From Mistake to Miracle

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Last night, I began reading The Magnolia Story, the bestseller written by HGTV’s favorite couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines. Though I didn’t get very far into the book, I know it will be a fun read.

The first chapter detailed how the fabulous family began their show business career. It turns out, neither of them had ever thought of being—nor desired to be—on television. But when a producer from HGTV contacted Joanna and conveyed her interest in creating a show based on the Gaines’ house-flipping business, Joanna was intrigued. Chip, on the other hand, felt sure it was a scam and encouraged his wife to let it go.

Meanwhile, Chip purchased a houseboat, sight unseen, for the family to live in during the transition from their existing home to the completion of their new farmhouse. He was so excited, but he kept his purchase a secret, waiting to surprise Joanna when the houseboat arrived.

Fortunately, Joanna didn’t heed Chip’s advice, and she contacted HGTV, who sent out a film crew to shoot footage for an advertisement for the new show. It was only after the team arrived that Chip and Joanna both discovered they were horrible on camera. Chip completely froze up, and Joanna came across dull and flat. Despite their attempts to be natural, both of them lost their charming personalities as soon as the cameras began rolling.

Things were so bad that the leader of the film crew told them if they didn’t get their act together, there would be no show. They had one more day to prove they could do this. It just “happened” to be the same day the new houseboat arrived. The crew followed the Gaines’ to the unveiling of Chip’s secret, and once he removed Joanna’s blindfold, both suddenly forgot about the cameras. Chip was ecstatic. Joanna was irate.

As the two explored their new purchase, they discovered it was full of holes and mold. The thing was a complete disaster, and Chip realized he was the one who had been scammed. When Joanna recognized how badly her husband was hurting, she softened her frustration and sought to encourage him by saying maybe they could fix it up. They walked through the boat again as she discussed changes that could turn the mess into a masterpiece, then she sketched out some plans on a piece of paper, growing more excited with every stroke.

As they exited the houseboat, hand in hand, they finally noticed the camera crew and realized they had just blown their chance to become television stars. No one would want to watch a crazy couple argue over a husband’s impulse buy. Imagine their surprise when the head of the crew said, “Now we’ve got a show!” Once their true personalities showed forth, the cameras captured a loving couple who faced an obstacle together and triumphed with love and understanding. Who wouldn’t want to watch that? And so, the popular show, Fixer Upper, was born.

Do you know what I love most about this story? Their “big break” began with a mistake. A scam. A decision made in haste. A situation that could have destroyed a marriage or led to financial ruin. But God had other plans, and He used the mistake to work a miracle. He allowed the hardship so He could lead them on another path, one that would impact millions of people in the years to follow. True to His Word, He gave this faithful couple something far beyond what they could ask or think.

God can do the same for you and me. He excels in turning messes into masterpieces. He is the original Fixer Upper, and He has a beautiful plan for each of our lives. What we need to understand is sometimes that plan involves ugly and unwanted elements (like a leaky houseboat), but God often uses those things as a springboard for the miracles in our lives. So, don’t despair. Your story isn’t over yet. In fact, it may just be getting to the good part. Hang in there, and trust the One with the plan.

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
— Ephesians 3:20-21