By Ashley Kuczynski
“Do you have what it takes to take on a fixer upper”?, my TV bellows on a Saturday morning as HGTV streams a marathon of my favorite home renovation show, Fixer Upper. I purchased my first home last year and in the wake of that process I became addicted to the show. I delight in watching a house evolve from horrific and hopeless looking into the most beautiful and coveted house in the neighborhood.
Transformation after transformation, I have been drawn into the process of restoration. In fact, I have found that my favorite episodes are those that involve restoring a house that resembles a shack and truly should be torn down. Chip and Joanna Gaines, the experts and stars of the show, never deem any property a loss. Somehow, they always recover what appears to most as wreckage and turn it into a masterpiece.
My affection for the show has turned my thoughts toward my relationship with the Lord and Bible study this year. At the start of 2017 I began reading The One Year Bible. (If I’m being honest, I’m behind where I should be in my reading. But, this is the current plan I follow for each day’s quiet time). I have never read the Bible in full and I wanted to read all that I have studied for years in pieces within context.
It didn’t take me very long to identify a theme in that the individuals’ lives we read about in God’s Word are downright messy. Sin via immorality and unwise choices rule the biographies of the celebrities of the Bible. In the midst of all of the messes, another theme emerged… God’s involvement and faithfulness.
Just as Chip and Joanna take the ugliest house and redeem it, transform it, and make it completely new so does our Father God with our lives! He never views any life as a loss and instead makes it over and completely new! And he chose lives that many would categorize as unredeemable to be those that are featured in his Word. He knew that the unlikeliest of redemption stories are those that would draw us in and give us hope for our own lives.
In reading and studying God’s Word this year I have been so encouraged by his transformative quality. I know a life transformed is the entire premise behind salvation and his love and grace for us, but I forget. I forget that long ago he redeemed me and when I chose to accept Jesus as my Savior, his restoration in my life began. I forget in my striving that all I need is His strength. In my surrender and submission to his will and plan for my life, he trades my muck for His mercy, my flaws for forgiveness, and my sin for salvation. Somehow, someway, through his almighty sovereignty, what I get wrong he restores and makes right. He even uses my messes for good in my life and in the lives of others in a way that brings him glory.
When I need to remind myself that he is able to do more than I could possibly imagine with this “fixer upper” (a.k.a. ME!), I remind myself of one of my favorite quotes about God’s recruitment and restorative process… “the next time you feel unqualified to be used by God remember this, he tends to recruit from the pit, not the pedestal”. To our God, no life is lost, he has redeemed us, called us by name, and we belong to him.
“But now, this is what the Lord says – he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine”. Isaiah 43:1