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Renewal by Tara Stephen
September 3, 2014

After years of dreaming, planning, saving and drawing, we have finally taken the plunge and begun a massive house renovation that involves gutting three rooms, tearing down two walls, closing off one window, resizing another and moving the entire kitchen to a different place.

Kitchen DemoThe mess is atrocious and the vision is huge, but it is all the little unexpected surprises that are being uncovered through the process that are turning out to be most worrisome. There have been frightening finds such as wires that have been chewed down by a rogue mouse or stapled through, causing unseen fire hazards that could prove disastrous if left hidden. Most recently we discovered a floor joist that is missing to accommodate what can only be described as a plumbing family tree! Then there have been annoyances such as unsealed areas that are clearly the causes of years of cold floors or poor air flow. It is exciting to have the opportunity to fix these finds properly and move forward without these difficulties impeding our safety or comfort in the future.

All of this chaos in our home has turned my mind towards personal reflection and the need for spiritual renewal. The psalmist calls to God, in Psalm 51:10,12 "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me...Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit."

The whole idea of "re" as in the words renew, restore, and indeed renovate, is simply to do it again. Renewing and restoring. Much like my gutted kitchen with all that is old, and broken and in some cases just plain faulty, our hearts may need to be renewed and restored. Things in our day to day world draw us away from the things of God and our hearts may need to be cleaned, our spirits renewed and our joy restored. The psalmist makes it clear that when things are no longer what they once were, there needs to be a turning back to making things right again. We quite literally require a renovation of our hearts and renewing our relationship with God. Perhaps thoughts of bitterness towards a family member or co-worker have been eating away at your joy and are distracting you from being the kind of woman God wants you to be. So how do we fix that? By turning to God and simply asking him. God creates. He renews and restores. He knows what needs to be repaired. God knows why our spirit isn't right and why our joy in him is not what it once was or needs to be. It is my prayer that as Beth prepares, we prepare our hearts to be receptive to what God has ready for us to hear.

Our dear Heavenly Father, you know what's in our hearts and minds. You know those things that turn our hearts from you and that keep us from knowing the kind of joy and spiritual connection with you that we are designed to have. Help us to acknowledge those areas and to seek you for the kind of cleaning and renewing that we need so you can be our joy once again. We ask this in Jesus' name, amen.

Tara Stephen

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