It is much harder for an architect to work within an existing structure than to start from scratch. With an existing structure the architect has to spend hours thinking about how to turn something old into something new. Using technology, math, and design knowledge, an architect is capable of making an ordinary space into something extraordinary.
Just like an architect, you and I are able to take our ordinary lives and turn them into something extraordinary when we begin to follow God. The Architect of our lives offers us immeasurable love in the midst of our ordinary: grocery shopping, baby soothing, work deadlines, and laundry folding. With this love comes I-owe-you-nothing grace: for our mess ups, frustrations, and exhaustion. From grace, we realize that we are nothing without his extraordinary mercy.
Humans are much like an old building that needs to be remodeled. We are born into lives of sin and only when we submit ourselves to God are we made new. Even after the surrender, our lives are constantly being hammered and repaired. We will never exist without sin here on Earth yet when we say yes to Christ we are redesigned into something new. He uses our weaknesses to show others how our strength is in Him, not ourselves.
One area in our old house that was a major weakness was the living room. The house is a ranch-style home and over the years different levels were added. The living room was once a porch and then an addition was added to that porch making the room one long narrow space. With ranch homes, there are usually many different levels and the living room was a few steps up from the laundry room/old office and one step down from the kitchen. The roof lines were also uneven with the portion over the old patio being higher than the portion that went out to the back porch. Needless to say, the space was a little awkward and needed to be reconfigured for our family.
Raleigh (my architect husband) spent countless hours working within the limitations of the family room. Since it was connected to the kitchen space, we wanted it to feel like one big room and not two separate rooms. With the uneven floor levels and roof lines, he finally decided our best option was to go up and over.
For starters, we decided to use some of the old office space to make the room deeper. Our contractor raised the floor height in the office to the same level as the living room. He also left us room for a guest bathroom that is on the same first level of the laundry room. So, once we walk in our home from the garage we will have a bath and laundry room then we will walk three steps up into the living room.
Now that the room was bigger, it was time to fix the ceiling. We literally "raised the roof" and now have a beautiful arched roof line. From the outside, this new roof gives more dimension to the existing roof line and it fits in seamlessly. On the inside, the room feels much larger and very airy. We love it.
Another thing we decided to do was tear out a wall that held kitchen cabinets and the refrigerator. We lost some overhead cabinet space but will gain it back under the counter when we extend our kitchen counters and add some new pantry cabinets next to the kitchen table. We also moved the refrigerator to be close to the oven and microwave. Now, we can watch t.v. from our kitchen bar stools and I also won't feel left out when I'm cooking and everyone else is in the living room. Simply removing one section of the wall has changed the once divided home into a more welcoming space.
This room was the most difficult room to work with but it has now turned into one of our favorite spots. I can imagine Christmas morning in this room and lazy Sunday afternoons with us all piled on the couch. The room is functional, aesthetically pleasing, and most importantly, feels like home.
Isn't that how our lives are supposed to feel like too? We want our days to be functional, organized, purposeful. Instead of a pout on our lips, we want pretty smiles that reflect how we feel on the inside. And, we want this place that we roam to feel like home.
Friends, the only time I truly feel at home on Earth is when I accept the promises of God in Christ. When I say yes and allow the glory of God to live through me; this is when I am most at peace. My day is so easily frazzled by my children, my family, my work, my friends. The list can go on and on but Christ is able to pour his love, grace, and mercy into my ordinary life and turn me into a new creation that tries to pour that same love, grace, and mercy into those things that frazzle me most. I have limitations and existing walls but the Architect is able to tear down those walls and turn those limitations into limitless opportunities to share his word.
Before we started to remodel the living room, my architect promised me it had the potential to meet all of my hopes and dreams. He simply told me to trust him. So I did.
You can believe in the promises of The Architect too: for all the promises of God in Christ are Yes, and in Christ Amen, to the glory of God through us. Allow The Architect to use your existing structure and turn something ordinary into extraordinary.
Till next time, let your light shine!