A Housefire and Becoming New
This summer my childhood home, my parent’s current home, caught on fire. Everyone inside got out safely, but the fire damaged the entire home, leaving some parts completely obliterated. What remains is a thick, choking smell of everything burned.
That ceiling that once sealed the space, keeping everything and everyone inside safe, is no longer. The blaze lapped it up with no consideration for how it once sprawled across our home like a shield of protection. All the dialogues, ideas, tears, and giggles that were held inside are now scorched, floating away through the open roof.
What remains is a thick, choking smell of everything burned.
Smoke penetrates all the home’s contents, memories and all. Within hours, a white work van pulled up with words like “Major Structural Repair” and “Restoration” scrawled across its sides. The professionals came in and took inventory of all that was left: some charred, weakened studs, some still sturdy, some unsalvageable belongings, some they could restore.
When we face either by choice or by unexpected tragedy, a season of deep self-reflection, the only way to take true inventory is to get down to our bare-boned studs and stare truth in the face. We must rip off, however painful, the “perfect” walls and see what’s under the façade we’ve constructed.
And sometimes? Sometimes we require a major overhaul. A “major structural repair” of the soul. A rebuild.
Sometimes our foundation is cracked, our studs our charred, our bones are weakened.
Just like some rooms in my parent’s home, we must completely rip out the old and rebuild. When our very foundation isn’t healthy or built on something steady, it isn’t safe or wise to continue building. When our identity is built upon a foundation of achievements, relationships, or appearances it will inevitably crumble. We can only perform for so long.
But when our identity and worth at our very core is found in Christ, we can be certain we are building our foundation on something unshakeable.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)
If we have to prove ourselves to gain our worth, we aren’t doing it right.
But if our worth is found by gazing to our God and reminding ourselves of the truths He speaks over us, we can be confident that our foundation is built upon a strong, unchangeable rock. He loves us so much that He calls us His children. That’s it. Just as we are, He loves us and considers us His children.
It’s a simple message; yet for many of us it’s difficult to accept about ourselves, let alone make the foundation of our being. Rebuilding our identity with this truth as our core can be a difficult, long journey, but it’s the foundation the Lord desires to build upon.
When we’ve done the hard work to rebuild a strong foundation, we get to next focus on restoration: making better what’s already been.
As contractors work to reconstruct the foundational structures, my parents have started considering upgrades and changes they’d like to restore their home to be even more functional than it was before.
Likewise, when we’re certain we have a strong foundation with our identity found in Christ, we can begin contemplating how restoration can make better what’s already been.
Maybe we need to change our “floor plan” to remove walls in order to allow for others we wouldn’t typically welcome into our lives, creating more of an “open concept.” Or maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe we need to add some walls, some boundaries, in areas of our life that need more of a defined space. Or it could be that, when Christ is our core, we realize what we had hanging on the wall as a focal point really isn’t where our priorities lie anymore.
Maybe instead we now hang frames of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control as our centerpiece, so that those we meet immediately see:
These are my priorities, now.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Ephesians 4:22-24)
All this rebuilding and restoration may seem like an impossibly giant task. And yes, it is giant, but it sure isn’t impossible. It’s God’s desire for our lives to be made new in him. To reflect more of him, one step at a time.
My parent’s house is slated to be done in eight months. I can’t wait to see all the fabulous changes.
Megan O’Connell is an educator turned stay at home mommy. She taught preschool and elementary school before deciding to be home full time with her silly and sassy little boy. Megan is driven by real relationships that support and encourage one another, by being transparent about the yuck along with the fun. You can find her at Mothering the Toddling, where she blogs along side her dear friend about building community, secondary infertility, and motherhood shenanigans.