Friday, November 15, 2013

What it takes to build a heart, to build a home

Construction is a loaded word, isn't it? There is so much weight and uncertainty carried in those letters--as though the word itself carries the meaning implied--a little like onomatopoeia--but with loud, clanging, burdensome emotions added to the loud, clanging, cacophony of sounds. It's often a one-two punch. Straight to the heart.

Our house--our roof to be exact--is currently under construction. And with any project at our house, what begins as a simple update turns into a very complicated, very major repair.

The battens under our roof tiles are old, crumbly, decrepit and need to be replaced. It's a necessary maintenance but in the untiling and peeling back and illuminating, we inevitably discovered other pressing issues.

I really hate when that happens.

I'm, admittedly, a bit of a control freak and the husband has what I fondly like to call anal retentive tendencies and so you can imagine the pair we make. If ever one wondered if God had a sense of humor, one only has to look at us: a man with serious compulsions who believes everything should be done to perfection marries a control freak who, as long as she has the control, is all about expediency and calls the clutter good. Oh, and we have three little girls with very large personalities and they all come with their own even larger messes. That's funny stuff. I laugh about it all the time.

But I digress.

Pressing issues are those things that would rather stay hidden and buried and little weeds that take up residence in the garden of my life and no one worries until the day they choke out the good plants and my garden suddenly goes beserk--I suddenly go beserk.

Pressing issues are those troubles and struggles that can't be dealt with unless they are DEALT with. Unpacked. Unloaded. Unavoidable.

We can't go back and cover up our roof issues and pretend like they aren't there. We can't undo the unpacking. The only option is to deal hard. And sometimes long. Hoping that all this untidiness, all this mess and displacement and dust and destruction, will be worth it. And it always is.

We are all construction sites. In various stages of taking apart and putting together. Always growing and learning and dealing and there are those things we'd rather have stay undiscovered. We build detours and bridges and cities right around those things to divert attention away, to distract and discourage visitors, because who wants those things straight out in the open for all our people to witness. God is persistent and presses those tender soul places and holds the pressure until the energy to maintain the facade costs too much of our soul. And we cave. But our caving allows room for God to move in. Our caving is our surrender. He knows that despite our best diversions, those places are the real construction sites because what good is painting walls and renovating floors and fixing lights if your roof is gonna leak wet all over? What good is building new rooms if your current walls, your heart, can't handle the pressure? What good is maintaining a facade if your soul is bleeding right through?

We are constantly being built and rebuilt. There is always the tearing down to be remade as we press deeper into Jesus.

Construction sites are messy places. It's the demolition of the old to make way for the new. I have never seen a tidy construction site. Even at my house with the husband who organizes his messes.

People are messy. Thus construction of our souls is messy and loving people is messy and serving people is messy. Messy, sticky, untidy stuff. To think otherwise is counterproductive. Loving people in the midst of and in spite of and all the way through their own deconstruction and reconstruction is the calling of all Christ-followers, and it's not for the faint of heart. Seeing a renovation through to the finish is heart-rending work. But walking together, knowing that we are all in varying states of deconstruction or reconstruction, is the crux of true community.

I'm convinced that God loves our messiness. That He likes the untidiness in us all because the good stuff is underneath. Under all that untidy is the beauty in the ashes and the pearl of great price--like ripping out old carpet in an older house and discovering beautiful hardwood floors underneath. There can't be a renovation without a demolition. There can't be new construction without the removal of the old and broken. We can't have the tidy, the shiny, the bright without some serious examination of the dull and decrepit and defunct. And that part hurts a bit. Well, a lot.

As God reaches into all our untidy, He unveils what really matters in our souls. He sanctifies and redeems the messes we have wallowed long in and He renovates it all and makes it new. Again and again...

Grace always Rises,

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