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There is no denying it. There is something about a fixer-upper story that pulls us in.

If we scan the home improvement channels, we find television series after television series with the same premise—taking something ugly, rundown, and unnoticed and with the proper amount of love, attention, and belief—turning it into something new, something beautiful. No matter how many different versions there are, the frequency of which they are played, or how closely they mirror one another—we just can’t seem to get enough of them.

This phenomenon really got me thinking. What is it about a fixer-upper story that pulls us in? What is it that captivates us? Is it the classic underdog story? The rags to riches transformation? Or is it something on a deeper, more soulful level?

After some serious reflection, it seems my pull to these shows may not be the rustic, farmhouse interiors like I had previously thought.

My pull to these shows may just stem from my ability to see myself as the fixer-upper.

You see, three years ago my life was drastically different than it is today. Three years ago, I found myself laying on a cold bathroom floor in the middle of the night. I found myself cradling the baby in my womb as I shook with uncontrollable sobbing. I found myself in the darkest pit I had ever experienced, with my marriage and my life as I knew it shattered into pieces.

Like one of those properties, one day I had been a beautiful fixture standing tall. But over the years, the constant wear and tear paired with some devastating storms really took their toll on me until one day I found myself broken down and literally falling apart at the seams. My foundation had collapsed, and I could no longer stand on my own. One final blow to my exterior had allowed the storm waters to come rushing in and destroy everything of worth inside me.

Like one of those properties, I was dirty, damaged, and unworthy. I felt unnoticed and vacant. And I was beginning to believe this was the end for me, that there was no longer any hope. I was ready to be labeled, condemned and somberly welcomed the wrecking ball that would completely wipe me out.

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But just as Chip and Joanna can see worth in something others have written off, a hand reached down to me, symbolically doing the same.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Psalm 40:2, NIV).

And at that moment, He began what I consider one of the most beautiful fixer-upper stories I have ever had the honor of witnessing. Over the course of three years, He would repair, rebuild, and restore. He would do so in such an unfathomable way, in a way only He can, a way that would render so many of us speechless and in complete awe.

He started first with the foundation.

This time, He would dwell here within these walls. So this time, He built a house upon the rock and He placed Himself as the almighty cornerstone. As the master carpenter, He effortlessly put up the walls, breathed life into the new bones, and structured a sturdy roof to shelter and protect. He purposefully fashioned countless windows—windows to allow light to shine into the darkness, windows that with time would also allow for light to shine out of them for others to see as well. And as the structural components were coming to an end, He lifted His brush for the final touches. With a beautiful tenderness, He washed the surfaces clean, washing them in pure white. And with a wave of His hand and from the depths of His compassionate heart, He began filling the once vacant property with an abundance of love until it was completely repaired, completely rebuilt, completely restored.

RELATED: Church Didn’t Change Me, Jesus Did

So here I stand three years later, a shining example of God’s grace, mercy, and restoration. Here I stand as a humble fixer-upper of the Lord Almighty. Now a brand-new, worthy creation. Now married into a sacred covenant with Him and the one He chose for me. Now reconciled and at peace with the past that destroyed me. And now blessed with another precious child in my womb.

Yes, here I stand as a humble fixer-upper of the Lord Almighty. The Lord has so graciously taken this former lost soul and called it to Him. The Lord has made me strong, firm, and steadfast.

The Lord has performed a miraculous restoration.

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 5:10-11, NIV).

Friend, may we never forget we serve an amazing, all-powerful God. May we never forget our God is a God of second chances, a God whose grace is always sufficient no matter the situation. May we never forget He sees us in our mess and in our filthy rags and doesn’t turn away but rather turns to us and meets us in it. May we never forget our God is the master fixer-upper, the master of restoration in all our lives and to Him be the glory!

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Jessika Sanders

Jessika is the founder and president of Praying Through ministries, a nonprofit that aims to equip and embolden men, women, and children with Biblical Truth as they journey through the difficult seasons of the NICU, PICU, and Child Loss. She is also a published writer who has been featured in Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Hope When Your Heart is Heavy devotional (2021), Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse Jr. magazine (2022), and Tyndale’s So God Made a Mother (2023). Jessika regularly writes for the Praying Through blog.

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