Proverbs 14:4, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.”

The time has come. Seven years we’ve waited, but the the time has come. We’ve begun construction on our new home addition. (I am probably getting silent prayers right now from any woman who has survived a large remodeling project at her home!) We had the opportunity seven years ago to purchase a small, cabin-type home, surrounded by 3 acres of woods. We loved our current home, but we wanted the land for our growing sons. The only hitch was–we went from a 2-story, 2-bath house on a full basement, to a ranch home on a slab, with one bath and without an attic. We were young and optomistic and thought, “We’ll just add on to get the space we need!” We thought that would happen in the first couple years. Hahaha But here we are, and the project has begun!

The plan was to tear down 1/3 of our present house and rebuild that portion twice as large. Last Friday the dumpster and the mini excavator arrived. My hard-working husband and sons spent the 3-day holiday weekend doing demolition. My sons loved it! I stood in my kitchen, coffee in hand, while my entire house shook and wondered if it was all going to come down around me! There’s nothing like seeing your 7-year old rip a wall down with an excavator. Trust me, it’s an experience you never forget! Today I am washing clothes at my mother’s house (I won’t have a washer and dryer at home until the remodeling is finished). When I left home this morning, I climbed past huge piles of dirt to get to the car. There is a 5-foot trench dug in the ground where my backyard used to be! The block foundation will go in this week and next. So, you can imagine that life is very exciting right now.

More times than I want to admit, I have looked out the window and thought, “What an incredible mess!” It amazed me how much work and mess it takes to create something beautiful and valuable. Of course, that thought took me to my thought for this article. In life, anything of eternal value is going to come at a high price of hard work, and a lot of “mess” along the way.

A good marriage-we all want one. I remember hearing Godly Christian women through the years tell us younger wives that marriage is HARD WORK! As a college girl and a newlywed, I actually thought that was a bit insulting. Is calling marriage hard work saying that you married a man that was difficult to deal with? Now, after 16 years of marriage, I can say that marriage is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s not about who you marry; it’s about two people, usually opposite in many ways, both with sinful natures, struggling each day to put down their pride and selfishness, and learn how to live together in peace while building a family for the Lord. Marriage was God’s first idea for humanity, and it was by far His best idea! For that reason alone, it is the single-most attacted institution by the devil and his forces. Satan hates marriage. Therefore, a strong Christian marriage is a battle against evil. It is hard work! It is messy. It’s not a fairy tale or a Hallmark movie. But the hard work and “messiness of life” that you give and overcome is to create something beautiful and of lasting value for Christ. Marriage is worth it. Today, don’t let Satan tell you it isn’t worth the work. You just tell him to go back to where he came from and get your work gear on! You can make your marriage work, with God’s help and His grace. Stay in the battle! You will be so happy with the beautiful life you have built, if you do not quit when it’s hard.

Rearing children for the Lord-I can’t think of anything more worthwhile, or more DIFFICULT! Ladies, it’s not easy to be a Mother. It is blood, sweat, and tears- and dirt, lots and lots of dirt (for you mothers of boys!) Stick with it! I know we get so tired of being the policeman, the taxi driver, the referee, the prayer warrior, the one in the shadows, the often unappreciated one who does so much without notice. But stick with it! This messy, non-glamorous hard work is cherished in the sight of the Lord. He sees everything you do to create a home and rear a child for His Kingdom. He is there, always empowering you to do what needs to be done, giving grace. He sees you today as you wash dishes, do laundry, iron, clean toilets. Possibly you work outside the home and come home to fix meals and keep the house in the evenings. God knows how bone-tired you can become in a day. My friends, may I encourage you today? The beautiful lives you are helping to build for Christ are eternal souls, and you will reap eternal rewards for your efforts. Don’t give up! Someday you will look back at these years and want them back again. So many older ladies have reminded me to cherish the years with children in your home.

If you look around you today and it just seems like endless piles of dirt and mess and disaster (spiritually), realize that everything in this life, and the next will come only through hard work. Endure faithful. You can do it, Friend! Your Heavenly Father is proud of you today. Stay in the battle for Him.