I am a fan of the show Fixer Upper,which follows the remodeling adventures of Chip and Joanna Gaines. I am sure I am not the only lover of all things Gaines.  In fact, if you haven’t heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines then you clearly don’t watch enough reality television. In case you are, indeed, oblivious to the greatness that is Fixer Upper- let me give you a one sentence synopsis of the show. Don’t worry, no spoilers here. Chip and Joanna take some of the scariest houses on the block, and turn it into someone’s dream home. Often while I work on the laptop I’ll turn an episode on just to listen to their joyful banter, and ooh and ahhh over the brilliant creations that come out of such a mess. I hardly get through an episode these days without being able to correlate so many concepts of the show into a spiritual aspect. This blog post would be entirely too long for me to list all of the ones that have spoken to me or moved me.  So i’ll keep it to just one…and it’s only one word…shiplap.

Yes, shiplap. How I went 29 years without ever knowing the brilliance and beauty of shiplap in decorating is beyond me. I secretly wish that someday I will unearth original shiplap beneath my walls and it will be like finding buried pirate’s treasure.  But I digress. The more I watched Chip and Joanna breathe life back into old shiplap in homes, the more I became intrigued with it’s ability to do endure the toughest of conditions, and still maintain it’s beauty when refinished.

Because I am a home remodeling nerd, I began to google the history of shiplap. I was hoping at least for some professional definition of the term. It has been a while since I have been so touched by the definition of a word. Shiplap is described as follows:

Lumber that has been worked to make a rabbeted joint on each edge so that pieces may be fitted together snugly for increased strength and stability.Useful for its strength as a supporting member, and its ability to form a relatively tight seal when lapped, shiplap is usually used as a type of siding for buildings that do not require extensive maintenance and must withstand cold and aggressive climates. 

I will admit that I chuckled a bit when I finished that definition. It would seem as though shiplap would fit nicely into the housing ministry world. (I also think it would look LOVELY on a wall in the living room at the Nest as well!) You see, it’s been 22 months since our first resident joined us at the Nest. Eighteen of those months were spent being weathered by consistent residents at the Nest. Now, it’s been 24 days since I last tended to the daily responsibilities of teen mommas and their babies, and I realize how much I can relate to an old piece of shiplap. More often then not, the last few months have been marked by “cold and aggressive climates” in the house…I like to call those “climates” hormonal, emotional, developing teenage mothers. As houseparents, we are trained and prepared to withstand some of those harshest conditions while not requiring extensive maintenance. We are equipped, prayed for, and sent in to be the forefront of the all the highs and lows that come our way. The storms rage (trust me they do), and quieter moments come before they flare up again. Our shiplap team remains jointed together as we rely on each other as a supporting member, meanwhile being exposed to what comes.

So 24 days ago I looked at myself, probably the same way Joanna does when she finds shiplap beneath the mess. I stood in our kitchen and took a deep breath. I exhaled, and thought to myself, “There you are. You’ve looked better, and seen better days, but I have no doubt you can be restored.” Restoration has come in a variety of ways and outlets these last 24 days. We physically have been restoring the Nest by touching up paint, repairing or replacing broken things, and giving new life to areas of the house. The grounds of the Nest are being restored for the season with fresh mulch, and landscaping. Our TLC’s are being restored by having time to rejuvenate and tend to other things outside the Nest. As a staff, we have laughed, had time apart, had time together, pulled pranks on our boss lady, prayed fervently, tended to our families on a deeper level, enjoyed time away, and prayed for what’s to come. The shiplap on my life is slowly being restored as well. I have slept deeper than I have in awhile. I soak in the days of summer with just my kids at the Nest. I relish in the longer conversations and catch up time with our volunteers. I take time more frequently to connect with our past residents. And of course, whenever we can…Geries and I always try to get a dose of Fixer Upper into our schedule. God has been good. He is teaching us, restoring us, and allowing our shiplap to have life once again.

Housemom Amanda