Fixer Upper


Netflix might be the death of me. On my tombstone, it may read “She couldn’t help it… she had to watch ‘just one more’ episode.” The most recent binge-watching escapade is the HGTV series Fixer Upper. I can’t not watch it. I watch episode after episode, and I cry on cue every time they roll away the screens to show the anxious family their perfect new home. I boo-hoo. I can hear my husband’s deep, irritated sigh next to me during this part of the show. Even writing about it I can picture that look on his face. He’s always on the verge of saying “Really? You’re crying over this…again. You don’t even know them!” I ignore him. Most of the time. Or I respond with a Jr. High sounding “Shut up!”

But the other day, I started contemplating, which only happens when the kids are unusually quiet, about why I always cry at that point of the show. I remember when the Extreme Makeover Home Edition was popular, that was a definite one-Kleenex-box per show experience. But what was it exactly about these shows that brought this type of reaction from me? Was it because I deeply value and love the haven that home provides? Sure. Was it that I knew what a big risk these families were taking to let strangers come in and completely remake a huge part of their lives? Possibly. But then I realized what it was that overwhelmed me emotionally in these types of shows.

I had experienced the process. I enjoyed every moment of watching walls being torn out, popcorn ceilings being scraped, pest nests being removed, original wooden floors being discovered, all of it. I loved the process of watching something that was completely broken, ugly and seemingly unusable get made into something new.

Ah! You’re tracking with me now aren’t you?  It is the story of the gospel, revealed in a parable that our DIY obsessed culture would understand. Old being made new and a home being prepared are things that my soul resonates with. I long for newness in my sinful heart, and to abide in the home in which I was originally created to live. Seeing these people work on these old houses is like seeing myself being moved through the process of being transformed from a broken, sinful, useless woman into a new, restored, redeemed and glorifying daughter of God.

There are moments when it seems uncertain. When there are foundational issues in my soul that look pretty costly to repair. I sometimes wonder, “Is God’s grace wealthy enough to pay for that brokenness?” There are moments when the work is overwhelming and it seems like it is taking too long to finish. But then there is this promise that at the end of all the work and striving, there will be this glorious reveal, when we look back at where we were, and then step into the newness of life provided by the work of Jesus. We were broken and hopeless. Now we are new and beautiful. That is why I cry. It is too good, yet it is true. I can’t look past it. Too much work went into saving my soul. I was in too much need of fixing. I wasn’t just a fixer upper, I was a lost cause! But God loves me. And so He sent Jesus to fix the brokenness.

And He loves you. And He has sent Jesus to fix your brokenness. And it is beautiful. It is worth remembering and crying over the hurt and sin that has broken your heart, because it has broken both the heart of God, and the body of His Son. And He loves you enough, to strap on a tool belt and fix what the decay of sin has broken. He doesn’t just hire out the work, He enters into the mess of our lives Himself, rolls up His sleeves and digs His holy hands into the muck of our lives. It is too glorious to look past the process. We can’t fully appreciate the glory without first looking at the mess. We can’t fully appreciate the cross, until we look fully at our own filth. When the old passes away, and all things are made new, it is truly breathtaking.

My prayer for you today, is that you will enter into a new understanding of what has been done for you, and how beautiful you are as a result. The work is finished. Jesus did all that was required to make you new. I hope you can worship God today, as one who has been redeemed. I hope you know you were worth the investment. God doesn’t see you as a fixer upper. He sees you as His beloved child, with whom He wants to dwell, in a place He has prepared for you, for all eternity.

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”   John 14:1-6