After a wonderful family vacation on the east coast last summer, we reluctantly said our goodbyes. Still euphoric after a glorious three weeks of travel from Pacific islands to Atlantic seacoasts, life brought us back to reality.Obviously we love water. Ironically we returned home to about an inch and a half of it flooding our basement. While we were having fun in the sun on the beach, an eroded water heater slowly leaked out hundreds of gallons of water, leaving a stagnant mess. The water had wicked up the walls and furniture, leaving black marks and stale odors everywhere.
The first thing I noticed was an unusual waft of stale air when we entered our home. Next was a soggy shoe as my foot landed on the carpeting at the bottom of the stairs. Last was the splashing of my footsteps as I moved toward the center of the room. No longer could I deny that we had a problem. No longer could I ignore the fact that vacation was over and we had a long night of clean up ahead. How I wished that I could just walk away and leave the mess for someone else to clean up!
A few hours later we were exhausted and the glow of the much needed vacation had waned a bit. Little did we know that this event would start a year-long remodel of the basement space with foundation, electrical, cement and carpentry work. It would be expensive and disruptive.
However, the disruption has been a learning experience (ahem!) as well. We found out that we have been moved into another stage of our lives. We needed to downsize. We needed to get rid of so much stuff that has been a part of our lives for so long. We needed to move on and just get the remodeling done. We needed to… Aughhhhhhh!
OK, stop! I tell myself. Stop for the reality check!
If I am honest with myself, my human nature is very much like the stale water we found in our basement that afternoon. The water invaded at a time when I was relaxed and not ready to deal with a problem. In the same way, my human nature wants to lay back when I need to be more open to God's will. The water was stinky and smelly, a hotbed of mold and mildew. It wanted to sneak in while the real me was gone on vacation. It entered my life when I least welcomed it, and it hung around way too long. It created an unhealthy state.
Not only did my basement need a new interior design, so did my heart.
This is not a pleasant thought, and yet after diving into God's Word, I have the answer to any of the unwanted and hard things that confront us in this life. I was reminded of the secret to handling life, no matter what the stage.
I can do all things through him [Christ] who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
When you are in the Lord, it really is that simple. Water in the basement? I can do all things. Husband taking a new job in another state? I can do all things. New baby in the house? I can do all things. Lost my job, my status, my health, my family member? It may not be easy; even so, in Christ I can do all things.
Skeptics label this attitude naive and unrealistic. The truth is, without the Lord, I cannot do anything well. Name something that has you cranked up and weary. There’s a reason it came into your life. Ask me why I say this and my answer will be the same, “I don’t know why this happened, but I do know that God has a holy purpose for your life and he will turn this [insert problem/trouble/issue/trial] into a good thing for you.”
My heart gets so centered on things of this life at times. It takes an event to wake me up. While my focus is looking down, the Lord permits something that gets me looking up. After a lifetime of "disruptions", I no longer question the Lord’s wisdom. He does all things well. He gives me strength to handle anything. Yes, I can!
A year later, not only do we have a beautifully remodeled basement nearly finished; I have had an opportunity to get a different perspective on what is important. It is not about the exterior design around me. It is about the interior design of my heart’s response while I am in the moment.
How about you? What redesign opportunities have been sent your way lately?
Dearest Savior, thank you for times of relaxing and times to seek your will. Forgive the times when I see life's trials as expensive and disruptive instead of opportunities to see your strength at work in me. Guard my heart and keep it focused on you. In your precious name, Amen.