I had a great time in Sunday School, and quietly sat through church because I knew just when the preacher would start yelling emphatically about whatever preachers yell emphatically about. It didn’t wake up Mr. Brown who continued to snore softly, but it made me stop wiggling because I didn’t want to make him any angrier.
Daddy picked up the big reel-to-reel tape recorder that recorded today’s sermon and stopped at Mrs. Brennan’s house after church. She was crippled and couldn’t make it to church, so Daddy gave her a bulletin, started the tape player and told her what button to push when it was over.
We stopped at the Post Office to pick up the Sunday newspapers on the way out of town. The Post Office was closed to over-the-counter business, but the postmaster was whistling behind the closed window as he completed putting the mail in the pigeon hole boxes. There were rumors that the post offices may stop Sunday delivery, but for now, we enjoyed getting our Sunday mail and the Billings Gazette and the Great Falls Tribune because Mom wrote articles in both.
Today was like every other Sunday. We expected to go home, Mom was going to make an easy lunch, and then we were going to go for a Sunday drive and possibly stop in and visit a neighbor – whoever we might find at home. There was no thought that this Sunday would be any different from any other.
Dad drove out of town towards the farm as we tore the newspaper apart, each reading the section that interested us the most. I had just finished reading through the comic page by the time we got to the end of our lane, not quite a mile from our house.
“Oh, no! The men from the lumber yard are already at the house!” Daddy exclaimed as he raced down the lane.
Construction vehicles were parked beside our house. Daddy was planning a huge remodel job on our house. All the carpenters in our area were too busy with other projects, so Daddy decided to do the remodel job himself. He got the men at the lumber yard to agree to come out when they had a free moment to help tear off the old part of the house so he could add three bedrooms and an office
“He said he would be here when he had a spare minute! I thought they would at least give us a warning!” Daddy exclaimed as he put the gas peddle to the floorboards. Dust flew in a trail behind us, and within seconds he skidded up to the house. He jumped out of the car and ran to the back of the house where saws were already searing through the walls, and Mom ordered us to quickly come in and help.
Sawdust was flying everywhere in the house as the saws sliced through the walls. Mom grabbed her clothes hanging from the rod just before the saws caught the threads from her winter coat. We helped pull all the clothes, shoes, hats, picture albums, jewelry and keepsakes she stored on the shelves in the walk-in closet. Daddy came in and with the help of the boys moved the beds out of the boys’ room and cleared Carolyn’s room of the dresser, bed, and clothes.
Everything was stacked in the living room and dining room, and for the next 5 months we lived in a construction zone – only a plastic sheet separated us from the Montana elements as winter was quickly approaching.
The project was intense, and in the middle of the chaos Mom tried her best, but the mess and tight quarters were hard to live with. “Why, oh why did I think this was a good idea? It might have been better to leave it the way it was!” but by the middle of March the house was taking shape, and without a word, we knew it was worth having enough room to live our life in this newly remodeled home.
The remodel job gave new life to our home. My brother complained that we waited too long since most of my brothers and sisters were already in college, and really, it wasn’t long before we were all adults and moved away.
But the remodel job wasn’t too late. We returned, at first bringing our friends home from college, then visiting as married couples, finally as parents with children. Sometimes one of the families lived with them for a couple of months, sometimes we’d visit for a week or two. Our family grew, and eventually, my brothers and sisters along with my family brought 21 grandchildren home to experience the joy and love we knew as children.
The temporary months of tearing down, discomfort, building, decisions, painting, and making the new section of the house into our home was well worth it. All the pain was forgotten, and the love and laughter our home carried through the years were only made possible by the decision to make the change.
It’s just like that in our lives. Every once in awhile, we become complacent in our lives, and things begin to wear down. Our passion for God isn’t what it was when we were first saved. We aren’t operating to the full potential God has for us. There are rooms in our life that we close off because the roof leaks so we keep buckets to catch the rainwater. Other rooms are drafty, so we put plastic over the windows, and a towel under the door to block the cold from coming in. Some rooms just don’t get enough light and over the years, the dimly lit room seems like the norm, but God has so much more! He wants every room in our lives to be insulated and full of light and filled with laughter and joy and compassion and patience and love.
And then there’s the attic and the basement that’s just full of junk! Hurts from the past, unforgiveness, attitudes that need adjusting. Maybe my attic and basement aren’t usable, but God has a purpose for every part of our lives.
What is holding me back from surrendering to God and letting Him do an overhaul in my life? What’s holding you back? Are we willing to let go of the very things that are holding us back from being the best we can be in Christ?
How far are you willing to go to heal your marriage? What are you willing to do to see your family or neighbors come to Jesus? Are you serious about seeing our nation forgiven and healed? Do I love tacos more than a life surrendered to Jesus? What is holding us back from a life 100% dedicated to Jesus?
You know that wonderful feeling you have when you surrender to God tugging at your heart to draw into a deeper walk with him? You know things need to change so you say, “Have your way Lord.” When the “demolition crew” comes in, don’t be alarmed. Maybe God wants to remodel that part of your heart. Maybe it’s entertainment, maybe it’s “me” time, maybe it’s nothing that a normal person would find fault with, but you know it’s holding you back from that deeper walk with God.
Recently God convicted me that my life was in need of a remodel job. An opportunity opened up for an intense discipleship program. My initial thought was, “It’s just too late. My kids are grown, my life is full, I’ve already had times where God molded and reshaped my life,” but I knew He had something more. It wasn’t until I said, “Yes, Lord, I surrender to You. Have your way!” that he could begin to tear down the lofty parts I became attached to so He could build His purpose into my life.
Revelations 2:4 | Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,”
Ephesians 4:22 | …that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.
2 Timothy 3:16 | All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
1 John 2: 2-6 | He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.
There was a song based on the story in Luke 14: 16 that we sang as children in my Sunday School. I think of this song whenever I have an excuse not to move in deeper. I sing it (in my head) because it reminds me of how truly petty our excuses are when Jesus is calling us. “I cannot come. I cannot come to the banquet, don’t trouble me now. I have married a wife, I have bought me a cow. I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum. Pray hold me excused, I cannot come.”
We all have excuses. We have excuses for not having time to read our Bible. We have excuses for not being able to pray, praise, worship, and read spiritual books. Maybe our kids are too demanding, maybe our sleep too precious, maybe our job takes us out of town, maybe, maybe, maybe. God is calling you to a closer walk. Today. He is ready to remodel your life. No more excuses.