This has been an “interesting” summer. At one point we had no curtains or blinds on any of the upstairs windows (ground level), so we had to think before changing our clothes so we didn’t give the neighbors a show. (Luckily the bathroom windows were covered) You see, our house is undergoing some renovations and improvements.
Since my husband is a pastor, we live in a parsonage owned by the church. It’s very convenient since it’s located right across the street from the church and it has been very comfortable for us since we moved in two years ago, but it was due for some changes. At the beginning of the summer it all sounded so exciting: new windows and doors, new exterior siding and better insulation, improvements in the main bathroom, a new bay window in front, a new slider and deck on the back. Some people warned us about the mess but we assured them that “it wouldn’t be so bad”. We planned to take all of our vacation this summer and camp a lot so we could be out of the house and out of the way while the contractors worked.
I don’t think we realized fully just how much remodeling would “mess up” our life this summer. Before we went on our first week of vacation to Michigan I packed away many of our knick-knacks and took pictures off the walls so they wouldn’t get dusty or damaged in all of the work. I felt sad! It felt like we were getting ready to move, even though we’re very happy here and have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon.
Well, off to Michigan we went for a week. Upon our return we found church elders pulling the old siding off the house! All of us helped a little bit and then we headed off to go camping. We came home for the weekend while lots of work was going on and realized just how hard it would have been to stay living in the house all summer. It’s hard to sit down and relax when men are busily working all over the place. Come to find out, I spend lots of my time in the kitchen and laundry room (especially after a week of camping) and I felt like I was always in the way as workers went in and out. “You’re fine” they assured me time after time as I jumped out of the way and begged, “Excuse me”.
A fine layer of dust soon covered everything, woodwork in various stages of staining and varnishing began to appear, bare windows exposed us to the world.
On our next return from camping more changes were revealed. The new windows were in, the bay window looked great, a sliding door opened up our dining room to the world. (But watch that first step! It’s a doozy until they get the deck put on later this month)
As usual, my brain started to make comparisons between what was going on in our home and what often goes on in our hearts. I started thinking about how our heart is Christ’s home and I think He likes to do home improvement projects, too. We might agree with the changes He wants to make, we may even look forward to them with great anticipation. “You’re going to make me more kind, God? That’s great! I can’t wait to see what you do.”
But once the work begins we often get a little testy and impatient with God. “Wait a minute, God. I like the idea of being more kind, but I didn’t know you were going to do that by sending someone into my life that’s so hard to treat kindly!”
Maybe some of us are happy with our life as it is and aren’t interested in changing a thing, but then God knocks down a few walls and starts doing some major remodeling. Ouch! That can be hard to accept.
With our parsonage home improvements this summer I’ve been encouraged in many ways as we live with the mess and uncertainty of a remodeling project. There’s that sense of joy when I see parts of the project finished. The gleam of the new bathroom sink and faucet, the decorative woodwork around the bay window, the smile on the faces of volunteers from church as they have helped with staining and varnishing and various other parts of the project.
I want to be more willing to let God work in my heart and life – no matter how much mess and uncertainty there might be for a while. I can be encouraged by things He points out that show that my “projects” are being completed, little by little. God has many “remodeling projects” planned for me, I’m sure. The list He has for me is much different from the one He has for you, but we can both be sure that the finished “home” will be completely awesome.
We are so grateful to the church we serve, Chandler Reformed Church, for taking on this project and making these improvements so we can enjoy them. We can live with the inconvenience and mess because we know it will someday be finished and beautiful.
May we all have the same attitude as we accept the “home improvements” that God wants to do in our lives. We can live with the inconvenience and mess because we know it will someday be finished and beautiful!
“Unless the LORD builds the house, its builders labor in vain.” Psalm 127:1a
© Robyn Mulder 2006, therobynsnest.org