When Dave and I first were married, we bought a house.
It was a fixer upper to say the least.
In the five or so years we lived there we did a lot...well, actually we bought a lot of stuff and hired other people or begged them for that matter to do it for us. See, Dave and I both aren't very handy and we learned it was better for us to hire craftsmen than for us to do it ourselves.
We spent our first anniversary cooped up in our house, redoing our bathroom. Redoing the main bathroom. Toilet, sink, vanity, floor and all.
We, my friends, were stupid.
Instead of going on some romantic rendezvous to celebrate our first glorious year of marriage, we decided to instead put our marriage to the test and try to accomplish something we were totally under qualified to do.
And after a week or so, we finished. Our bathroom, despite looking a hundred times better, looked like we had done it...which wasn't saying much.
After we experienced that, we decided to hire people from that point on. We tried our hand at molding, and thought we were doing a good job, until we hired our master craftsman friend to do it for us and then we realized what it all could have been like - had we just hired him from the beginning. It would have been fabulous to be able to point to his work and claim the success as our own, but there was no denying that a professional did it. We had to give credit where credit was due.
Since we fixed up our fixer upper quite a bit, Dave and I have quite an appreciation for that show on PBS, "This Old House." Good ol' Norm - now he's a master craftsman. He has the best tools, the best laborers, the best materials - but all in all, the guy knows what he is doing.
If you give Norm a hammer, some nails, and a few pieces of wood I am confident that his finished product would be much greater than what I could produce.
When someone looks at a beautiful home that Norm built, they never say, "Wow. That hammer that drove these nails in must have been AWESOME!" No! They instead are in awe of the work that Norm did. A hammer is just a hammer, unless it's in the hand of someone who knows how to use it. A hammer serves no purpose, until the hand of the master craftsman picks it up and chooses to use it.
Lately, I've been thinking about my family and the different traps of thinking I've fallen into. I've realized that I have been relying on my husband more than God - instead of on God. I have been giving credit for what our family has, the life we have loved, to Dave's hard work instead of God's. I have been standing in awe of the hammer instead of the Master Craftsman.
I've realized that instead of acknowledging that God has been the ultimate provider for our family, I have put all that pressure and responsibility on Dave. And, what's the most painful, is coming to the realization that where we should have been allowing God to build our entire lives, we have felt like we were qualified to do certain aspects of our life on our own.
Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it..."
When we had our house, one of the most frustrating times was after we saw the work our friend did and realized that there was such a drastic difference between the quality of his work and the trim we managed to do. We knew that in order for our house to look nice, we would have to hire him to tear apart what we had done and redo it the right way.
Right now, I feel like that trim in our old house. Right now, it feels as though God is tearing apart what we built on our own and He is building it back the right way. It's painful. It's costly. It's not easy. It's frustrating - but the finished product is going to be amazing.
So how about you? Have you been giving the credit of your life to the tools God uses, or are you giving it to God who is the Master Craftsman? Have you been laboring in vain, or have you allowed God to do the construction in your life? Are you being "remodeled" right now like we are?
When I think about it, there is no question - I would much rather look like the trim work in our old home done by our friend than the bathroom Dave and I did...even if the process is harder. The reward is always better.