Take 5 with Kathy – "Keeping the end in sight…"
Looking out my window this morning I see a huge unfinished project. We’re in the midst of a deck rebuild which is proving to be a much more involved process than we anticipated. I knew it could be, but eight days into the job, I peer through the windows and see a retaining wall, the first support beams, and four twelve-foot posts sticking up in thin air like wooden monoliths. Good thing it’s in the back yard or people driving by would wonder what on earth we’re building! Actually, the posts will be part of an eight-foot diameter octagonal gazebo attached to the deck. At first glance you might be tempted to think, “Why did it take eight days to get to this point?” Look a little more closely though and you would see…
…a very muddy and torn-up back and side yard due to the fact we had to bring in a mini-excavator to dig holes for the concrete sonotube footings…after a half-day’s attempt with a two-man auger to drill holes, it was no match for the bedrock only two feet down…so much for the four-foot requirement. Not even the excavator could get through it!
…an extremely neat level gravel underlay covering the ugly uneven ground that existed under our old deck…one carpenter – turned landscaper for the first phase of this reno – said it looked like “gopher holes” before they started…six tons of gravel all moved by wheelbarrow!
…a lovely wooden retaining wall holding back some of the gravel and angling around the base of the gazebo providing some new garden space
…an octagonal structure forming the base of the gazebo now positioned perfectly on top of support beams which rest on the footings…I wondered why they built this frame on day two until I saw them painstakingly position/reposition it time after time on the ground to know exactly where to dig for the footings
…the large disposal bin gracing our driveway which is almost due to be emptied a second time
I figured there had to be some spiritual lessons in all of this somewhere and I remembered what our contractor had told me the day the excavator left such an ugly mess, “You have to keep the end result in mind, Kathy. I know it looks bad now, but we’re going to fix it all up and it will be beautiful.” As he began to explain the process and help me visualize the big picture, I had to just trust him and leave it all in the Lord’s capable hands. Here are a few insights I’ve gleaned so far from this project:
…taking the necessary time to measure everything not only once but several times ensures that what you can’t literally see at the moment fits together accurately later. As I watched them measure for the placement of the footings time after time, I began to understand the importance of these steps as they positioned the gazebo floor support into place. When they began to lower those “monolith” posts into position and they all sat perfectly on top of the footings, I felt myself breathe a sigh of relief. I heard an elated “Yeah!!” out of the two carpenters which made me feel even better.
I thought of my life and how I so often get frustrated or discouraged with the growth processes God takes me through. I’ve been reminded a few times this week to think of these times as a “gift” from God and something to be received rather than steps to be avoided and unappreciated. It takes time to build a proper secure foundation on which God can continue developing me into the person He designed me to be.
Psalm 18:30-36 says, “As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him. For who is God besides the Lord? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. You broaden the path beneath me, so that my ankles do not turn.”
Isn’t that just so awesome!! He is my Rock who provides me with a solid foundation on which to stand. When I saw the huge slab of bedrock that sits exactly where most of the footings were to go, we all chuckled as we agreed those footings, pegged into the bedrock, could not be a more sure support for our new deck.
As I watch things taking shape, I’m beginning to see past the mess, the ugliness, the brokenness. It gives me renewed confidence that, “He who began a good work in (me) will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6