Much has happened in our lives in the past 6 months — make that 3 years — but who’s counting, right !!! I thought some of you might like to see some of those famous “before and after” pictures of what’s been going on at our little cottage. This has been in the making for about 6 months as my husband, along with many others assisting, worked very hard to make this house a home for us.
It’s a true story of restoration and redemption. There are so many “behind-the-scene” stories of grace, generosity, friendships –new and old — coming together to make this place that today we call “home”. Our children added their hard labor into the mix and we were able to bless some people from the neighborhood with some work here and there — a huge blessing to us in more ways than one! Friends, local and out-of-town , came in to lend a hand and the cycle of grace goes on and on.
Along with all-hands-on-deck kind of help, friends and family donated kitchen appliances, siding, furniture, paint, beautiful tile flooring, windows, front porch rockers, a brand new washer and dryer, an air conditioner (a huge favorite of mine here in hot Alabama!!), electrical wiring, serious tools, and from a shower curtain and bed linens all the way down to kitchen cabinet knobs, decorations and lots of amazing food !!! And some unfortunately gave without meaning to when their tools were sadly stolen. It’s tough when others suffer loss due to a calling not their own — but it’s a story of really walking together in community — and isn’t that what one body is supposed to look like …sharing the good and the bad as if the calling of one is personal to all of us?
But I have to say, I think my husband is one of the greatest men alive ! He’s worked tirelessly to not only remodel this house but to do the little things he knew would make it a warm and happy place for me. His love to me is shown all over this house and I thank him for his vision and perseverance as he took a $8,900 broken down house and turned it into a beautiful home. He commuted back and forth between Connecticut and Alabama for 6 months without significant income much of that time. He even put some of his own dreams on hold for the benefit of others. Many lonely nights were spent for both of us while he was away but we’re finally here together and ready for this new season of adventure . (Hmmm…we’ve had a LOT of adventurous seasons now that I think about it !!)
Isaiah 58:12 was impressed on me by God in describing His plan and work through my husband, Roger …
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
And I have to believe the visual picture we see of the actual walls repaired will only be multiplied in the spiritual realm as broken lives are restored and repaired as well!
Of course, our home is just part of the story, but God seems to be doing something major in us and those around us as we love the people He’s given us the privilege to live among.
You see, God’s had His hand on this house long before Roger and I ever laid eyes on it ! He had started the process by putting it on another pastor’s heart to buy this house with a dream of using it to bring life and the Light of Jesus into the neighborhood. The dream and passion seemed to have died when the money ran low but God never ran out … God’s purposes are never thwarted and the purposes He had for this house and the people who were already planted in this fertile ground — well, that was going to happen no matter what ! It just came about in a little different way.
This place has been prayed over long before we even knew it existed and it is humbling to know that we are a part of a much larger thread that God is weaving. When one knot was tied off, He pulled our thread up and wove us right into the tapestry of this place. And you know what, He’s not going to end it with us !! There’s more — and more people He wants to pull up by their individual thread and weave them into this grand and glorious work of art ! Maybe even you !
Whatever your dreams and passions are — trust God to accomplish that good work He began in you. There are more houses to be remodeled … more lives to be restored …more good news to be proclaimed …more “planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” (from Isaiah 61)
So, this is not necessarily a story about the Martin’s — as much as it’s a story about all of us and God’s amazing work that is so far beyond anything any of us can even begin to imagine. There’s a huge picture out there in the heavenly realm and wherever my purple thread meets your blue or pink or brown thread …it’s a beautiful picture being woven together !!! In all honesty, this house belongs to God and all who are connected are a part of these pictures !
So while we’re still working on the final touches– trim work, curtains, pictures, etc. — it’s already a miracle of God’s handiwork.
And I just have to say “Thank You”, first of all to all who tearfully said good-bye to us, cheering us on in spite of the grief and loss. You sacrificially gave us such a gift as we stepped out in this call of God on our lives. And secondly, “Thank You” to all of you who prayed and painted and gave and encouraged and cooked and humored me through all the picture updates I posted on Facebook and still continue to love us through it all!
This is the house that God built …through ALL of us !