Isaiah 43:19
For I am about to do something new.  See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?  I will make a pathway through the wilderness.  I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.  (NLT)       (Verse copied from www.Biblegateway.com

It’s a new year and the timing is perfect because we’ve spent the past eight months doing away with the old so we can ring in the new.   We’ve been completing major house repairs and remodeling.  It started with a new roof and windows – both of which were badly needed.  From there the project grew to involve flooring, walls,  stonework, remodeling kitchen and baths, finishing attic space, replacing staircases, other miscellaneous projects that evolved throughout the process, and oh, yeah…we added a new room.   It’s been tough and frustrating at times, but the outcomes exceed our expectations and we’re very pleased with the changes and improvements made.  Perhaps the best part of all is that these projects forced us to completely clear out rooms, closets, cabinets, and storage areas.  Doing so was painful at the time (literally and figuratively!).  At times the messes we created seemed worse than the messes we were trying to fix.  They gave new meaning to the verse above where it talks about making a path through the wilderness because at times paths were all we had through our ‘wilderness’ of a mess!    The rewards are worth the work, though.  It feels so good to get rid of stuff we don’t need and to reorganize and repurpose things we do need.   It’s like a load has been lifted from us – again, literally and figuratively. 

Change can be hard, but change is often good.  As our boys grew, our lives moved forward.  We outgrew the need for many things.  Getting rid of those things makes room in our lives for new interests and pursuits.  By completely clearing out rooms, we found ourselves visualizing new ways of using old spaces.  It’s been great to experience how much better things feel with the changes we’ve made. 

The work isn’t done yet, but we’re almost done.  At times I’m exhausted and feel overwhelmed, but at the same time I’m excited by all we’ve accomplished and the improvements we’ve made.   I also feel good about the many things we passed along to others.   Some of our housing materials were taken to Habit for Humanity, other things were given to appropriate charities, and some things were passed along to friends and loved ones.  Much more was shared with others than was thrown away. 

Yes, ringing in the new year feels especially good this year.  We’ve parted with the old and are ready to ring in the new…’new’ home, new opportunities, and hopefully lots of new memories and special times with loved ones and friends. 

 And you know what?  I’m thankful to God for this mess He blessed us with.  Facing the messes forced us to cut through clutter, simplify, minimize and reorganize so we’re better able to make this a home we can share with others, and a better place for His presence to reside.  It is my greatest hope and prayer that our home will be a place for others to gather, and that in those times we’ll somehow be able to bless and glorify God. 

We went big, but it doesn’t take major projects to bring about major changes. Sometimes simple changes and little baby steps can lead to significant improvements. What areas of your life could benefit from a little fixing up or re-doing?  Maybe it’s a physical room in your home, but it could also be old habits or patterns of  thought that need a little attention.  Perhaps it’s time to give yourself a new look, or maybe it’s time to spruce up your spiritual life.  Whatever it is, I hope you find the same joy and satisfaction from your efforts that we’re finding from ours.  I also hope you won’t let a little hard work scare you away.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  May God be with you and bless you in your efforts to make the changes your heart desires – and also the changes  made necessary by leaking rooftops and rotting windows!   

May the blessings and joy of the Lord be with you throughout new year.  🙂

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