They dropped the price of the empty house again, now below $30,000. What could we possibly expect for that little money? But we asked our realtor to show it to us, anyway. Since my husband retired, we needed additional income, and there is a shortage of rental property in our town. Also, since my dad was an architect, and my mom in real estate for many years (and we’d conquered adding onto our own home a couple years earlier to accommodate our newly adopted children), we felt ready for a new challenge.
The floors weren’t level, and the house had obviously been built onto at least twice, giving it the almost 1,900 square feet we were scrutinizing that day. Good news: there was a full master bathroom. Bad news: the floor was rotted with a pretty big hole in it from apparent water leaks, and the bathroom size triggered my claustrophobia fears. Thankfully, we could expand the bathroom by taking two feet out of the ten-foot walk-in closet, solving the space issue. So, we made our offer – and it was accepted — after many delays and red tape, since it was a foreclosure. However, the potential was what spurred us on.
We saw what the house could be, if someone loved it and was willing to invest (money, resources, and great effort) into it.
So the work began. With my obligations at home, children, ministry work, and teaching piano lessons, most of the actual work was left to my husband and the contractors we hired. I am the official “quality control supervisor and designer”, noticing patches where the paint needs another touch-up, choosing trim and faucets, and so on. Even though my husband usually asks me to look over what’s been done, he gets very frustrated when I “critique” his paint job, noticing things that escaped him. (I told him, “Don’t ask if you don’t want me to tell you the truth.”) It seems a tug-of-war at times, as budget and design struggle to meet in the middle. However, with five rental properties now, there’s one thing my husband and I have always agreed upon as we make those decisions:
We may be landlords, but we will not be ‘slum lords’.
The Golden Rule (which comes from Luke 6:31 in the Bible) comes to mind.
In buying an older house (the original part built in 1950), we expected a two month remodel project, and thought we knew approximately what it would cost to do the work. However, we quickly discovered that both bathrooms had rotted floors, and we had to go literally “down to the dirt” and start over – with all the plumbing and sewer lines needing replaced. It cost more than anticipated, and took much longer than we’d hoped. The kitchen floor dropped over an inch as it transitioned to the dining room. It all had to be fixed before we could install the tile. And, of course, the dishwasher and refrigerator had to be replaced. The new roof came first thing, and electrical updating wasn’t far behind. Was it worth all this work?
I’ve often pondered this sobering thought: How many layers of “crud” (mold, rotting wood, frayed wires, ugly peeling paint) do I have on my own soul? I have a lot of “baggage”, you know, from things that happened to me in my past, and from plenty of my own mistakes and sins. And truth be told, I don’t like it when someone points out my flaws.
Yet, God, Who is RICH IN MERCY, loved me enough to redeem me from the horrendous state I was in, clean me from the inside out (an ongoing process), and make me “beautiful” and useful again. He MADE me worthy, and declared me VALUABLE. Wow! (See Ephesians 2: 4-10 and Romans 5:8)
The finished job made us (and the new tenants) very happy! We even added a window in the bathroom, since sunlight and fresh air are always a nice addition. The new tenant said, “I feel like I’m starting a new chapter in my life, and it makes me so happy!”
That’s how forgiveness — and a new start in life– feels. Whether you’re the one being forgiven, or extending it to others (often it goes both ways!), it’s a wonderful feeling! Remodeling is ugly in the process, but the end result is worth the effort.
I am SO grateful that our Creator God didn’t throw me away. He restores the broken and makes it beautiful! What about my children, my colleagues, and my friends? Shouldn’t I extend them the same grace and love that I’ve been shown?Thankful that God didn't throw me away! He restores the broken, makes it beautiful! #inspiringhopeblog #GodisMerciful #JesusLovesUs Click To Tweet
Prayer: Lord, let me love and show mercy to others, as You have done for me. Shine Your hope and extend your patience through me to others. Help me to see past the “remodeling” that needs done (and leave that to YOU) and love them during the process, just as You have loved me during the “remodeling job” — which is still ongoing! Amen.