My husband said to me this weekend, “ You are so good at making so much out of so little.” At first that filled my pride bubble just a little because I enjoy being frugal and thrifty and it was nice to see my efforts not go unnoticed. As I thought a little more about it and saw all the ways God has left room for thrifty-ness and frugality I began to see it all in a different light.
We have been very resourceful as we have been renovating the school building. We started off with this shell:
Our goals were to make the space welcoming and inviting, lessen the echo-like sound that occurs in a big, open, hard-floored space, and change the harsh lighting to a warmer alternative. Our budget…as little as possible.
As I looked back on this process I saw the things we had done and the choices we had made to save on costs. Then I looked at the people that made it happen and my eyes were opened to all the ways that God has showered blessing upon blessing to go along our efforts.
We had gotten a quote from a good friend who also happens to be a professional painter to paint the ceiling. While it as a good quote, it was still out of our price range so we decided to rent a scissor lift and do it ourselves. We were blessed with a huge discount on the rental and many dedicated people who put in many hours of painting up on the lift. (And the 12 year old become the best of all of the drivers.)
Once we had a clean slate, we got to work on installing the pendent lighting. We were blessed with a solution found at the dollar store, a small order from Amazon, some wire from Home Depot, and the work of a few men who have learned the art of wiring through home projects.
All the while, we were continuing work on the “acoustical panels.” Originally we were going to make them using a design we had found on YouTube, however those were meant to hang on a wall, not the ceiling so they didn’t work as expected. The towels that were donated and sought out were not needed and will be donated to a charity. We adjusted our design, purchased a few more supplies and asked for donated sheets. That design was a flop as well, but none of the supplies were wasted and the sheets will be donated to a charity as well. Our final design ended up costing us about $8 a panel. We were blessed with engineering mindsets that helped us adjust our plan as we experimented, advice from a sound expert to hang them at varying angles to break up the sound waves more efficiently, and again, the time and effort of many people who helped to make and hang all the panels.
Early on we had priced out carpet for this large room and realized that $2000 for carpet would not be part of our reality. We had planned to re-paint the concrete floor and snag some area rugs. God had other plans. When searching the free section of Craigslist we decided to answer an ad for free countertops (another project we have yet to start). God blessed this move by taking us to the old JC Penny Headquarters and allowing us to look through acres of office space for free and very, very cheap supplies. We got white boards, bulletin boards, maker-space supplies, office supplies, shelving, chairs, and lots of other treasures. On a second trip back we were blessed with carpet. Yes it is used and not perfect, but it saved us $1800 and has finished out the remodel of this space very nicely.
Currently Mark is working on building the reception desk out of a bunkbed we found on the side of the road and pallet wood. We are also working on prepping old fence pieces to be installed on the green wall. Even “trash” can be a blessing.
The moral of this story:
Sometimes you have to look hard for assets that God has already provided, but when you do they are there. He has blessed our efforts and has shown His blessing to us. We often tend to only notice the extravagant blessings. I challenge you to seek out the common ones, turning the unnoticed into noticed. And when you begin to notice the little things, they really don’t seem that little anymore. James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
Even more so, the ultimate example of resourcefulness is the great value God sees in each person and the loving diligence He exerts to “seek and to save” that which is lost. He uses us, still sinners, to do His work in this world. He turns our broken selves into His beautiful treasure. The song “Beautiful Things” is one of my favorites. Take some time to read the lyrics and the scriptures to see God’s great love for you today. https://worshipwithscripture.com/2014/02/25/songs-scripture-beautiful-things-michael-and-lisa-gungor/
Thanks so much for your beautiful story Jenni. It is great to see how God is using you, your family and your friends to make so much out of so little. He is a great God and always goes beyond what we can imagine.