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In the dream workshop my son, Kris, and I built with raw logs one timber at a time, we’ve accumulated a lifetime of gadgets and equipment. We have a lot of really great tools, some for very specific tasks and many that have multiple functions. When I consider the “general tool” category, the most valuable item that comes to my mind is duct tape.

I know many people wouldn’t consider this a tool, but you can do unlimited things with duct tape! I’ve patched the inside of a tire with duct tape, then driven hundreds of miles. I’ve used it to hold things together for decades, like heating duct in an attic. I use it to keep things together temporarily until a more permanent attachment is made. I once used duct tape to hold a hernia in place on my lower abdomen until I could schedule surgery to repair it permanently. Duct tape’s uses are really too numerous to count—it’s invaluable in the environs of a workshop.

I consider myself a resourceful guy who likes to fix things. But I take it too far when I bring the most trusted item from my workshop into my world of relationships and try to use my “duct tape” to mend a relationship—or at least to temporarily hold the relationship together until I can come back with more attention for a more permanent solution. Duct tape works wonders on inanimate objects, but when I think I can fix relationships the way I fix things, I need a gut check from God.

In 38 years of marriage, how much figurative duct tape have I tried to wrap around my wife to attempt to fix the things I think need fixing in her? Most often I’m the one who needs attention, not with duct tape, but with something that comes not off a roll but from an infinite, inexhaustible source: God’s love. God has an endless supply of that for each of us to both receive and give to others. And as we seek to repair relationships, the key to that restoration and healing most often comes out of our surrendering to God what we think we can fix and giving to God what only he can mend with his infinite love. When it comes to rifts and wounds in our souls, God is the only source for healing—his love dispensed through us.

God, forgive me for thinking my duct tape will work with the relationships in my life. I surrender my efforts here. I have run out of duct tape, and I turn to your love as the source of healing and redemption. Change my heart with your love so that I begin to trust in your love as the only agent able to repair what has gone wrong in the relationships of my life—beginning with my relationship with you.

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