My life was like a run-down house when you found me—a paled shack, really. My paint was peeling, revealing my aged soul. The windows were dimmed by the dust and grime of weathering circumstances. They fogged oustiders’ view of seeing who I really was, and what I could offer if only I was given a chance. My grayed door barely hung on its hinges, made fragile by one-too-many slams to my heart, and useless in its job to prevent trespassers. My roof was missing shingles as the winds of many years howled at me, threatening me with every breath. Inside, the once radiant furniture and wall-hangings were covered by filthy sheets of legalism. These beautiful pieces once offered rest, peace, and joy. But over time, they only took up space, slowly decaying with complacency. Outside, the flowers browned and withered, planted in dry dirt. Thistles and brambles climbed up the railings and walls, as if to menacingly drive away anyone who dared approach me. There were cracks in my foundation, deep gashes in the cement caused by greed, lust, pride, shame, and bitterness. These cracks caused me to simply exist as a staggering frame of a home.
This residency now resembled a ghost. People used to enter the structure of me and leave refreshed, knowing that there was something about me, something that exuded a life and life abundant. But over time, I had forgotten about upkeep. I’d forgotten to clean, to polish, to renovate, remove, and replenish. I’d neglected to consult the Grand Architect on how I should keep my space up-to-date and ready for use. The result was messy, broken, and unlivable.
Finally, when I couldn’t take much more, I cried out to the Master Builder. My words woke up my heart and filled it with the relish of newness, with the joy of coming transformation.
“God!” I cried. “I’ve had enough! My life is in shambles; You once called me a resting place and now my life is ashes! Make me new again!”
So He did. He tore me down. In times, it felt dangerous, but I never once felt harmed. And in times, it was gentle. But it was never sugar-coated. Through His entire process of transforming my life, He did exactly what He needed to do with enough authority, determination, and intention to set me back up with strength.
Plank by plank, brick by brick, my old and shameful frame came tumbling. He ripped my life from its broken foundation. He filled my cracks and mounted His work upon the characteristics of Himself. My once deteriorating structure was now composed of love, kindness, patience, gentleness, goodness, peace, joy, and self-control. He formed me with his blueprints, and determined where each piece should go. My home began to grow, my life gained height, depth and breadth. My walls were made of Him, my floors, made of Him, my ceiling, yes, made of Him.
He smashed out the old windows, and installed panes that were clear as a desert sky at midnight. Those who passed by could see the transformation happening. Windows once darkened by painful and shameful experiences now offered light and hope. They gleamed like bright flames despite how cold the weather was around me. They offered the evidence that something miraculous was happening within the place where they once claimed “nothing good will come from that life.”
He installed a new door, attached fresh hinges on its frame, and polished the handle. No longer was it a testimony of hurt and loneliness, but of strength and protection. It stood bright in pigment, washed by the crimson that came from the Cross, and welcomed those seeking refuge inside. At the same time, it remained as a barrier of conviction, shouting a firm “no” to those people and things that threatened the genuineness of my soul and the atmosphere of this home.
Once the structure was replenished, He wasted no time in refreshing the insides. He tossed off the sheets of religion from my furniture, and polished up the filthy and worn pieces of my life. With each new chair, He added to my calling. Every wall hanging and picture frame served as memories and reminders of how my life had added to His Kingdom. There wasn’t a scent or trace of phony legalism or heavy burdens. I asked Him, “why are you so generous in adding to my life? Isn’t the renovation enough? Why have you furnished my life with your goodness? Why have you adorned my home with the dreams of my heart?”
He replied so beautifully that it brought me to my knees. “Your life is a home in my Kingdom. I will not only transform you and make you a place for me and my people, but I will equip you to draw others in to me. Your life will be a place to find rest, hope, and love. Others will know that when they come to you, they find me always inhabiting this space. I am generous in my renovations because I care. I care about you, and I care about those around you. I am passionate about making you a place of praise. I desire you to be built on a healthy foundation, with renewed joy and enthusiasm, and the fullness of an abundant life. I don’t simply change what’s wrong about you. I am never stingy in my plans.”
“Oh, my dear Jesus,” I said simply. “What else could you possibly add now? You’ve done it all. You’ve broken me down and built me back up. You’ve strengthened me, perfected me, and unraveled me all at once. You’ve put purpose back into me. You’ve put life in my walls. You’ve brightened me to my core. What more could I ask?”
And then he added color. Splashes of paint! Bright lines of trim! Flowers of red, blue, and purple hung along the railings and in the yard, luscious, verdant grass covered the soil. Sprawling trees gave shade and life, while the sunshine poured its light down as it traveled through each day’s sky. From the top, down and from the inside, out, vibrancy filled me and covered me and sprung forth from me. The grayness of me was washed away and the dirt was scrubbed off. All that could be seen was adorned by the abundance of the Master Builder, the once who makes beautiful things from dust.
Now when people come here, I am happy. My life used to turn people away, and now it’s a place that attracts individuals with a spectrum of stories. They will ask me, “how did you get your house to look this way?” I just smile and say, “you know, it wasn’t always like this. But thank God for coming along and remodeling my life. Do you want to meet Him? He lives here now. He couldn’t stay away from His work. He never leaves a job undone, and He never lets His plans go to waste. And He never leaves the ones He loves.”
Yes, he really does live here. He inhabits the space of my life. I need him for the upkeep. He continually fills the cracks in my foundation, and adds photos to the walls of all the things we do together. And He’s more hospitable than me. Whenever I want to keep His creation to myself, He invites someone new inside, and soon I realize how silly I am. And each person who stumbles upon this place becomes a pleasure as I watch Him remodel their places and spaces with newness and color. What’s more, I want Him. I want Him to be part of everything I do now. He keeps my life full with joy, humor, and expectancy.
I could go on and on, I really could. But I’ll just say this one thing: let Him in. Sometimes the transformation is painful, especially when He breaks down your life and cleans it. But He never leaves you that way. He always brings His unique purpose to your space and makes it something radiant. So let Him in, let Him in, let Him in. Give Him permission him wreck you, build you, and adorn you with all that is good. Allow Him to bring abundance into your life and I promise, you’ll never want Him to leave.