Why Remodeling Makes Me Cry

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I am a sucker for old homes. My husband knows this, and today he said casually, “You know, Mary, if the Muir House takes off, we should buy that home and make it The Muir House Bed and Breakfast.”

“I already thought of that.” I smiled back.

“Of course,” he said.

The Muir House is my next novel, releasing via Zondervan next summer. It takes place mostly in Rockwall, where I live, in an old home that used to be a funeral home. I based it on the actual home near my house. Here’s a picture of the cover of The Muir House:

Now take careful note of the house in the background, then see my photo below. (Yep, it’s the same one! One of my photos is on a book cover! Hooray!)

But what prompted this post was something I watched on HGTV while folding clothes. A young twenty-something girl fell in love with an old, needy house. She had a slim budget and with that meager amount decided she’d renovate the entire home, including a kitchen and bathroom, all the hardwood floors, the plaster, every molding, ceiling, etc.

Her extended family came out for an entire summer helping her with the project, sacrificing for her sake, loving her well by nailing, sanding, hammering, refinishing. Every time I saw her family work on her behalf, I cried. And then when the show revealed the final home, I cried some more. Something visceral snaps inside me when something old is made new, something dilapidated is restored.

Maybe because that’s so much like my life. I was that old, rickety, falling down, broken house. Jesus decided to “buy” me one day, seeing my potential and His ability to renovate. He recruited members of His family to help sand, refurbish and rejuvenate me. And at the end of His work, I no longer looked forgotten or abandoned. I looked loved.

I’ve never owned an older home. In actuality, I’m no handywoman. But every time I walk through an old house, my heart soars. Perhaps one day God will see fit to give me that old farm house on acreage, a grand old lady in need of love and restoration. For now, I’ll marvel at Jesus’ remodeling in my heart and settle myself there.

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