Our house is in a state of becoming. For 3.5 years now—from the moment we got the keys to signify our ownership—we’ve been busy renovating. It’s a slow process for several reasons, but lacking vision isn’t one of them. In my head I can see what it will be, but in reality, our punch list feels a mile long.
With each to-do we cross off, five more seem to crop up in its place. Constructing new built-ins around our fridge made us realize that its floor to ceiling design made the existing upper kitchen cabinets look wimpy. We were going to reuse them up until that point, but plans changed. Now we will build them to the ceiling for visual balance. Since we operate on a tight budget, we’ll build and finish our own cabinetry. We can do it. It just adds to the timeline. This change also means that the remainder of the cabinet doors will also need replaced, so everything will match. One thing crossed off, more things added.
After deciding to do remote schooling this year, I quickly realized that writing work was going to take a back-burner to the task at hand. So, I suggested to my husband that we do a little drywall repair on a basement wall so I could knock out some painting during the day. It would be a quick project for once, I said! Only, as we prepared, we also took down the exterior siding covering the main wall. Removing the panels showcased Sheetrock (yay!) but then, like magic, we uncovered hidden trouble. One thing crossed off, more things added.
It’s a good thing my husband and I enjoy construction and home design or we might have thrown in the hammer by now. That’s not to say we don’t grow weary, but so far, when one of us is ready to give up, the other keeps on task, encouraging both of us to continue. We make a good team and remind each other that “someday,” we’ll be done. And one of these days, someday will be a real day.
With all the forward thinking and dreaming, every so often we look back, too, and realize just how much we’ve accomplished. We’ve made and installed hardwood floors in our main level. We’ve painted, refreshed and constructed in four bedrooms. We’ve designed and constructed built-in cabinets in our living room. We’ve built a new stair rail and refreshed the stair treads. We’ve renovated the dining room and added wallpaper for a little drama. We’ve re-arranged the kitchen layout, built a new island, poured our own island countertops. We’ve updated the exterior, too.
We’ve accomplished a lot, even if we have a ways to go. It’s good to remind ourselves of that, occasionally, for encouragement to keep moving toward our goal.
This looking-back-to-look-forward strategy benefits other areas of my life as well. For instance, my home’s process of becoming reminds me of my own becoming–my heart and life sanctification in Jesus Christ. If you’ve read my column for an extended period, you might recall my personal history: abandoned by my biological father when I was a toddler, adopted as a young child by my forever Dad, death of my brother when I was 15, severe bullying in high school, medical trials of our firstborn, the loss of two babies to miscarriage, the loss of a church, the loss of friends, the loss of relationships. I have been scourged and while it’s been painful, I can see the good.
Like the work on our home, God has used these things (and more) to do a changing—a sanctifying—work in me. He’s renovating my heart and my life. He has uncovered foundation trouble. He has brought me face-to-face with my pride and has brought me low to my knees. He has wounded me in order to heal me. He is changing me, bit by precious bit. I’m not the same as I once was. Where I used to be quick to cast blame on His shoulders, questioning and accusing Him of recklessness and despairing of His sovereignty, I am now able to take comfort in His promised presence, knowing that this whole thing is a process and I don’t see everything clearly. This is something I’ve been able to cling to during the upheaval of 2020, for instance. It hasn’t shaken me the way it once would have. I can’t take credit for this, I can only encourage you, dear reader, to repent and believe (if you haven’t already) for the kingdom of God is at hand, and then hold tight to His promises that find their “Yes” and “Amen” in Christ:
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.” (1 Cor 13:12)
“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.” (2 Cor 3:18)
“Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2)
“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil 1:6)
Perhaps our becoming has a punch list a mile long. We can read in scripture and see how things *should* be–how we *should* be. But we’re becoming. We’re not there. BUT GOD. He knows how to do the work. He’s faithful. He’ll finish the work He started. So, as believers, we can take heart, trusting in Him, right in the midst of our becoming.
Malinda Just has been writing Lipstick & Pearls for the Free Press since 2008. To read more of her writing, visit her blog, www.malindajust.com, or find her on social media @MalindaDJust.