Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Torn Down & Rebuilt

Fixer-upper shows fascinate me. A house is picked that badly needs a do-over, a vision is cast for the final product and viola! Whatever needs to be done, it's fixed, cleaned and ready to move back in within minutes, typically in a 1 hour tv show.  Sounds like a great idea, right?


While preparing our cabin on the grounds of the Neshoba County Fair, William threw out an idea: He would replace our tiny shower with a much larger one *IF* we would all help to replace some foundation piers under the cabin.

At his suggestion, I took one look at the kids and said, "Let's do it together!"

Our cabin was built in the mid 1950s by William's dad and grandfather. It's stood tall and secure for over half a century, entertained and slept many each summer. But we began to notice the cabin shaking a bit each Fair season as people would walk on the floor, take the stairs, or even step foot on the front porch. Something was wrong.

As we began to assess where to begin with removing the foundation piers, we used jacks to lift the cabin. A root ball along with the trunk of the tree had grown so much over the years, it had lifted one corner of the cabin and caused the center portion of the cabin to sink. The building wasn't level. Nothing was plumb or square. We surmised doing the work ourselves would take a couple of weeks. All of that changed when we got further into the renovation and discovered many of the foundation piers were rotten. Most of them were missing portions due to years of flooding rains underneath the cabin. As we pulled each pier out, we marveled at how strong it used to be, only to be splinters now.  And the deeper we got into the project, the heavier the replacement piers became, the darker it was under the cabin, the more cuts, bruises and dings we acquired and the worse we smelled!
Countless fair cabin residents drove by our family every day gawking at the mess we had made. Piles of lumber, old wood strewn about, dirt for days, an exposed cabin, all sprawled out for people to see. Some would stop and wish us well in our endeavors. Others were surprised we were doing most of the work by ourselves.  But a few would ask out of curiosity, "Do you think you'll have it finished and ready for the Fair?"

I wondered a few times why we couldn't just saw the worn, torn and rotten spots off the old piers and use the good pieces of wood? I believe some would call that "wood restoration", yet it wasn't an option because those piers were already weakened. 

What God doesn't restore, He replaces.

When we begin to see issues creep up on the surface of our lives, they catch our attention. It's not until we begin to peel back the layers and go deeper in our walk with the Lord that we begin to see just how broken we truly are. Reconstruction can't begin until demolition is complete. The tough part about deconstruction phase is that it's ugly, messy, and no one wants to be around it, much less offer to help.

Yet this is the phase of the project where God steps in! 

Psalm 121:1-2 says, "I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth." Facing those sins and dark spots in our life isn't pretty (that's the demolition part), but thanks be to God that He makes all things new by His grace, mercy and forgiveness of our past (that's the reconstruction part).  

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 proves it: "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." Even after we raised the foundation piers higher so they couldn't be affected anymore by the erosion of future rains, I was quickly reminded: With elevation comes separation from all things that cause contamination.

In the Bible, God used no one until He put them through the university of adversity. Only then did He allow them to become a leader in the Kingdom of God. So while the task of dealing with our short comings, sin, and shaky past isn't always joy-filled during the process, allow God to be the foreman of the reconstruction project to build something more glorifying of Him.

So put your tool belt on, friend. Sometimes you must be torn down so that you can be built back up again. It's not a loss. It's just God helping you clean house.

(Barbie will be emceeing the Ovarian Cancer Lunch & Learn with St. Dominic and Newk's this Thursday at the Mississippi Ag Museum)

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