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The Architect & Me – Part 12: When It Makes No Sense

There have been a few times in life God has asked me to do things that in the natural made no sense. Only to discover, crazy enough, the Maker of heaven and earth knew what He was doing. The first, when He asked me to walk away from a three-book publishing contract, when I first lost my marriage. I didn’t know how I would live financially without that. But God said no. It would be that season, with no pressure of producing, that God would instead produce in my heart the message of reclaiming it, that would birth a book and a ministry. That would not be the last.

And any time He has done this it has made no sense. Not in my eyes. Not to my circumstances. Not to my senses. It felt foolish. Reckless. Imprudent. But here it was again. This hovering of letting go of things that were ministry-related, work-related, to focus on building this home. “What? This can’t be you.”

Covid, as well as time, had already been bringing some natural closure. Our ministry for teenagers had come to an end. Our ministry to the adult entertainment world would be done by the end of the year, so my heart was moving back to writing and teaching Bible Studies. I even believed my next study would be on spiritual warfare, as Covid and all it came with revealed the realm of spiritual warfare greater than I think we’ve ever been able to see with our natural eyes. Yet, I kept hearing the spirit of the Lord say, “I want you to build My house.”

There was such an internal wrestling. What does this mean? How do I walk away from ministry to focus on this house? It feels like trivial work compared to what You’ve called me to do. How can I walk away from a Bible study to focus on balusters and bedding? How could this be You?

Yet, my friends and mentors echoed the message. “I truly believe this is something God wants you to do. To let you enjoy these gifts He’s placed in you.” I heard them. I wanted to receive what they were saying, but my heart was so conflicted. See, we have been conditioned to live so much of our Christian experience inside the confines of “sacred” and “not so much so.” But what I’ve learned through the years, yet it took months reminding myself in this present experience, is God can make anything sacred in our lives if we invite Him into the experience. A round of golf. A trip to the beach with friends. A good movie. It doesn’t have to be religious to be holy. God can make any ground holy ground. Moses was standing by a burning shrub for Pete’s sake and God called it holy.

It would take me a few months to truly surrender to this journey. I would sit down to write thinking, “Surely, I need to be writing.” Nothing would come. I would start thinking about doing a Bible study and I’d feel that check in my Spirit.

Finally, I felt Him say, “You can keep holding onto your belief that you are being unfruitful, or you can surrender and enjoy this journey.” That was the day I did. I just laid it all down. My expectation of what ministry should look like in this season. My fighting Him. My fruitless toiling on “ministry” items that He was not calling me to.

When I did, it was if God began to illuminate things I couldn’t see before that moment. My word for that year was “new wine.” He began to reveal to me that what we were building was for the next and new season. That I needed to let go of some of the old in order for Him to begin to build the new. That what was being built was holy. That it was going to be a home where hearts would be healed. Some would be healed of their past. Some would be healed of their sickness. Some would be healed of their bitterness. Some would be healed who didn’t even know they’d needed healing. They’d find healing through the good food and conversation around the dinner table. Through the worship by the piano. Through the stillness of the water. Through the adventure on the boat. Through the ministry in the Great Room. Through the soul conversation on the dock. Through the quiet of the morning fishing hour.

But what I did not realize was what He wanted to heal in me. I did not realize the residue that remained from my first marriage that needed to be dealt with first. That I needed a season to step away from the day-to-day responsibility of full-time ministry, for Him to minister to me, so He could minister more through me. It would be a season of strengthening my stakes by showing me the wounds that remained.

How God could do that through picking out light fixtures and designing bathrooms was beyond me. But He would… He would take what made no sense in the natural and reveal to me the eternal. He wasn’t just going to build the house I would live in. He would be building me too.

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Hi, I’m Denise!

I love Jesus, my family and friends, my sweet dog Sophie, SEC football and Coca-Cola.