I love home restoration shows. I remember when I first discovered them, there was Extreme Home makeover, Color Splash and Design on a Dime. Now I love watching Fixer Upper, Love it Or List It, Flip or Flop and Property Brothers. Making something old and run down look brand new and amazing. There is something about seeing a room or house made over in a thirty minute or hour-long show. I realize it creates an unrealistic expectation on the length of process, but it is so much fun to see the beginning and then finished product.
I was visiting with some ladies the other day about marriage. God has remodeled my marriage. Most people can not believe the amount that my husband and I have weathered and that we are truly happy and in love after everything we have put each other through. Our story can inspire most that there is hope for a better relationship.
The ladies asked point-blank how long it took. The answer is frightening on the starting side of the journey, but I answered “About eighteen years.” I stepped out of the conversation and then came back in to the room a few minutes later. God showed me a picture of remodeling that really drove the point home.
I knew one of the ladies had been doing some work on her house, so I asked – “How long does it take to remodel a house?” We had some discussion, but ultimately, the answer is “It depends on how much you work on it.” One can spend years remodeling, but someone who is motivated could remodel a house in a few months. It is the same with relationships remodeling.
I had given them some of the tools that God has used to in my life to transform my marriage. When I started in the journey my prayers were always “God change him.” In the process, God has changed me more. I warned them of this on the front side. Not that my husband hasn’t changed, but ultimately as God worked in me, my husband responded in kind. I have to say, God has given me an amazing husband – even if it took me a while to truly see my diamond in the rough – and trust me, we had some pretty rough years.
It probably didn’t need to take eighteen years, but I wasn’t committed to the work. There were times I decided my husband should be putting forth more effort, so if he wasn’t going to, neither was I. I was my own worst enemy. There were times that I spent years hammering the same nail. I would put the hammer to it every few weeks; when it didn’t repair everything, I would pull it back out again.
Some times I would try for a bit, and then slack off. I was hoping to keep the progress that we had made, without maintaining the things it took to get there. So at times I would paint the same area over and over again because it didn’t look quite right or would quickly fade.
Most of our relationship, I wanted things on my terms, and expected my husband to give in to my way of thinking. There were times I would take an almost finished room and strip it down to the frame because of my negative comments and childish temper tantrums.
I wanted the ladies to know, that the only thing I had control over in the process was the effort I put in to our relationship. And more ultimately, surrendering my will to God on a minute by minute basis. Yet when I truly submitted, God has done amazing things in my relationship – even more than I could have ever thought possible. Had I chose to surrender completely and immediately, God could have circumvented the process.
When I went home that night, God started showing me anything that we need His work on – how long the process is depends on how committed we are to the restoring process. There are several areas that I know God has been speaking to me to change. He showed me that He meets me where I am, but only to the extent that I am willing to surrender to Him. If I put the work into it, God can make the changes complete quicker. It might not be wrapped up in the thirty-minute time frame, but God can redeem the process time.