If ever I am at a hotel with cable TV, it is my weakness to be watching the Home & Garden Channel, otherwise known as HGTV. This was the case a few weeks ago when a friend and I took a trip to Sitka, Alaska to watch my husband and the other fishermen there during the short herring fishing season, scoop up the schools (of fish). It really is an amazing sight to behold. But when we were not hiking, photographing, eating or sightseeing, we would be back at the little house we rented, and I would turn on HGTV to see what the shows were about. This is where my “aha” moment began.
It wasn’t long into the show “Property Brothers” that I found myself talking to the TV. Much like a fan watching a sporting event, I could hear myself arguing with the people in the episode. In this show, there are people who are looking for their dream house and the “Property Brothers” are there to help them find it. Usually what the people want is out of their price range, so the Brothers, direct them to “fixer-upper” homes where the potential for renovation will give them what they are looking for. This is when I get talking.
The prospective buyers walk through these sub-standard homes and begin complaining. “This kitchen is hideous!” Or “I could never see myself in this house!”
I roll my eyes. I’ve seen this show many times before, and the whole premise of this show is that these Property Brothers can turn a mess into a masterpiece in just a few days. They are absolutely amazing! Somehow the house-hunters in this show don’t acknowledge that fact. (It has to be in the script, that’s all I can conclude.) The Brothers will say, “We can take out this wall here, and open this kitchen up to the east there, and make an island here….” and the House Hunter will reply with comments like “I’ve never taken down a wall before, and I can’t even imagine doing that.” Or, “I don’t want a fixer-upper. I don’t have any experience in renovating.”
“GAHHHH!!!” I’m yelling at the TV now. “Don’t you people ever watch this show? Haven’t you seen what these guys can do? Who asked you about your renovation experience anyway? Have you seen the credentials these guys have? Have you seen their work? Don’t you know this show is all about them?”
The Brothers go back to their headquarters and design renovation plans for the three homes featured on the show then present them to the clients for them to choose which home and which renovation plan they would like to go for. This is when the show gets good.
“O, Wow!!” many of them will say. “You can do this?” “That doesn’t even look like the same house?” “Are you kidding me?”
The choice is made, and the clients, although excited about their choices enter into the next phase– nervous expectation. Some of them hound the builders. They come during the demolition and freak out over the mess. “You’re going to fix this aren’t you?” Some of them ask. “This is never going to be finished.” “I had a dream that you made this house an ugly freak show, and I just need to come and check on your work to see if my dream was true.” some have said.
This is where the Brothers have to send the clients away. The clients have to be left “in the dark” so that the builders can complete their work without the interruptions, and so that there is a surprise in the final product for them to enjoy.
Here God starts speaking to me. While I am yelling at the House Buyers and telling them to just shut their mouths and trust the Brothers, I realize that my life can be mirrored in this show. With God as the Master Craftsman of my life, I can be found arguing with Him, freaking out at my circumstances, and re-iterating over and over to Him my lack of credentials to improve the mess I am in. I question His motives, nervously check His work against my imaginations, and impatiently wait for something good to come of my trouble. I get mad when He leaves me “in the dark”, and I don’t have the answers to all of my questions. I am impatient. I am afraid. I am Cate.
Somewhere in my spirit I hear the Holy Spirit asking me, “Cate, have you seen His credentials? Haven’t you watched this show before? Don’t you know He brings beauty from ashes? Who said the outcomes are up to you? The Expert is in full control.”
Yeah, I’ve seen His credentials. I’ve seen His splendor in the midnight sky. I’ve given birth to four of His finest creations. I’ve watched Him transform my life from bitterness and fear, to faith and trust, and I’ve watched Him transform the lives around me. And I am reminded of this scripture from the Psalms:
1 Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
Yes, Lord. You are to be trusted. Yes, Lord you have my life in your hands. Yes, Lord I put my faith in you.
As the show ends with amazed clients looking at the most beautiful home they have ever seen, I too, will stand in awe of God’s goodness when this life is over, and I get to see the plan He unfolded, and the miracles He performed to bring it about. He can make a mess a masterpiece!
Click the link below to hear my song: