What renovating houses teaches me about God renovating me.

I know, I know… I usually blog on a Saturday. And occasionally if things get really delayed, on a Sunday… And I know, I know… Today is *cough* Monday.

It’s been a pretty (and by pretty, I mean super) crazy-busy weekend. Super-crazy-busy-fun, but it has definitely not allowed any blogging time.

SORRY!! (I really mean it ;))

Just to shatter any illusions that people may have had about me slaving away on my dissertation all weekend… I can’t even plead that excuse. I can only plead hanging out with friends, going to church, helping with some share house renovations, and eating cake.

Yeah… They’re pretty rubbish excuses when all is said and done.

But as I was painting the walls of this pretty old house with silicon yesterday, getting ready to put a first layer of colour on top, and contemplating how it would probably take three coats instead of two to give a good finish…

I started to think about God renovating me.

So, un-profoundly (but I’m okay with that), here are four reasons that I love renovating houses with tentative spiritual points pulled out of them in order to make your Monday a little brighter… 😉

1) I love renovating houses, and furniture, and *stuff* because I’m a creative person. Being bare foot, covered in paint specks, with chipped nails and my hair stuffed into a bandana, genuinely is a space that I find joy.

But that reminds me that creativity is only in my DNA because it is in my Heavenly Father’s. He who was first of all Creator. And who is still displaying that radiant creativity from the very core of His heart and His nature in every redeeming and beautifying action that He so miraculously pours out over us. Loving us in our sinful messiness until we become the very pictures of His mercy. Drawing us from our disorder and desire for all the wrong things with the paint-strokes of His kindness and grace.

Because He makes all things new.

He is making all things new.

2) I love that the detail of preparation makes for a great finish. Even if it takes three coats.

When I bought my first house I didn’t really get the detail of preparation. I wanted to paint everything without sanding it first. I didn’t appreciate the good-to-great finish you get when you rough up your base coat before you gloss. I didn’t understand that a silicon base wasn’t enough to cover a dodgy plastering job.

But now. I’m 29. And I really and truly get it.

My Dad was totally right when he taught me that there are some things you just can’t cut corners on. Without them reemerging to ruin your finish later.

And in the same way my Heavenly Father has been teaching me a lot about the journey and the detail of preparation. That He undoes me so that in His mercy He can rebuild me without the cracks of unforgiveness showing through. That He sands me down so that I take the paint better with a finish that will endure.

The process is sometimes painful. But it is always beautiful.

3) I love that the time is worth it.

Process inevitably means time. When you want to finish things quickly, you think you don’t have the time to dwell on the detail. But you do. And the time is always worth it.

The extra time it takes to do a base coat is worth it. The extra time it takes waiting to the filler to dry properly is worth it. The extra time is takes to do an excellent job as opposed to a half-hearted job is worth it.

As with God, nothing is wasted. The season of small things isn’t a waste. It’s actually preparation. It’s process. It’s building the things that matter.

Last year when I was in America a friend of mine had a picture that she felt would represent this season of my life that I am always reminded of when I think about this. It was of a tiny puddle that became a huge lake. All of a sudden. For the longest time it just looked like a puddle. No more than a tiny amount of water. But all of a sudden rains started to fall and the picture transformed into this panoramic landscape. But the puddle-seasons of our life are where we are formed and created and made. They are a different kind of beauty and a different kind of journey.

And the time is worth it.

4) I love taking something old and rejected and seeing the beauty come out of it.

When a bought my first flat I lived in it throughout some extensive renovations. Throughout the dust and the mess and the (literal) rubble. When there were no walls and hanging wires and a distinct lack of carpets. When the bathroom had no tiles and the walls had no plaster and there was wet paint everywhere. I remember sleeping one day on the uncovered, unsanded wooden floorboards in the living room, surrounded by dust and mess with my little fan heater blasting hot air at me and my head resting on some books. I remember writing essays, surrounded by paint pots and brushes that needed washing after I’d made a deadline. It was at times literal chaos.

But I loved that little flat, with it’s glorious light and it’s huge windows and it’s open plan size.

Enough to see it’s potential, and into it’s potential.

And enough to go through the journey of renovation until it was complete.

And so this is a picture of God with us.

He’s kind of (and by kind of I mean super-extremely) a creative God. He loves our worship. He loves our songs. Not just in music but in the soundtrack of lives lived for His glory. Even in our weakness He loves us. He paints the cosmos like a big oversized picture of brilliance. He loves colour and pattern and light and space. He sings His goodness over us. All the time. When I sit at a piano I feel like I’m going home because I know He holds me close to His heart. I know He loves my simple songs. Taking something old and turning it into something new is a delight for Him. Or taking something plain and turning it into something colourful. Or taking the clay of our lives and so patiently sculpting it into something distinguishable. Or writing this whole story together so that the words flow and piece together in an imagery that can be envisioned.

So I love renovating houses. But I love that.

But I really love that Holy Spirit is renovating my heart, and that He’ll keep on with this process until the finish is perfect.

And… Enjoy some photos from some less-dust-covered-moments of the last few days… 😉





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