These last 12 months have been an adventure.
Two years ago we purchased fixer-upper house because we loved the location, large yard, and lake access. However, to make our new home more functional for our large family and entertaining style, we needed to put on an addition and redo absolutely everything inside and out. And anyone who has ever endured any remolding or construction project knows “adventure” is said more tongue-in-cheek.
So as we’re winding down on Phase 1: The Addition, I decided to look back at what I journaled during this past year. Some of the things I’ve written during this season are between myself and the Lord Jesus, but I would like to share this piece of the journey with you today.
As I write this, the addition is coming off the paper and into the reality of our lives. Outside our kitchen window, we have an excavation crew digging a massive hole for its foundation. As each bucket of soil is removed and placed safely to the side, I can’t help but think of the excavation I’ve asked God to perform in my heart. As the hole gets bigger and deeper, I feel more and more exposed and vulnerable. I know I’m safe in His care, but I’m still afraid. Like Adam and Eve, I want to cover myself with fig leaves to hide my nakedness and shame. But God wants to take my shame and cover me with grace, forgiveness, and love. He wants to heal my brokenness, make me new, and build my faith. I know it must be done, despite my pain and fear. I’m confident when He’s finished; the results will be worth it. Like completely redoing our new home, the task is daunting and overwhelming. But I trust Him.
As the excavator tirelessly works, I’m mesmerized by the vast amount of sand deep in our soil. Although this is ideal for drainage, it’s not ideal for stability on top of the mounds. I’m afraid of the soil falling back into the hole hurting one of the crew members or the excavator sliding in on top of one of them. But thanks to the operator’s well-practiced hand, that doesn’t happen! Reassured I walk away and go back to work.
The excavation is going well. The thrum of the machinery provides the perfect white noise for working; I’m elbow deep in writing this Bible study…
Frantic, I race to the window, imagining the excavator at the bottom of the pit while trying not to visualize broken bodies and blood. I’ve already dialed 911, and just as I’m about to hit send I stand at the window—frozen. Unable to move.
Finally, my eyes begin communicating with my brain. The excavator is where he needs to be! All the workers are safe and secure. No broken bodies. No blood. All is well. Relief washes over me.
Later, I learned the jarring crunch was the bucket of the excavator hitting the foundation of a house that once dominated our property. Fire destroyed it almost a century ago; and instead of being cleared away correctly, it was bulldozed in on itself and covered with soil to be forgotten. And it was forgotten…for a long time. Life went on and the memory of the house faded. Another house was added to the property by a new family who moved in and then out again; then another family moved in and out again. Now it is our turn to live here. We had no idea that house ever existed, and would still be clueless had we not decided to add on.
Interestingly, that old house and its foundation didn’t go away. The materials were much the same as when they were bulldozed into the hole and covered up. They didn’t disintegrate. They didn’t disappear. It was all still there to be unearthed several decades later.
Now, the only way to remove the old foundation is to pulverize it with a jackhammer and remove it piece-by-piece along with several bucket loads of the remaining old bricks and house debris. This is much more difficult to remove than soil and takes much longer—extending the time of the excavation. However, it’s critical to remove all the old debris to lay a solid foundation for the addition. Without that, the structure would be unstable and would soon collapse in on itself.
I have a strong faith, but God is adding onto it to equip me to accomplish the tass He’s given me: writing Bible studies and devotionals and speaking. I’m thankful for this addition, because, quite honestly, these tasks terrify me! So in preparation, I’ve asked Him to excavate everything not honoring to Him and to rebuild me with the skills and characteristics necessary to do what He’s called me to do.
As He removes each bucket of soil and debris, He’s exposing things I didn’t even realize were there. Some of those things will require a jackhammer to excavate—which is terrifying in itself . However, I know once it’s all cleared, the stage will be set to build the faith needed to fulfill the task before me.
Beloved, it’s the same with your heart. You can’t build a lasting structure of faith without a solid foundation built on Jesus Christ. You may need to ask Him to perform an excavation of your heart as well. You may have things buried so deeply they’ve been forgotten, while other things will require the use of a jackhammer. That’s ok. I do too. It hurts, and it’s scary–but it’s worth it.
Just remember through it all, Jesus has your back. He’s with you each step of the way (Mt. 28:20). He won’t abandon us or forget us (Deut. 31:6).
Journal exercise: Journal through the excavation, because God reveals a little at a time rather than the whole mess at once. He exposes and heals; and exposes and heals until all is cleared for your new foundation to be laid.
Plus, when I write the things down, I ignore them anymore. I have to face them–in my own handwriting—and chose to bury them again and risk an unstable foundation or to declare victory over them and live in freedom.
Today I was able to look back at those old journal entries and see how my God has been faithful. And my faith grew, giving me hope, courage, and endurance to tackle future issues. Sweet One, I desperately want the same freedom for you!