Fixer upper reality check

Has your marriage survived home renovations?

Don’t laugh if you haven’t been through that with your spouse, because, people, the struggle is real. It’s not easy. And our renovation projects have seemed unending.

As of next month we will have lived in our home for thirty-nine years. We had it framed when Craig was still in the Army, serving at Ft. Riley, Kansas.

It was supposed to have been finished when we arrived with our U-Haul truck pulling one car and Craig’s loaded flatbed truck pulling another car. We had two babies: Rebekah, 21 months, and Justin, seven months. We arrived here, only to find that the house was barely framed. Craig slept in the detached garage in a sleeping bag for the next seven months, helping the contractor finish the basic framing, then firing the contractor and finishing the rest himself.

We moved in to a kitchen with no counters and floors with no tile or carpeting. No interior doors. Trim? Don’t even.

I learned how to hang sheetrock . . . and to hold my tongue. Sort of.

Months after we laid expensive carpeting, the first flood hit. It came up to the insulation under the floors. A year later, it came into the home several inches.

Thus, the first major reno project: raising the house four-and-a-half feet and filling the entire lot with three feet of fill dirt.

Since then we’ve had an unending list, most recently: new doors and windows, new hardwood floors downstairs, rebuilt balconies, new back decking, an outdoor pavilion, plantation shutters, new trim, shiplap walls in my office, porch enclosed, new exterior siding and paint, six rooms inside painted, 24 new lights fixtures. I could go on and on. I think we counted over fifty projects just over the last three years.

All I know is that somehow two very different people with very different opinions survived all those reno projects. Our favorite common term is “permanent solution.” With the last two years of projects, we’ve been looking for a permanent solution.

I’ve been wondering about that concept of permanent solution as I’ve been reading through the Old Testament again. So many kings rebuilt the temple. How many times did rock have to be replaced? Why would rock have to be replaced? How was that work done?

And in Ezra, there they are again, rebuilding the temple. So it’s heartwarming to read that they sang and praised and gave thanks as they worked together: “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.”

THERE is the key to surviving home renovation: singing and praising God and giving him thanks.

And THERE is the key to surviving and thriving not only in marriage and its struggles but in all times of hardship and challenge.

Keep #LookingUp! God will see you through whatever challenge you are facing right now . . . knowing that looking in God’s direction provides you with your own kind of interior redesign. And we’ll all look better after that kind of work!

Janet McHenry is a national speaker and the author of 24 books–six of those on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She would LOVE to be considered as the speaker for your next event:

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