We Survived a Home Renovation . . . Almost!

We Survived a Home Renovation . . . Almost!

Four months ago our little family moved into my in-laws’ house, and our home renovation began.

As home renovations go, this one has taken longer and cost more than we expected. Our contractor told us he has seen couples divorce over home renovations. I get it. The stress is high. The decisions are unending.

It’s not just the home renovation. We feel like we’ve been in a pressure cooker for months now.

When Life Doesn’t Give You a Break

Sometimes life just doesn’t give you a break. It’s the need to finally bite the bullet and buy a new car, even as you’re dishing out money right and left for your home renovation.

It’s the trip to the emergency room in the wee hours of the morning . . . and a subsequent hospital admission. (Iren was wheezing and struggling to breathe.)

It’s urging people in our lives to turn from sin and pursue Christ. It’s that ridiculous relational squabble. And on and on and on.

My husband and I are weary. I’ve had a meltdown or two. It usually goes like this, [Sob . . . sniffle . . . “I have no friends!”] Trevor assures me I do, but I have yet to figure out how to find time to hang out with any of them in the midst of all the other demands and responsibilities.

But in the midst of all the pressure, I continue to catch glimpses of just how much God cares for me. For example, here’s how I saw it yesterday.

I was taking Iren on a walk when I looked up and saw an acquaintance. I fell into step with her and told her I need to prepare three messages for a mother-daughter retreat next week. One message is for moms, and I’ve never been a mom of a daughter. So I asked this pastors’ wife of four children what she would say to these women.

Her thoughts sparked several ideas, so I pulled out my phone and took notes as we walked. It was a reminder that God sees my overflowing to-do list, that blank Google document, the impending deadline . . . and He cares.

Would You Pray for Us?

I share all this with you to ask you to pray for us. Pray:

  • God would send us help as we move back home. Our house is far from move-in ready, but we are ready to be home, even if it means dust and disorganization for a season.
  • for refreshment for our weary hearts.
  • that this renovation will allow us to continue to grow in our capacity to extend hospitality to others.
  • I’d figure out how to prioritize and pursue friendships in the midst of all there is to do.
  • the Holy Spirit would guide my thoughts as I prepare these talks–and that I’d find the time to do so.
  • I would love and bless the moms, teens, and tweens I’ll speak to on March 16.
  • Trevor and I will continue to grow in affection and teamwork and kingdom impact. (In spite of the stress of the last few months, I love him more every day. He’s my favorite!)

Thank you, friend. Even the one I haven’t met in person yet. Thanks for reading and caring.

And know that in your own weariness and stress, God cares for you. Cling to these truths in 1 Peter 5:6-7, as I am: 

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

PS: A hearty thank you to Dale and Patti Marsteller for putting up with us for the last four months! Also, to all our friends who have pitched in at our house . . . thank you.

PPS: Photo credit goes to our friend Ryan Krahmer, who captured this photo of our dining room months ago as we were preparing to rip out the wall between our kitchen and dining room.

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  • Paula, thanks for being so open and honest. I can identify with every single one of these frustrations and prayer requests, and I will pray for you!

    Can I share what God has been teaching me these past 20 years or so? I always seem to crave the sort of relationships I had as a girl. A best friend. Someone to go shopping with or stay up late chatting about my latest heartache. But the most entrenched I’ve become in ministry, the less time I have for friendships in general, and especially the shopping sort. And even if I could stay out late chatting with a friend, I probably couldn’t stay awake!

    Here’s what I’m finally realizing. I don’t need many friends; just a few. And I don’t need much time with them; just a visit or phone call every few months to check in and see how we’re really doing. The live of pouring out to others isn’t an empty life; it’s so very full. And even though serving in the ways that we do are costly in a variety of ways, we haven’t been asked to give up any of the good stuff–the deeply fulfilling parts–of life. Aren’t you so glad?

    Praying for refreshment and joy as you move back in!

    • Dear Shannon,

      Thanks so much for sharing your perspective with me. I often think something is wrong with me ’cause I do prioritize ministry over peer friendships. But you’re right, life is so very full/fulfilling!

      Grateful for you,


    • Jess

      I’m so glad you posted this comment for us all to see. I also needed to see the truth you have written. A good reminder.

  • Jess

    I will pray for you! If you ever have time, I encourage you to look up music by Abigail Miller and her family. Her newest album, called Soldier On, is so beautiful. To me at least. Her music always speaks to my heart and encourages me. In those weary times when it’s a struggle to keep on, her music speaks truth to my heart. Perhaps her music is not the style you normally listen to, I don’t know what you like, but I know you wouldn’t regret hearing her music. Blessings!