When the image opened it took my breath slightly. Living hours away from where we are building, there’s a certain sadness in not getting to see the progress every day. (A builder’s dream, I’m sure.) So, our builder sends us pictures. Today the email was labeled “progress.” My heart rate increased. I pressed “download” and there it was, a picture of the poured footings of the house. Why does it make me weepy? It’s concrete in Georgia red clay. Why are my eyes sweating?
I see the outline of the front porch and the living room and the bedroom and my office. I can see where the stairwell will go and where the master closet will be, and my heart just wishes I could go by every day and see what is going on. It makes me curious why it isn’t that way? Why, in all these years of dreaming of this moment, did it happen that we ended up building a good piece, as we say in the south, from home?
There is so much in this decision that only God could have orchestrated. The refuge this land has been to us in the most beautiful and most challenging places of life. We honeymooned on this lake. We had family vacations on this lake as we were trying to heal all that was broken. We brought our parents here together for them to enjoy time with one another. It was here that God spoke to Philly an idea that changed so much of our destiny. It was here after the worst season we’d ever had in our marriage that God brought us for a time of healing. It was here I celebrated the completion of half a century. (I cannot believe I wrote that, that way.) And it is now, in our parents’ twilight season, that you, God, are allowing us the opportunity to be closer to them for some more sweet years we pray, but for all, we do not know. And now I’m looking at the poured footings that will hold those memories and years.
It would be a couple of weeks before we would see the picture in person. As we rounded the corner of our street on that chilly February afternoon, the enormity of the foundation was shocking. Because the first floor is largely underground with a walkout basement, the foundation walls looked ginormous. We got out of the car and just stood there, silent, not truly capable of taking in all that was in front of us. The first signs of a home. Our home.
Nothing in a home matters more than the footings and foundation. These will be what will hold it all up. The 2×4’s. The brick. The shingles. The bathtubs. The kitchen table. The piano. Nothing remains without sure footings. I now have this picture in the natural of what my heart has known in the spiritual. Without my footing, a sure footing, I will fall.
I walked across the concrete embedded in the Georgia clay as if I was walking a balance beam, while my mind wandered through memories as if it was unbridled on the floor exercise. I went back to the very first Bible Study I ever taught called “Storm Proof.” It was based on the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus ended the sermon with these words, “Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them will be like a wise master builder who built his house on the rock. When the rains came, the winds blew, and the storms beat on the house, the house did not fall. But whoever hears them and does not do them is like a man who built his house on the sand. When the rains came, the winds blew, and the storms beat on the house and great was its fall.”
There is so much in the Bible about buildings and foundations. We are told that Jesus is the Chief Cornerstone. All buildings rest on how the cornerstone is laid. We are also told that “no other foundation can be laid than that which is already laid which is Jesus Christ.” We can spend our lives trying to lay a thousand other foundations, foundations of success, of money, of relationships, of abilities or even of religion. But the true foundation, the one we are meant to build on, has already been laid for us. And the only foundation guaranteed to help us survive the storm. So much wasted time and energy on faulty foundations. All of these thoughts were present as I took in the first signs of our home.
Philly began to scale the perimeter of the foundation trying to give me a heart attack. A man’s body, a boy’s heart. I watched as he maneuvered until he was perched atop the ginormous wall as he took in the sight in front of him. I wondered all his heart was thinking. He shares a great deal with me, but he is unable to share it all. We all are. Some things we simply can’t find words for… Sometimes we don’t even understand all we are feeling or thinking… I stood quietly.
As we pulled away, my heart was still lingering in the metaphors. It couldn’t seem to pull away. The world was just seeing the return of some semblance of normal after the onslaught Covid had brought, and my heart was keenly aware that life has a lot of shifting sand these days. So much uncertainty. So much instability. But yet in all of it, there are these footings in the soul of me that are as sure as the roots of that oak tree that sits on the edge of our land.
So, this is my prayer Father. When hearts enter this home and their footings are shaky and their hearts are storm-tossed, I ask that as soon as they walk onto this foundation there will be this deep settledness of heart they experience. A peace that will still them and will let them know that their foundation, if they will trust it, can be sure.
Thank you for my foundation, Father, both in the natural and the spiritual. Thank you for what you are privileging me to partner with you in building in both the natural and the spiritual. After seeing this beginning to our home, I am certain the foundation is sure.