup to our TV
5) New lanterns for the two back exits (wow - those old lanterns were pathetic!)
6) New wall tile in the upstairs bathroom
7) New countertop in the kitchen with a new sink as well!
8) New utility top next to downstairs fridge (installed by moi)
-and we are NOT finished. We have a vanity and top for the upstairs bathroom that is waiting to be installed after new floor tile is installed.
This NOT the house I moved into 9 years ago; it is far better.
Now these are all material blessings, and if you knew the history of this home, you would rejoice with us. I realized as I was changing yet another light switch and installing the rear lanterns mentioned above that this home has been neglected for nearly 15 years.
Personally, I have chaffed at the bit to 'move on' and be more mission-minded for God. I set out from my home 9 years ago with this goal in mind. I was single, had a manageable debt and a calling to serve the Lord.
Little did I know he would "re-home" me, restoring all that I had lost when my mother died two decades ago. Little did I realize He trusted me to to be an agent of change not only here but in the local jail. My story is NOT so different from the men who are incarcerated. While I have never broken the law severely enough to be arrested, I understand loss, alienation and an inability to trust even your closest friends. Obedience to God and trusting in His timing has produced gentler circumstances in my life. I have come to realize that I may even be a conflict junkie, looking for a place to stir up trouble when God really just wants to restore what has been lost or renovate what has been damaged. He told me to take care of my landlady and write and as far as I can tell, I am obeying my calling.
Its a LOT easier to talk about the downtrodden and disenfranchised than living with them and making life better for them. They are not only in foreign lands -they are here in our suburbs.
I want to be clear here: there is no way I am 'poor' in any sense of the word. I am, in fact, spoiled rotten. But I know Who is doing the spoiling and am grateful enough to thank Him constantly.
Perhaps that is where the true renovation begins -and began for me. I knew I did not need any of the things in this world to make me happy. I was happy, even in my debt and unemployment because I knew God was watching over me. Years later, I see this fruit, this promise given to those crazy enough to radically follow Christ:
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first."
You know, if you DO decide to follow Jesus, you will have to do some things that only make sense to Him and to you. In the end though, you will sit back and laugh and say "Yes, Lord, Your promise has come true."
I am in a much better home now than I was then. And frankly, folks, that was Jesus' plan all along. We just have to trust Him.
May you be blessed this holiday season by the King as you obey His commands.