Restoration project

As week five of an eight-week loft conversion draws to a close, I try to close my eyes to the swathes of dust and soot in my house and dream of the light, spacious guest bedroom that will eventually replace the building site upstairs.

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A panoramic photo of our loft conversion in week three

Loft conversion = mess. It’s kind of hard to pretend otherwise when 130 years’ worth of soot is seeping its way into EVERYTHING. (We live near a major railway station, so we’re not talking nice soot – does such a thing exist? – no, we’re talking mucky, steam-trainy soot). And we had to tell ourselves that having a large hole in the roof for a few days was just very trendy al fresco living. Or something. Anyway, we’re blessed with the most lovely builders, who require little more than a cup of coffee to sustain them through some astonishingly productive days. Even the British summer has broken with recent tradition and provided optimum conditions for the building of our much-feted dormer window. And the end result will be something great that we’re privileged to have. But it’s a pretty disruptive process, and I’m muttering “take the long view, take the long view” so obsessively that I’m sure people are crossing the street to avoid the lady who natters to herself. It’s a marathon rather than a sprint – a restoration project.

A wise friend recently used this phrase, ‘restoration project’, to describe what happens to ordinary people like you and me when they put their trust in Jesus Christ. Nobody’s perfect. I have many flaws, an obvious one being my desire for a bigger and better house while others sleep rough every night. People are capable of stuff that is just not nice. I appreciate this view of human nature might sound depressing! But I believe that forgiveness and redemption is available to everyone through an event which historians tell us took place two thousand years ago in a remote outpost of the Roman empire.

Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection three days later took place to restore us. The God-given completeness we lost in the Fall (see Genesis 3) can now be reclaimed because Jesus, God in human form and the only sinless person to ever live, took all our sins on himself. We did nothing to deserve it – Saint Paul tells us in Romans 5 that eternal life is a free gift we receive when we put our faith in Jesus. God’s love goes further than even the worst human mess-ups. We can come back to him time and time again seeking forgiveness, and he will wipe our slate clean.

I have two committed builders to help me transform a sooty attic into a brand spanking new room (OK, so they’re actually doing everything while I go about my daily life – seriously, don’t do anything to your house until I’ve given you these guys’ number). (Sort of) similarly, I don’t have to restore my character on my own strength either. As David did in Psalm 51, I can ask God to “Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me,” and I can trust that he will do this. It certainly doesn’t cost me anything, like the loft is doing! The price has been paid by Jesus. All I need to have is faith – even “faith as small as a mustard seed” can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). And I need to take the long view. Because when God’s transformational work in a person is completed, the result will be more beautiful and enduring than the loft room. No more mess.

If you would like to know more about finding restoration by seeking Jesus, and how to have faith in what he did for you, get in touch. Any correspondence will be treated with the strictest confidence (and could also be an excuse to have cake if you live in the North Yorks area).

‘He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” […]’ (Revelation 21:5, NIV)

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I blog now!

Hello blogosphere! I join you from the beautiful town of York where I live with my husband Martyn and son Freddie, aged three-and-a-half. I used to work as a languages teacher but since Freddie arrived I’ve been a full-time parent, which I love, despite the chaos involved. Babies in twenty-first century York come with wonderfully hectic social lives, and with Freddie’s assistance I’ve made some amaaaazing friends, which has led to a bit of voluntary work to keep me out of mischief (currently running my church’s parent and toddler group). I do the odd bit of freelance translation now that Freddie is at pre-school. But not much. Welcome to my blog – I’ll hopefully have something more lengthy to pop on here soon!