Last week, my husband Jeff and I tackled our first significant do-it-yourself home improvement project. We have a large deck overlooking a beautiful, neatly manicured horse farm. Though not our property, we thoroughly enjoy the view. It was past time, however, to do some serious replacement work on the old wooden structure attached to our home.
I’ll never forget the first time we spotted the faded “for sale” sign leaning over in the yard of the ranch style, brick home during a Sunday afternoon drive. The house was vacant, so we explored the property. As we walked across the deck on that beautiful spring day, we fell in love with the panorama: green, neatly fenced pasture graced with a plentiful range of majestic, strong, and beautiful horses – their tails swishing peacefully in the breeze.
We learned later that the house had been remodeled and then sat empty for three years. We were overwhelmed when God miraculously made a way for us to have it. We’ve always been grateful for our home and believed He saved it just for us.
But after nine years of wear and tear, that incredible deck just didn’t have the same luster. Deep cracks, buckles, and a few jagged holes made it a lot less enjoyable – and a little frightening in certain spots.
We put it off for far too long. We knew it was going to be a big job. And we were inexperienced. Neither of us had built or rebuilt a deck. But we all know it’s costly to hire a professional. Then, there was the other thing. … We had never worked together on such a significant home improvement project. Would we get along? Could we actually do it?
Can’t be too hard, right? The old boards are screwed in. Just match the drill bit to the screw heads and reverse them right out of there.
It didn’t work that way. The great majority of the screws were buried in the wood, stripped, rusted, or broken. So, that meant the two of us had to use crowbars and a whole lot of teamwork and backbreaking grit to get it done. Once we had the boards removed, then we had screws left sticking up in the old wood, some broken, some not. In order to remove those, we used what I affectionately named the “man-handler” – a five-foot-long, steel, 18-pound crowbar. Maybe I should have named it the backbreaker. But, it’s important to stay positive in these kinds of situations.
In the midst of all this hard work, I was reminded of God … and me. When He received me into His kingdom as His beloved daughter, I was also a construction project of sorts. My life (and I) had become a dilapidated, seemingly unrepairable mess.
Like that old deck, more was required than simply building from scratch. In my situation, and maybe yours, a great deal of “undoing” was necessary. And it’s just not easy, or fast.
But our Heavenly Father is not only the master builder; He is the wisest expert in the art of demolition. Demolition isn’t usually considered an art. For most of us doing home improvement projects, it’s a chance to be reckless and enjoy it.
But in the case of our deck and in the case of people, it must be done carefully – and patiently. God is patient with us, and so should we be with others.
As we removed several boards at a time, we laid down new boards in place of the old. On some days, it was hard to believe we had worked for hours and seemingly accomplished so little. Sound familiar?
But every day, we got up and started again. And God granted us grace with cool weather, clouds, sun, heat, and even some rain.
Some of us have more undoing than others. God’s grace is sufficient for each of us. If you and I have less undoing than others we know, surely we can let our storehouses overflow with mercy and grace for them – and with patience, building each other up in the faith.