Stepping on your ladder....
There is redemption promised for the broken things in our lives. Problem is, in our broken state they are often hard to recognize. Sitting brings Him near. Crying initiates His healing. Repentance realigns us with His bigger purpose, and our surrender allows Him deeper access into our spiritual formation. We invite Him into the building, giving Him permission to get His hands up in our mess. We let go – a lot. We trust Him, even when it’s hard. We spend massive amounts of time in close proximity with our healer. In the secret place we learn to trust as He opens our eyes to His bigger plan. Finally, we emerge with rehab plans, we get on our ladders and we get to work.
Since we were engaged, we've purchased, rehabbed and eventually flipped the most broken properties. It started in a tiny, three bedroom cape cod. Having never restored a house before, I had a hard time believing that mess could be turned into anything beautiful. But Dave saw a healthy foundation and he convinced me we could turn this into our dream home. We (meaning him really) knocked out walls, pulled up carpet and even demoed the bathroom (it has a black toilette). I learned early on, the process of rehabbing a house gets messier before it gets better.
Dave fought through the process to keep me focused on the end goal. I'll never forget the day I walked in and saw through what used to be my kitchen wall and into the main floor bathroom. He must have seen the look on my face because he stopped what he was doing and instantly went into vision casting for what the new kitchen wall would look like. When he saw what I couldn't, I put my trust in his vision and pressed forward.
Jeremiah 24:7 says, “I will give them a heart to know me.” The process is all about learning to know and trust Him more because on the other side of it we are going to get to build something only He has the plans for. During our time in the process a massive work unfolds within us. It is changing the way we see and thing. It is restoring hope and renewing our mind. On the other side of the process something has been formed within us. We are different. We know Jesus differently. We know ourselves differently.
When I walked away from my job at the Cincinnati Vineyard, out of obedience to what God was inviting me in to, I surrendered to the process. There was somewhere He wanted to take me, something He wanted to do, but before there would be any type of external movement, there needed to be internal transformation.
The Hose House was my place of spiritual formation. It was the place God took me for me. It was a secret place, a broken place, a place that quickly put and kept me at the end of myself. Out of my comfort zone and in uncharted waters, I was forced to depend on Him in new ways. Over and over again I laid down my need to understand. I let go of the ministry production mentality I had become accustomed to after so many years in organized ministry and I just let it be about people.
Being about people changed me, because people are hard. People don’t need me (even when they might think they do) they need Jesus. And to just hand out Jesus, instead of a program, instead of a promise, instead of a plan, is to really learn to love. For years, I invited people into programs praying at some point they would meet Jesus and now, without a program, I become the best possible way for them to meet Jesus. Just me. Through relationship. Through listening and praying and loving and being.
Jesus is not interested in what we can do for Him, He is interested in what we can be with Him. The Hose House became my wilderness. On the other side, His presence means more to me than the dreams in my heart because He has become bigger than I ever imagined possible.
The muscles developed in the process are the same muscles that will enable us to have what we need to travel in new places with Jesus. He never wastes our time in the secret place. The more we spend there, the deeper He goes and the more we grow. Our journey forward is dependent upon our journey deeper because it’s in coming to recognize His voice that we will know when to step.
“Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it,”
Our teacher, our Rabbi, is Jesus. He meets with us, stands behind us, sits down with us and eventually, when the time is right, He reaches for us. His plan is not to leave us in the dark, but to bring us to the light. He plans to put us on our ladders and empower us for spiritual building and breakthrough. Not one of us would stand next to a body builder, muscles bulging out everywhere, and deny the work they’ve put in. The hours spent lifting and straining. Hours dedicated to transformation. Years of saying, “no” to multiple things so they could say, “yes,” to the main thing.
We have to make time to be in secret with Jesus. Learning to recognize His voice is a necessary part of the journey. We cannot move forward from here until it happens. There is a purpose behind our pain. God wouldn’t allow it, if He didn’t intend to redeem it.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purposes,”