Our team has been hanging drywall and spreading joint compound for three days now. Tomorrow we'll move to our fourth family. I feel like I can write a little about our experiences now that we've encountered enough people that I can write about specific experiences without risking an individual privacy breach.
Imagine if where you sit, water begins to rise up from the floor, or the ceiling collapses in beside you. You're helpless to stop it as it rises up to four feet deep in every room in your house. The floor is ruined, all electrical components trashed, you've lost all your furniture, your cabinets, and your drywall is saturated. Days later, after the water has subsided, you're left with mold that covers everything and is absorbed by your walls.
I walked in the bedroom of a recent high school graduate. In her room was evidence of a normal and successful teenage life. She had a medal for perfect attendance, pictures of her with friends, a clear affinity for bulldogs as stuffed animals that were stacked among books on a shelf, and a real talent for drawing that she combined with a curiosity of medicine and beautiful drawings of the heart that hung on her wall.
Life for her bore evidence of happiness and fulfillment... but now it was all shoved into the middle of the room in a desperate pile of survival. The walls were stripped to the studs to remove the mold. There was a deep sadness here of lost potential. Of happiness drowned with sudden loss.
While I stood in her room and our crew replaced walls throughout the ruined house, she sat in a crumpled elbow-to-knee-to-chin pile on the couch, watching The Price Is Right in the nearby family room. Each time our group tried to speak with her, we were met with downcast eyes and a face that somehow instantly and perfectly articulated a jaded life.
How could she not be? My heart reached out to her as each of us in the group whispered silent prayers. It is good to tell God about injustice. It is also good to pick up tools and do something about it. We did both. Thank God, we did both.
We continued to work, placing new insulation in her bedroom walls, cutting and placing drywall across the studs, and sealing it with joint compound. What was blackened and destroyed, now was bright, white, and clean. The room took on a different feeling, even though evidence of the pain sat on her nightstand... a prescription to suppress the darkness.
Our team was in her room, clearing out our tools and making final repairs. I heard a soft voice and turned towards the door. She stood there... with a smile on her face. She was suddenly so very beautiful. We saw her in that moment as God saw her. She was beautifully and wonderfully made.
She was beautiful in the pictures around her room, determined as she earned a perfect attendance award, hard-working with her name on a smock and badge from a local retailer, deeply loved by her family... and even a group of strangers who cared enough to pray and to work. And her beauty is illuminated now, standing in that restored room.
God is in the business of restoration. His mission is to bring us back to Him... to make us right again. Even when the waters rise, there is a great hope when we know that the One who created us is the very same who is coming to save us.
Please don't sit alone in the ruin, there are those that God will send to bring light into your life. Please don't get too hardened by the pain in life, but be bold enough to bring relief. Please remember to pray, knowing that God is big enough to handle it... but don't rob yourself by stopping there. Do something.
Get out there and embrace your humanness with your hands as you breathe in and breathe out the Spirit of the One who knows you. Thank you Get'er Done Gang... I'm so thankful to be here with you this week.
When hope drowns... your next breathe comes with rejoicing.