Renovating a Mother's Heart - Part I

Photo Credit: Bruno Nascimento

Photo Credit: Bruno Nascimento

We lined them up side-by-side, shoulder distance apart. My four-year-old held a hammer, my five-year-old held a sledge hammer, and my seven-year-old gripped a pick axe.

“Alright! On the count of three… One, two, three...Go!!!”

And in unison the kids released their first blow. Within minutes, my three oldest kids destroyed the interior wall of our home.

When the dust settled, sheetrock, dead bugs, and shards of wood covered the ground. Only the skeleton of the wall was left exposed. The kids beamed with pride and accomplishment as they panted to catch their breath.

In the aftermath we high-fived their work, and as a family began to clean up the debris that had been left behind.

My husband Chris and I have been wanting to remodel our first floor for more than a year now. Recently we pulled the trigger, and phase one of the remodel is well underway. Although the enormity of it all gives me a few tingles of anxiety, I’m also giddy with excitement for the end result.

When I close my eyes and imagine the new flooring, fresh paint, updated cabinets, countertops, and island, I am inspired again to press onwards. Even if it’s a little uncomfortable during the in-between phases, the end result makes it all worthwhile.

During this process, I’ve reflected on the parallels of remodeling the interior of my home to the reconstruction God has done on the interior of my heart.

Sitting at the kitchen table, eating leftover scraps from my kids’ lunches, and staring at the skeleton of a wall that once was, I was able to see past mangled pipes and worn two by fours. I caught a glimpse of my family at work and play in this new space we’re creating.

Even in the uncomfortable and unsightly phases of parenting (and marriage), I am able to visualize the end goal, an eternal life spent with God, and that is what makes “the hard” all worth it.

Lord, grant my children a new mother and let it be me.

This was a prayer I had only ever prayed for my husband, but this whole remodel had me thinking. What if God wanted to gift each member of my family someone new - a new wife, a new mom, a new me? I realized the journey with Christ, praying with my Mother’s Prayer Companion, and living a life that gives God glory - is like remodeling my home.

If ripping out sheet rock in my house allowed me to envision the beautiful finishes of my remodel, then asking God to tear down the great wall I’ve built within myself - a wall that was constructed out of hurt, fear, regret, sin - has allowed me to see God’s beautiful plan for my family and me.

Intentionally praying (with the MPC) was like taking a hammer and releasing God’s mighty power on the wall in my heart which obstructed my view of a life lived with and in Him.

The wall in the middle of my home had to come down in order for us to move into the next phase of the big remodel. In the same way, the wall in our hearts must be torn down before God can begin the next phase of renovating our souls - the deepest parts of our interior selves.

In my eight years as a mom, the most profound transformation has been that of my prayer life. Praying intentionally for myself, my marriage and my children has given my husband and children a new wife and mom (and that woman is me).

The wall that I asked God to tear down was high and thick. Two by fours, sheetrock and heavy nails secured this great wall into place - I’ll call mine The Great Wall of Failure. It took years to build. Layers of fear, anxiety, control, jealousy, discontentment, lies, unforgiveness, regret, wounds and worry formed the immensity of that wall.

For years I stood on one side of the wall, and God the Father stood on the other. I allowed the lies that ‘you can’t change’, ‘you can’t be that woman’, ‘you’re not that mom’ or ‘you’ll never be that kind of wife’ - ‘you will always be a failure’ - to paralyze me from moving forward. I feared the unknown and the personal “price of a huge remodel”.

By God’s grace I found myself so low and so desperate for a change that I begged Him to change me. I didn’t care the cost. This moment of surrender is when His hammer of healing love first broke through my wall. The process of tearing down my great wall took years to complete. I equipped my spiritual tool box with scripture, authentic friendship, vulnerability in my marriage, counseling, and of course the most powerful tool of all... prayer.

My Great Remodeler, my God, my Father, drew up these plans long before I was ever created. He remained faithful and steady until each phase was complete... “He who began a good work in me (was) faithful to complete it.” (Philippians 1:6)

Looking back, I’m so thankful the process of this transformation is documented on the pages of my MPC. I am able to see the fullness of God’s plan and His mighty reconstruction from then to today, and I remain hopeful for the “updates” still to come.

Jenny often refers to the MPC as a tool. For me, it is like a hammer that helped tear down my great wall, giving way to a redemptive remodel in my inner being. And just like the hope I have for my own house remodel, despite all the discomfort of the in-between, I share this same hope for God’s renovation and renewal in you, too.

Maybe you’ve built a wall similar to mine. If you have, God wants to break through that wall, layer by layer, with the force of His unconditional and healing love.

I hope the MPC can offer you a tool; a concrete way to let the Lord take a powerful swing at the lies, wounds, and fears that keep you from the freedom He has for you.

It’s demolition time, girls.

I’m praying for you - that you will have the courage to let your loving Father tear down the walls and renovate your mama’s heart.


Stef Blackwell

Stef Blackwell and her husband are raising their four kids and living the dream deep in the heart of suburbia, Flower Mound, TX. She’s a raging choleric and high functioning introvert, which some have said is impossible. But alas, here she lives to tell her tale. Her greatest strength is bossing people around; her greatest weakness is she bosses people around - and Jesus loves her just the way she is - today. She looks for the one mama who is standing alone and strives to bring them into the fold. God has given her a passion for marriage, motherhood, and living missionally.