Whether I see one in a hotel, a restaurant or a retail store, my creative mind appreciates clever construction signs. It’s a common sight. When undertaking a renovation project, businesses display posters that communicate the motivation behind their mess. The dream behind their dust.
Here are just a few of the construction signs that have brought happy to my heart recently:
*Our excitement is BUILDING for your future enjoyment!
*Pardon our appearance. A makeover is in progress!
*Something awesome is in the works!
And of course, signs at Disney World capture construction, well, magically…
*Pardon our Pixie Dust while we work on more Magic!
Don’t you wish that, as moms, we could keep a sign like one of these posted in the front yard of our houses? Or wear one of these sayings on our shirt each day? Because, if your family is anything like ours, God is constantly supervising a construction project under our roof and in our hearts.
When you read construction signs at your favorite store, your patience with the process increases. Your inconvenience is overshadowed by enthusiasm. In the same way, it’s best not to hide the obvious “mess” but instead be real with your own personal, marital, and parental renovations.
WE’RE working on this: Be Real with your Renovations
This simple four-word phrase frequents my parenting poster. Picture this: While doing life with others, your toddler throws a fit because you say NO to candy before dinner, or your teen quips a sassy reaction to your instruction. In response I personally love voicing the phrase, “We’re working on this!” In other words, “Pardon our mess. This is a construction zone.” By saying “We’re working on this!” a vision is cast for what you’re working toward while acknowledging the process of getting there. It’s a real-life way to voice heart-felt intention while giving pro-active attention to the opportunity at hand. It voices both the needed work plus a needed family effort.
Like the dozens of house renovation shows on TV, our personal and family construction projects all have a similar plot. Whether your family is best described by the show titles like Fixer Upper OR Flip or Flop, the end goal is positive home improvement, right? To move from potential to powerful, from a mess to a masterpiece, we are all faced with needed work needing team effort.
The book of Nehemiah chronicles a real-life renovation that also included a needed work and family effort! In the first scene of this reality script, we read that Jerusalem (the home of God’s children) and its city walls had been wrecked by both neglect and enemy attacks. (Doesn’t that sound similar to our own modern-day families and homes?) Nehemiah presents the reality of the work and the team spirit needed for this God-sized renovation project!
“You know very well what trouble we are in. Jerusalem lies in ruins…Let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem and end this disgrace!” They replied at once, “Yes, let’s rebuild the wall!” So, they began the good work. I replied, “The God of heaven will help us succeed. We, his servants, will start rebuilding this wall.” (Neh 2:17-20)
“Therefore, I posted them by families…Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes… They did their construction work with one hand and held a weapon in the other.” (Neh 4:6. 13-17)
Like renovating Jerusalem or a house on Fixer Upper, the first step in family construction projects is to envision the “What” and to enlist the “Who” for completing the transformational work. Renovation needs a “WE are working on this” kind of spirit! Heart of Womanhood Bible Studies are designed to promote this “WE” spirit among moms and daughters. They are written to provide both God’s Word (as His sword) for fighting our opposition and (a hammer and nails) for building strong hearts and homes!
I’M working on this: Demolition precedes Reconstruction
Mommas know that every home improvement project must first face a “messy” phase. Whether it is sorting through this week’s mounds of laundry or airing out a month of emotional dirty laundry, to make the most of any household full of hidden potential requires some form of demolition. Nehemiah faced the facts that Jerusalem and its city walls had been demolished. Nehemiah’s first response? To demolish any remaining spiritual walls between God, himself, and his family.
“O great and awesome God, I confess that we have sinned against You. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that You gave us…” Neh 1:6-7
So, moms, perhaps even more powerful than speaking the phrase “WE ARE working on this!” is when we take the chance to say to our kiddos “I AM working on this! Pardon my own mess! God is working on ME too!” Nehemiah begins with asking for forgiveness. As mommas, we would be wise to follow his blessed renovation blueprint. Humbly asking, “Will you pardon my mess, God?” followed by “Will you pardon my mess, daughter?” clears the clutter so exciting transformation can occur.
Linda Green, one of my dear Christian sisters in the faith frequently hammers this truth home by reminding me, “Kim, remember that humility looks good on everybody!” No doubt, humility definitely looks beautiful on moms! Like placing cover-up on a facial blemish, let’s be proactive moms who seek to clean up, rather than cover-up, our own areas of needed heart renovation. Let’s demolish personal pride and let God show our next generation an “I AM working on this!” example of His grace in action.
GOD’S working on this: Messes make more renovation room for God
Transparency paves the way for God’s transformational work. When we confess, “I’m a mess~but I’m God’s mess! God’s working on this!” we get to point to our transformational God who specializes in taking our messes and making masterpieces. He gets all the glory for any renovations that occur in our hearts and homes.
As a parent, demolishing disobedience or bad habits are not intended to be destructive but constructive; instructive. One way I have learned to encourage God’s construction process in parenting is to focus on perfectibility rather than perfectionism. When challenging our daughters with specific, personal “renovations,” I focus on encouraging “being perfect-able rather than being perfect.”
Have you ever heard the quote, “It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”? I am living proof that God can hit His mark with my crooked stick! Aren’t YOU? As long as I keep my stick in His All-powerful hands, I live believing that God as our Interior Designer can make a masterpiece~ even from broken crayons. (To view a 3-minute video of a chalk talk on this subject, click on this HOW link)
By frequently voicing these three phrases, “We are working on this,” “I am working on this,” AND “God is working on this,“ we can live free of the pressure to appear perfect in others’ eyes while living as perfect-able in Gods sight!
The BIG REVEAL: From Dusty to Destiny
Well, every reality renovation show leads up to my favorite part: The BIG REVEAL! This marks the moment when the construction ceases and the family begins to enjoy a newly remodeled living space. The sacrifice becomes sweet celebration. The hard work produces a harvest of happiness.
The same was true with Nehemiah and God’s children when the wall was rebuilt in only 52 days! Nehemiah 6:16 notes, “Only one possible conclusion could be drawn: it was not just our efforts that had done this thing. God had been working alongside us.” The result of God’s work is God’s glory revealed!
“And if we are His children, then we are His heirs, sharing His spiritual blessing and inheritance. We share in His suffering so that we may also share in His glory. For I consider that the sufferings of the present (renovation) time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is about to be REVEALED to us and in us!” (Romans 8:17-18)
Yes, moms, our seasons of dust reveal more of our God-appointed destiny. Our suffering reveals more of His glory! Our renovations are God’s revelations!
In Bible times, if people wanted to become a disciple of a Rabbi (teacher), their sandaled feet would follow him so closely every day and everywhere, that they would literally become “covered in his dust.” As modern-day moms let’s step out daily following our Redeemer, our Renovator, our Revealer! Yes, the path and process of following Jesus will be dusty. But the construction signs from our hearts and homes will exclaim, “Pardon our dust. We are daughters covered in the dust of Christ!”