And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Romans 8:28-29

God apparently loves fixer uppers. The earth was formless and void before it was ”good.” The Hebrew nation was impoverished and enslaved before they became blessed and free. David was forgotten and irrelevant before God seated him in a place of prominence. And then there’s our story! Called to be conformed into the image of God’s son.

Most days, the completion of this change is impossible to imagine. I am intimately, and painfully, aware of my faults, failures, and fallacies. Deeply ingrained features of my heart stand in utter contrast to what God has planned. But there it is, ”predestined to be conformed.”

It was five years ago when a show about a married remodeling team debuted on HGTV. Fixer Upper became a smash hit and the family’s iconic Magnolia brand has become recognizable nationwide. There is the Magnolia House, the Magnolia Market, and Magnolia Table. Their Texas-based real estate company is called Magnolia Realty. They have a home decor collection called Magnolia Homes and a cookbook titled Magnolia Table. And of course you can learn about all of this on the website, www.magnolia.com

So it was fitting that the series concluded last Tuesday night with a planting of one last magnolia tree. As his kids help him plant the tree next to a refurbished porch, Chip Gaines finally reveals the origin of the symbol. ”You know what’s interesting about a magnolia tree?” he explains, ”One of mama and I’s first dates, I climbed up a magnolia tree, and I pulled her off a magnolia bloom and I gave it to her.”

Symbols, like people themselves have a way of growing and evolving. In their first book, released in 2016, Joanna shares this about the struggles and joys of their journey, and what that symbol means now:

Now that we’ve had some time to reflect on it, it’s as if our whole lives had been preparing us for this experience. We didn’t know it at the time, but it’s as if the seeds had been planted long ago. Have you ever looked at the bud of a magnolia flower? It’s a tight little pod that stays closed up for a long time on the end of its branch until one day, out of nowhere, it finally bursts open into this gigantic, gorgeous, fragrant flower that’s ten times bigger than the bud itself. It’s impossible to imagine that such a big beautiful thing could pop out of that tiny little bud. But it does. And that’s sort of what getting ”discovered” and sharing our lives on Fixer Upper feels like to us.

Most of us agonize over who we are because we know who we should be. Predestined to be conformed into the image of his son. But we forget something very important. If God knew us as we were, and sees us as we will be, he is graciously aware of every variation in between.

Your whole life has been preparing for the experiences of this day. Some memorable. Others seemingly forgettable.

But all relevant to the renovation God is performing in our hearts as he works ”all things together for good.”

While most of us will never be famous, with a national brand and tremendous influence, we are all created to burst open in our own unique ways. What God has done in the DNA of each magnolia bud, he now desires to do in your heart and mine. A closed up tight little pod bursting forth into the gigantic, gorgeous, fragrant image of his son.

So let me leave you with that question asked by Joanna near the end of each episode. Are you ready for your fixer-upper


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