When we bought a new (old) house, people thought we were crazy. But I had a vision. Never mind that the kitchen had ugly gray paneling and yellow-flecked Formica and blue plaid wallpaper, or that the living room was papered in a busy, rust- and gold-colored print. I could see it. I knew what to do with it. It would be wonderful. It was perfect.

Partway through the process, though, I became less sure. Much less. Walking through the debris covering the floor from the demolition, seeing the cabinet frames without the doors, cut apart for rebuilding, I was deeply discouraged. It was so much harder than I expected, and it took so much time. I didn’t know what to do most of the time, and without the help of my dad, I never would have made it through. He came and patiently, creatively, thoroughly rebuilt the kitchen for me, one step at a time. If something didn’t fit, we recut it. If something broke, we made a new one. Each task brought forward another problem, and each time, as I was ready to cry, my dad stepped back, thought for a minute, and presented a solution. His father had been a cabinet-maker, so he knew how to do things. But sometimes they didn’t work, so we’d have to try again. I spent the summer wanting to cry, to curl up into a ball somewhere and never come out. But almost daily, my dad would call and say he was on his way, and did I want to meet him over there? Slowly but surely, the kitchen came together, and I loved the time we spent together, side by side.

I’m not even sure when it happened, when we finally turned the corner from disaster to improvement. But we did. And now, when I walk through my new kitchen, I am filled with wonder. It is so beautiful. Gleaming new countertops, colorful cabinets, pretty hardware, crisp white wainscoting, shiny floor. My mom walked in one day when we were nearly done and said, “Who knew it could look like this?” I said I did, and she replied, “I didn’t. I never thought it would look this good.”

Reminds me of how God works with us. He sees something inside us—an inherent beauty, a solid structure—and He goes to work. The change isn’t immediate, and sometimes things look worse before they start to look better. But He’s patient, and creative, and oh-so-thorough. If something doesn’t work, He fixes it. If it’s broken, He tosses it out and replaces it with something new. The solutions are never what you expect, and sometimes the remodeling creates other, new issues to deal with. Yet He steadfastly continues the work He began, knowing the end result will be glorious, better than anyone ever imagined. All He wants is to spend time with us, working side by side. All He asks is that we trust His abilities and yield ourselves to His vision. So we do, anxiously awaiting the time when we can see what He had in
mind for us all along.

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