"Snippet" -- a small piece or brief extract
This summer and the Covid-19 pandemic have given us opportunity and funds to delve into much-needed home improvements. For those of you who may not know, we live in a house built in 1882 and moved twice (quite a feat for a 2-story, 2300-sq. foot house). She is not exactly a mobile home, so the two moves have taken their toll on her. . . .and now, she's a bit -- unbalanced . . . unlevel. When you are in the midst of home renovations, this brings some (ahem) UNIQUE challenges. My husband has stepped up to every challenge with bravery, math skills, growing carpentry/DIY capability -- and he has done some amazing work in less-than-ideal circumstances! Whew, but there have been moments. . . .have you ever been there? Maybe not with home improvements. . . maybe in life. . . suddenly, things are unbalanced, unlevel, not right and not easily fixed? How do you handle that? Now, listen -- no judgements here, because the truth is -- those are hard times! And we're very human in our house . . .maybe yours, too?
Sometimes, Shane has been upstairs working while I was writing or on a webinar and I would hear growls, choice words, or the slamming of whatever carpentry project he was working on with a bit of extra power and vehemence. . . We don't always handle those unlevel challenges well. We want the corners of our life to match up. We want all the parts to match where they are supposed to. We don't want our holes exposed. We don't want anyone to see we are unbalanced. We want to be able to put the level or the plumb line to our life and see the bubble in the middle of the window. Unfortunately, oftentimes life isn't like that at all. That bubble bumps the right end of the window or the left! Sometimes there's a big 'ol gap in the corner that you're going to have to do some extra work to fix. And sometimes, there are problems that happened WAY BEFORE you that YOU CAN'T FIX! (Anybody ever heard of Adam and Eve? Hello!) Some of these house issues were not created by us and we can't fix them all! Some of them we simply have to live with or work around.
The scriptures give us some great tips for handling life when it gets unbalanced. Jesus tells the parable of the wise man and the foolish man who were building a house. His message?
1. Make sure you have a good foundation! That is the first really important thing. What are you building your life on? I Corinthians 3 says it this way (Message translation) Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely.
Psalm 127:1 (NIV)
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.
2. Look to God and Jesus when things are unbalanced and unlevel.
Hebrews 12: 1b and 2a And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.Psalm 1211 I look up to the mountains--
does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth!
The psalmist wasn't always so confident. There are laments throughout the book of Psalms. There were times of doubt. There were times of struggle. There were times he couldn't fix whatever issue he was facing. Somedays he railed at God. My friends, God is big enough for that, too, and NOTHING you say or do catches God by surprise. He loves you NO MATTER WHAT, but His desire is to help you achieve your best -- to be the best version of yourself. He wants to build you into a Mansion -- if you'll let Him.
Sometimes, others have harmed us until we are so unlevel and unbalanced we are unrecognizable. Sometimes, we've made bad choices that have turned our life topsy-turvy, left holes in the drywall, tiles missing, ceiling boards drooping, water damage. . . .luckily, our Savior was a carpenter :-) He knows all the tricks of the trade and if you surrender to Him, he can begin making those changes to help you shine -- He's got the joint compound to fill in the holes. He's got the sandpaper to smooth the rough edges. The nails that put Him on the cross can put you back together in His hands.
If you're feeling unlevel and unbalanced, I urge you to cry out to Him. Build your life on Him and fix your eyes on Him. The Master Carpenter, the Creator of the Universe can build you up into everything HE knows you can be.
We've surrendered, but that doesn't mean all the days are rosy and perfect. We still find those unbalanced places, those unlevel spaces -- in our house -- and in our heart. And when we do, we have to surrender all over again. We have to do our part and allow Him to do His part. It's a journey -- much like renovating an old house. It will always be a work in progress.
I've been a teacher of K-3 students for over 20 years; I'm also a writer of poems, short stories, devotionals and picture books. I'm wife to an amazing husband and mom to Sparkles the kitty. I love reading, writing, singing and listening to music. I enjoy nature, Bible study and spending time with friends and family!