My Renovation Project

I needed a renovation. And God’s my contractor. He’s cleaning up the mess I’ve made and rebuilding me—one area at a time.

It began with the foundation.
When you’re always sinking, eventually you reach out to find out why. Aha, no solid ground! A foundation built on truth was the start of this project. And the recognition that it was needed. The feeling of hopelessness was enough for me to ask myself some serious questions, and now, slowly over time, that foundation has begun to solidify.

Next, the walls.
I didn’t realize I had so many doubts and fears until God peeled back the wallpaper. Underneath was someone whom everyone had always referred to as “the good girl”. But I often led a life contrary to that statement. In fact, as a teen, I even stole a bible to try to fit in with a church crowd I didn’t understand and felt pressured by. It was an awkward time where I tried desperately to talk the talk and look the part – but my walls wouldn’t let me get any further than that.

Then the roof.
Layers upon layers were rotting. He stripped them away to let His healing rain fall. I have been in two serious relationships with men in my life. I dated my first boyfriend throughout high school, and ultimately over a period of 6 years. I married the other and we will celebrate our 11th anniversary this August. Both have seen their share of emotional abuse and a mess of unequal yolk. God has challenged me to see how I can change and pray, and be more accountable. He’s helped me to receive healing and forgiveness, and an ability to let go of bitterness. Though this area of my life continues to be a struggle, I am experiencing a freedom I’ve never felt before!

Siding was pretty much non-existent.
Who needs protection? It never occurred to me to ask God for it. I thought if I just believed and had faith, things would all work out in the end. For years I suffered with who I was supposed to be, wondering why I was always being attacked, and what on earth was my purpose? How could Satan continue to find me wherever I went, and try desperately to use every circumstance for his pleasure? God has equipped me as a warrior, but I still need the daily reminder to put on His armour.

The windows were a challenge.
They were full of mud and cracks. God replaced the glass for a clear view. I was blinded by “fairness”. Three years into my marriage, God used my enemy at the time—an actual person—to save me. I had become an angry citizen, barely tolerating my neighbour and making demands on all kinds of fronts because my life “just wasn’t fair”—and far from perfect. It was then—when I was completely broken and hopeless in my own trap—that the invitation was extended, and received. I went back to church—one that embraces the seeker—and have never looked back. I now see the truth of God’s promises for me, and that my actions should be those of a city dweller on a hill—not looking down on others, but only reflecting the light He shines through me.

Flooring: repair the dips and squeaks.
I spent a lot of time falling through the cracks. Looking back, they were good life lessons and humbling tools. Becoming a mom was (and still is) one of the biggest. As we started our married life together in ‘95, Jason and I were both driven to work hard and build a future. That continued for five years. I longed for a child for at least three of them, but was convinced we needed to be “further ahead”. It took a lot of arm twisting, but the collective decision was made and we were immediately blessed. The excitement was great, and the expectations on myself—even greater. I felt wonderful and happy, and boasted over the perfect pregnancy. When breastfeeding didn’t work out however, I considered myself a failure and wasted a lot of worry in the first month of true joy with my baby girl. This was one of the first of many mistakes I would make as a mom. Now I rest on the privilege of knowing that my daughter believes in—and loves—Jesus Christ. What a reward!

A thorough gutting of the attic was required.
Not only were there cobwebs, but lots of masks in the costume trunk—one for every occasion. You will recall of course, that I was toted “the good girl”: The one to keep peace; to wear a smile; the one to compromise; to lend a shoulder; to be truthful – it felt so good that I played that role for years. Not that I was a criminal—or at least not a convicted one. God shattered those masks with His tender hands to reveal the truth that it is so much work to be somebody else, and only truly fun to be yourself.

The water leaks were less of a problem.
God saw that the taps worked relatively well, but did tinker with the “off” position. I am woman, hear me roar! Not a woman I know can argue the fact that we have, at one time, felt we could take on the world. We live to work and work to live. We take on too much and wonder why we are losing our minds and memories. When the day is done, we sit to pray and often fall asleep. Then we cry over what we’ve done (or not) and how to make it better. I have spilled many tears wondering what kind of woman God wants me to be. The tear ducts have dried a bit and I’m happy to report that I thoroughly feel like a woman saved by Grace.

The interior colour scheme?
He chose rainbow. More vibrant than what I had in mind, and it certainly brightened the place up. After all, there is proof in those stripes.

Installing current safety alarms—a must.
With so many possessions, we needed house and shop alarms. Preventative measures for smoke, fire, break-ins—whatever we could think of. We’re as protective over our material possessions as we can be. God showed me that my body, mind and soul needed those same protective measures, and His Word provides that, and more. In addition, He installed a CO2 detector. When a poisonous thought enters my mind or escapes my mouth, it sounds the alarm.

The entrance was a little drafty.
Was cool air getting in my front door? Was I welcoming? Sure, I’m friendly and easy to get along with, but would I show compassion and mercy to someone off the street or in dire need? My doormat reads “welcome”, but do I really mean it? I have felt this draft way too often. In my self-serving ways, I choose to walk right in on my own. I am looking forward to serving more.

There wasn’t enough lean in the lean-to.
I tried to change my husband. I recognized that we both had changed six years into our marriage, but in completely opposite directions. Naturally, I thought mine was the better of the two. So I took on the challenge of molding my husband into who I thought God wanted him to be, without even asking Him how or why! Tough love was the objective and it was…really tough. Five years later—ask me how that worked out. One of my hardest lessons to date has been: less mean, more lean.

The project is incomplete, but God is there—with tools in hand—driving His message home. He’s got a contract for life. I can’t afford it, but He’s got me on the mercy plan.

by Robyn Miskelly,
Smiths Falls Free Methodist Church