In May of last year we put our house on the market, sold it and moved out by the end of June. We didn’t have a new place to move, but we trusted that if God wanted us to sell he would provide our next location.

Through a series of God driven events, we found our next living space. My parent’s house! Thankfully, they were very gracious to house us temporarily. But the series of events I am speaking of is what lead us to the home where we currently live. A long time family friend/neighbor of my parents wanted to sell, but the house needed quite a bit of work and updates.

After looking at the house, the location (half way between both of our parents), and the work that needed to be done, we decided it was for us. The layout was what we wanted in how we like to function. The location – well – was right in the middle of a lot of babysitters. And the updates…they were actually something we had always wanted to do.

Closing day on August 1, 2014 happened and tear out happened August 2. We peeled the wallpaper, pulled up the existing flooring, and tore down some walls. We took out the toilets, the sinks, and the cabinets. Then we started the rebuilding process. As much fun as this was, it was hard.

This house renovation is so much like my life. As God peels away a layer at a time, I keep seeing how much dirt I have underneath. I come across issues I didn’t even realize I had. But I have to let him clean it out and peel away the next layer so that we can get down to the root. If I close it up and don’t get the deeper layers healed, they will eventually resurface. When it does, it will cost more to fix it at that point than if I had just faced it the first time. God doesn’t usually take a drill and go straight to the root. If He did, you wouldn’t see the issue clearly and you would still have all the layers on top that haven’t been removed. He also doesn’t peel it all off at once. If He did, you would be so overwhelmed with the filth and think it could never be cleaned up. He is gracious to us in peeling off one layer at a time. And when we allow him to get to the root… He will start to rebuild.

Rebuilding takes longer than the tear out. If you want to build the right way – so that you have less chance of relapsing – it takes time. And patience. Rebuilding often causes you to focus on things that you might not have focused on previously, and take time away from those things which had consumed you. This means something different. Something new is being created on the existing foundation. It will look different, feel different, and function different. The tenant of the home is the one that makes these decisions. But if you want to rebuild, you have to choose who the tenant of your home is and be willing to allow them to tear out the layers.

You want to know my favorite room transformation? It’s the entry way. A little bizarre, but it is. Entry ways are the first impression. We always keep our entry ways clean and put together because that is what we want people to see. But the further they get into my house, the more stuff they see. The more they see how not together I am. We tend to keep all of our junk in the back rooms of the house. The rooms most people won’t see, but sometimes the room where we spend the most time.

The before and after photos show us where we started and how far we have come. It is a reminder to me that the pain of tearing out and rebuilding is worth it. They help me to visualize my life before complete surrender and a future with rebuild. In the end, the house is beautiful to us. There are still many projects to complete, pictures to hang, and finishing touches to do. But there will always be things in our home – and in our hearts – that need work.


To see “real” photos of my home being lived in, follow me on Instagram @susanbohannon #ForRealFebruary. During the month of February, I will be posting authentic photos during the normal, chaotic days of my life.

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