It begins with just an empty lot, overgrown with weeds and surrounded by the other unassuming houses. People look out their windows, wondering at the boundaries being staked off with orange thread. In the weeks that follow, the work begins; digging the footers, pouring the foundation, building the floor system. As the walls go up, it’s easier to see what is taking shape. But still, it’s not a home; it won’t even be a house for months to come.
At the beginning it’s daunting; looking out over the patch of land and dreaming up a house to build here. My husband, a real estate investor, is building his fourth in four years as I write, and even though he’s been perfecting his building systems, the work still has to be done — a nail, a board at a time. As the building begins to take shape, there’s a spark of hope for the home that is to come, even though the journey to get there is long, arduous and unforgiving.
Life can be like that, too. We draw up plans, dreaming up our ideals and putting them on paper, but there’s no way to know what the final product will look like. What kinds of problems will we encounter along the way? What will necessarily change as we grow and change during the process? As we build, we envision the dwelling serving us and our families for years to come, even beyond our lifetimes. A house represents a legacy; and we pour the work into it because we believe in the future.
Unless Adonai builds the house,
its builders work in vain.
Unless Adonai guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
In vain do you get up early
and put off going to bed,
working hard to earn a living;
for he provides for his beloved,
even when they sleep.
Children too are a gift from Adonai;
the fruit of the womb is a reward.
The children born when one is young.
are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.
How blessed is the man
who has filled his quiver with them;
he will not have to be embarrassed
when contending with foes at the city gate.
(Psalm 127 CJB)
Perhaps arrows represent the legacy we hope to leave; going far beyond what we can accomplish ourselves. So it is with anyone over whom we hold influence, not just children. But children will especially remember the house in all its details; the shelter of their vulnerable years will go with them into adulthood.
Knowing how the atmosphere I create will influence those around me, it could become a matter of performing, of feeling pressure to build the finest home I possibly can. When you see performance mindset, it’s almost always a lack of trust. We have to trust God to build the house — we are participating with Him. We get the plans from him and show up faithfully each day to do our part. If it’s his work, we can trust him that it will be well accomplished.
Trusting is being confident of what we hope for, convinced about things we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1 CJB) When we know our work is the will of God, we can have hope for the future and in the value of what we are working towards.
As we are building up our households, whether it’s the “home” of our inner world, our relationships, our physical surroundings, or our families and communities, let’s ask God to build the house. Even if it takes much longer than we think, even if it doesn’t take the final shape we had in mind, let’s trust him to build with us. I’ve got my hammer and my tool belt at the ready, and I’m trusting him to bring the project to completion.
A wise woman is a woman who trusts.