I have long held the belief that we are put here on earth to learn to love each other as God loves us. I also believe that in order to do so, we must look for God in each other. So it stands to reason, in my mind at least, that each and every personal encounter with each other can bring us closer to God, if we let it. If we are truly looking for God in each other, then it is not uncommon to recognize Him in our everyday conversations.
And so my beliefs and my attitude have been profoundly shaped recently through this process of building our house. I have earnestly tried to keep this house just a wee bit “above the earth” – as evidenced by the truckloads of dirt underneath it. (Just kidding…sort of.) When we began, it was a project. Something to do and dream about and plan. Then we broke ground and it became something to watch grow. We had waited sixteen years to build a house, while the dream floated somewhere in the back of our minds, waiting for the “perfect” timing. Living any day on this earth should prove to all of us that there is no such thing as “perfect timing,” so we finally, cautiously moved forward.
As the frame went up, it became something to breathe God into. I feared that all that waiting and planning and dreaming would crash down around me if I put too much faith in and emphasis on the building itself. I had to keep my mind in the right place, my creative heart aimed at my own Creator, my hopes pinned to the promise that no matter what happens on this earth the next life is sweeter than I can possibly imagine. I etched his Word into the frame and the foundation, praying constantly that this earthly home will always point me toward my eternal home.
And then the most amazing thing happened. This gorgeous house developed before my eyes. It’s far better than anything I could have planned on my own. Dom keeps giving me the credit. While I picked out fixtures and countertops and paint colors, I knew there was something more powerful at work here. I knew we were being blessed. And I knew we were first blessed with our builder.
Through five months of building this house, we have taken advice and guidance from our builder, Dominick. We have weighed options and made decisions together. We have dug holes, shopped, and painted together. We have laughed and worried together. We have talked each other down from the rafters when necessary. He has sent me to Home Depot more times than I care to count. (He’s going to read this at some point, and laugh at that!!) In short, we trust him. And I think he genuinely enjoys making our home beautiful, even if we do drive him insane. 😉
As Thanksgiving drew near I was admittedly disappointed to learn that we would not be ready to move in as I had hoped. I had already made December plans for the house, and thought surely I’d be moving in amongst everyone enjoying Thanksgiving Dinner at my in-laws’ next door. Plus, my quickly-dwindling vacation time at work could be paired with the long weekend and voila! I’d have a whole week to move! But alas…
The thought of waiting until sometime in December frayed my nerves and bashed my plans. It took me more than a few moments to deal with it properly. What about Christmas decorations? What about Christmas parties? What about the tree and the lights and the hot cocoa in front of the fireplace??? WHAT ABOUT MY HOLIDAAAAAAAYYYYYY????!!!
On a mostly subconscious level I have always known that this process really isn’t about me and Christmas lights. In slowly and begrudgingly letting go of my Christmas plans, I began to see Advent in a new light. This is our preparation and waiting period – we are waiting for something wonderful, something that fulfills a plan. And yet, even as big a part of my world as building this house is right now, it is nothing compared to the real meaning of Advent. The preparation of our hearts to receive God’s grace is far more important than the preparation for a Christmas party.
I began to see a larger “God-moment” forming. As I reflected on my feelings of impatience I saw several parallels: my desire to move things along at a quicker pace paired with situations and plans that I did not know or understand; my disappointment over letting go of my own timeline and letting someone else “drive;” my slow and steady realization that I do not control everything in my world – nor should I.
It all made sense when I just shut up and listened to my own advice: “trust the builder.” This process has gone smoothly for five months with my builder at the wheel. Why should it be any different here at the end? It wasn’t until I gave up my own selfish plans that the proverbial light bulb turned on. And then I saw it – the next parallel – the lesson I am to learn from all this and apply to my life in a much broader and more direct way…
Trust the builder.
How many times have I made my own plans and then “life” got in the way – the building of moments that we so often take for granted? How many times has what I ended up with been so much more amazing than what I had originally planned for myself? How many times does my own Creator have to remind me to trust him?
Trust the builder.
Through my own building experience, God has used Dominick to show me that what is in store for me is so much greater than what I can imagine or what I can plan on my own. Just as Dominick must take his time in making the house perfect for me and Dom, God takes His time in making us perfect for Him. It gives me a sense of peace to see Him working on me through other people. (And, admittedly, it’s a sort of permission to be so messed up.) Patience is crucial – and it comes relatively easy when we really let go and truly – once again – trust the builder.