Renovating a Mother's Heart - Part II

Photo Credit: Todd Quackenbus

Photo Credit: Todd Quackenbus

My life’s a mess.


I, along with my husband and four young kids, have survived our second full week of our massive home remodel. If you remember from Renovating a Mother’s Heart - Part I, this project includes gutting and remodeling our entire downstairs. We’re talking the whole enchilada - floors, counters, cabinets, paint, and a dozen other custom projects.

We aren’t actually doing the work - Chris and I don’t do house projects together, it doesn’t go well. Our friends (a married couple) are helping us with every step of this process; from demolition, to installation, to the decoration, and every little small detail in between. They have been gifted with this skill set - Chris and I were not.

It’s an extreme home makeover here, and we’re all feeling the discomfort that comes with change - no matter how awesome the end result may be. Whether remodeling, moving, graduating, getting married, or having a baby - changes in life come with challenges.  

We went without lights for a couple of days, and we still are without water/sinks. The refrigerator currently resides in the garage, an empty toilet is sitting in our backyard, and I make peanut butter and honey sandwiches every single day on a pile of boxes that contain our new flooring.

As I stand on the cold concrete, staring at exposed wires, messy sheetrock and a layer of dust on everything - I keep seeing the parallels of my spiritual journey and this home renovation journey. More specifically, the parallels between my Lenten journey and this massive overhaul.

This week marks the final week of Lent, the final days before we celebrate the most important holiday in our Christian lives - the Resurrection of our Lord! Lent is a season in which we’re invited to journey alongside Jesus as He experienced his forty days in the desert. It’s also a time when we’re invited to walk with our Lord up to Calvary.

I see Lent as a time when I strip away the comforts (and the distractions) in my life and insert uncomfortable - through penance, charity and prayer.  

It is a time when I feel exposed.

Like the gaping holes in my kitchen, waiting to be covered in sheet rock, sprayed with texture, and finished with the perfect coat of paint - I too, have gaping holes within my unfinished self, waiting to be filled and refinished with the transforming gifts of the Risen Lord.

This woman right here feels just like the mess that is her unfinished downstairs.

The other night I spent a couple hours mentally beating myself up - the kids are a mess, you’re a mess, this house is a mess - your whole life is a mess!

You want to know the amazing thing? I immediately knew these were lies. Because of the “work” I have been doing on my interior self through intentional prayer - little by little - I have been able to allow God to transform my old self into the new me, who can identify a lie and rewrite it with His truth.

My home is messy, but this does not mean that I am a mess.

Remodeling feels chaotic, but this does not mean that I am chaotic.

House projects are distracting and disruptive, but this does not mean life will remain that way forever.

The long process we are living through inside the walls of our physical home feels so much like the long process I’m living through inside the walls of my spiritual home. Whether it’s a home construction project, a  painful issue with a family member, a difficult season of life, this job of mother - it is messy!

I just want it cleaned up and put back together - fast!

How familiar this restless feeling is. I’ve been in “messy” before, and it’s never been patched and cleaned up quickly. Often, the Lord has asked me to sit in it a bit; even lean into it.

I’m learning to get comfortable in the uncomfortable.

So that’s what I’m doing. I’m leaning in to the discomfort, both in my Lenten journey and my journey as a Christian mother. I'm stripped of my creature comforts, and yet called to praise and thank the Lord in my life’s circumstances. I’m asked to be a loving wife and patient mom, even in the mess. I am still needed to provide nourishment for both their hungry bellies and their needy hearts. And to do all of this with joy.

So, as I sit in this “mess” of a home, and contemplate the messiness I feel inside, God is showing me that as long as I remain on this earth, His work in my heart and home is never finished.

And that’s okay.

We will always be in constant need for stripping, tearing down, renovating, rearranging, refining, and renewing. And just when we think we are finished - the Lord will reveal another little area that needs our attention; another place within us that needs His redemption.

And that’s ok too. In fact, it’s exciting!  It's the redemptive process of Him making me new.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me. His faithful love for me endures forever; and He will not abandon the work of His hands.” (From Psalm 138:8 CSB)

My “work” as a wife and mom is so similar to a remodeling project. Each new phase brings a new decision to be made. Often I have to revisit my original plans and make adjustments. Just like Chris and I have relied on the mastery and skill of our dear friends, I can rely on the master plan God has for me, for my husband, and my children!  This is His work, and He knows the end design He has in mind for us. 

Amazingly, He calls us to participate in that redemptive work.

I am so thankful for the empowering tool I've discovered through intentional prayer, specifically praying my self page in my Mothers Prayer Companion. It offers me such a concrete way to roll up my sleeves and refocus my lens. It allows me rewrite the lies and remind myself God is moving (even when I can’t see it).

While my home remodeling is not even close to completion, I am entering this new week with a renewed hope in the “what’s to come” and the final unveiling of our home project. Similarly, I enter this final week of Lent with a renewed hope in the “what’s to come” this Easter season!

Even if I feel like my life is messy - that’s okay - He is still at work… He will still rise again... Allelujah!

“I am CONFIDENT of this - that He who began a good work in me will carry it on to completion!” (From Phil 1:6 NIV )






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.