Greetings friend–tell the truth…have you been plastered to the TV watching the Eclipse all day? Who could NOT if they could, right?!!
OMG! Isn’t our God MAGNIFICENT?! The heavens truly DECLARE HIS GLORY!
My theme for the month is all about RECEIVING and todays verse from our August Calendar (You received if you are signed up for my Monthly E-Letter, If not, just click the link right here and I’ll get you signed up!) is right on target for an entire world with eyes fixed on the glory of creation!
The way I see it, anyone can move into a brand-new house. Zero sweat equity. Instant pretty. But remodeling takes a willing investor with a keen eye for potential—someone prepared to put a lot of hard work into a far-from-perfect building. Done right, the results are a gorgeous old home with character, yet filled with all the new stuff you wouldn’t want to live without. The before and after photos are remarkable, and no one who visits your house can believe that it ever looked like that before.
It’s truly a labor of love.
My husband, Keith, and I were crazy enough to take on such an endeavor back when we were newly married, young, and willing to invest some serious elbow grease. We had purchased a tiny two-bedroom, one-bathroom, stinky, old, sorry excuse for a house, mostly because it only cost us $55,000.
Its flat, gravel-topped roof needed replacing, the jalousie windows had to go, the scary carpet reeked to high heaven, and the hot water heater needed to be moved out of the kitchen. Add in a garage, new electrical wiring, and paint—lots of paint—and it would be habitable.
Did I mention I was pregnant when we began?
We ended up knocking down walls and adding some extra rooms. It was almost a total do-over. For seven months, we stressed, sweated, and toiled, working far too hard and sleeping far too little. Then we watched in amazement and great satisfaction as our smelly, rinky-dink place was slowly shaped into something beautiful.
God does this very thing with us. He deeply values us, His daughters, and sees the potential that others (and often we ourselves) cannot. He deems us worthy of His investment. His Holy Spirit pinpoints areas in our hearts and lives that need loving restoration, and He gently coaxes us to believe, surrender, and cooperate with Him.
Some of us have sagging foundations. Some of us are a slapdash paint job on rotting boards. Some of us have broken windows where thieves can crawl in. All of us need a complete do-over. Like the hot water heater standing awkwardly in the middle of my kitchen, we often recognize when things are out of place. We know when parts of us are broken, and yet we aren’t really sure how to change. We are powerless to make changes apart from Christ. As the psalmist puts it, “Unless the Lord builds a house, the work of the builders is wasted” (Psalm 127:1).
Unless we partner with God by surrendering to the work He is doing, cooperating with His promptings and discipline, and doing our part by saturating our hearts in His Word and spending time with Him in meaningful prayer, our house will remain in the same sagging, sorry shape.
He’s willing. Are we?
Are we willing to deny ourselves, pick up our crosses, and follow Him through the intimate intricacies of deep inner heart work? Will we submit ourselves, hearts wide open, to the One who is able to renew and restore? Because that is God’s heart for us. He knows the things that have stripped us of our hope, our trust, our dignity. And He is well able to replace all the enemy has stolen from us (Joel 2:25). Jesus is willing to beautifully restore the years spent languishing in hurt, the broken areas we cover and attempt to hold together on our own, and the dreams we think are irretrievably dead.
When we allow God to have His way by surrendering to His process, reading His Word and truly believing it, and investing in some serious prayer time, we will live an overcoming life—a life that is not held back by issues that once plagued us. Our lives will become testimonies to those around us. The more we allow Jesus to do in us, the more His glory is revealed. And that is His ultimate goal: a world full of regular people whose hearts and lives have been utterly transformed and radiate His unmistakable image.
Though it can be a long, arduous process, Jesus, with His keen eye, restores us to better than new. He makes us whole. We wind up beautiful, yet functional, and filled with His character. When we share our amazing before and after stories, no one can believe that we ever lived like that before because our hearts are all sparkly and fresh and new. It’s truly a labor of love.
This is an adapted excerpt from the book, “From Hot Mess to Blessed: Hope to Propel Your Soul and the Promises that Change Everything”, Harvest House Publishers 2017. Used with permission.
Julie K. Gillies is the author of From Hot Mess to Blessed: Hope to Propel Your Soul and the Promises that Change Everything and the devotional, Prayers for a Woman’s Soul. Healed from a traumatic childhood, Julie’s message helps women pray, know, and believe God’s Word. Julie is the joyful wife of Keith, mom of two s*ldiers and one civilian, and Grammy of four. She loves baking from scratch, any day without humidity, and hanging out with the entire family at home, especially on days when her house is clean. Find FREE resources and connect with Julie at www.JulieGillies.com .