Thursday, February 7, 2013

Gutting the House

Have you ever seen "Property Brothers" on HGTV? Two twin brothers (a realtor, Drew, and a contractor, Jonathan) help their clients buy an old house and turn it into a dream home on a budget. I like it because it's a makeover show. They just use tools and paint instead of clothes and lipstick.

Rotten subfloor. Demolition condition.
(HGTV - Property Brothers: High End Home/Rob & Jessica)
With each old home they remodel, a few major "issues" get uncovered during the process. On one episode, a master bathroom was torn out and looked like a complete mess. The toilet was hauled out; the shower stall was knocked down. As usual, the house, which was an extraordinary investment of money, looked like it was worse off than when they began their work.  In fact, a serious problem had even been uncovered that could threaten the very structure of the house.

Jonathan said: "It's true that it's darkest before the dawn because in a demolition, we make these rooms look really bad before we build them up to be beautiful."

When he said that, it helped me to gain perspective on some of the extra "demolition" God has been doing in my life lately. Over the past six weeks, I've been reeling from a series of crises that happened over the holidays. The end result was a major setback for my family, as well as my health and quality of life. My sleep schedule was torn up. My mom was ill, and my grandma was in worse condition than ever. I received some bad news, even though I'd prayed and tried to do everything right. I was powerless to stop any of these things from happening.

Tense, frustrated, and feeling like I needed to get off this roller coaster ride, I did what I instinctively do when I feel upset with God. I pulled back. I justified it by the fact I wasn't awake for my morning devotions anymore. But this didn't address the underlying reason that I pulled back because I did not like what I was feeling or experiencing. God wanted me to trust him, but he was asking me to trust him when everything was going wrong - still - after years and years of injustice and problems and many urgent prayers pleading for Him to change things. I pulled back, even though I knew it was wrong and dangerous because I've been down this road before. I confess I've let my feelings lead me instead of my faith.

Plagued by an excess of bad dreams, doubts, questions, and ups and downs in my health during this time, I have continued to struggle. So it's fitting that this TV show reminded me that there is more to God's plan than just the gutting of my life. It's for a purpose. There are reasons I don't understand. There are also problems to repair that can only be uncovered by decimating the excuses I use like fig leaves. There are rotten areas of sin that need to be ripped out and replaced so they don't spread and fester beneath a socially acceptable facade.

And yet there is even more to anticipate. When the renovation is complete, when God has had his way, when I trust him to pick the right accessories and frame the new features, the big reveal will show the miraculous result of what he has done painstakingly in me through years of trial. Pain is part of the demolition process, and God knows that though our previous way of life looked serviceable enough from the outside, there is so much to fix. Only he can see what is underneath the floor. Only he can visualize the finished project. Right now, I am in the room stripped bare, with insulation hanging out in tufts. The floor is rotten with holes. I am in repair mode, under construction.

Before is tolerable, unstable, and limited.  After is beautiful, stable, and useful.
(HGTV - Property Brothers: High End Home/Rob & Jessica)
But I must trust the contractor (which is what I want to yell at the TV every time I watch shows like these). And this reminder is what I need now to help me keep going.

If you are in a state of demolition with God, do you trust him to finish the job? Will you stick with him though the pain feels unbearable and you look around to see only ugliness and senseless suffering? Remember that Jesus is our master carpenter. When we invite him into our hearts as Lord, he starts a home improvement project and will spare nothing to make it perfect. We become his dwelling on earth when we believe Jesus died for our sins. His Spirit lives in us, so be strong and courageous. The process is painful and confusing, but he's working to stabilize, improve, and beautify your soul as you await your eternal home.

"He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Philippians 1:6


Laura Pellechia said...

I have just discovered your blog. (I am starting from the beginning to get your whole story.) Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I have NCS, and I just stumbled on your site today. You are a gift from God, at the perfect time! Bless you!

Qavah said...

Thanks for reading, Laura!