2021 Word of the Year | Pt 1
We’re halfway through February and I’m still talking about a word of the year… oh well! Picking a word of the year as a way to set intentions has become one of my favorite parts of the new year. I used to write out a bunch of resolutions on New Year’s Eve and then read through them again at the end of the year only to realize I had forgotten about most of them. So, I switched over to setting intentions instead of resolutions and I don’t ever want to go back! Last year, my word was surrender and you can read my reflections on that here and here.
A year of surrendering involved a lot of stripping away and breaking down for me personally. We had our second son and as a result I sold my kiln and wheel and closed up my ceramics shop, we bought a house in Marion, we started the beginning stages of planting a church, we left our wonderful Lifegroup we’ve been a part of for four years to start a new Lifegroup in Marion with a completely new group of people (who are also amazing), and we’ve been (unexpectedly) renovating our entire house for the past 5 months.
I was reading Ecclesiastes about a month ago and one verse really jumped out at me. Ecclesiastes 3:3b says there is “a time to break down, and a time to build up”. That perfectly summed up what I had been feeling and thinking about as I was heading into a new year. If 2020 was my time of breaking down, then I felt like 2021 is the time to start building things back up.
SO, my word of the year is BUILD. Actually, it has sort of become our word of the year as a couple and family which is awesome. It’s nice to be on the same page of where we’re heading as a family and what our priorities are. The word came into my mind during church a week or two before Christmas and just continued come back up repeatedly since then. I see it applying to our life in 4 different ways. Building our house, building better rhythms, building new relationships, and building up the church.
I’m going to break this all down into multiple posts because I feel like there’s just too much happening to fit it all into a single post.
We’ll start with our home.
Everything about this house has somehow been both completely exhausting and exhilarating all at the same time. We knew the house needed some work when we bought it… we just didn’t know just how much work it needed. There was a few iterations of plans. Originally, we had planned on literally just refinishing the hardwoods and painting the walls. We were going to move in October 2020. Then we would save up to redo the kitchen. And then tackle other projects as we could — slowly. Over a long period of time.
Right after we bought the house, my parents came to us and told us they had some money they wanted to give us to put towards the house however we wanted. At that point, we decided to go ahead and update the kitchen since it was pretty funky and cabinets were falling apart.
Once we started demo, we realized that our floor in one of the bedrooms was sinking a significant amount. After some investigating, we figured out that at some point, a structural wall had been removed in the entry/living room and nothing was put in its place.
So, we had to start ripping the ceiling apart to address that. One thing led to another, as home projects go, and we found out that almost the entire house was still running on knob & tube and that about 80% of the house was all on one double breaker. We wound up having to gut everything down to the studs to run all new electric, we jacked the floor back up and fixed that structural issue. And ya know “while you’re doing it” you might as well knock down some walls and relocate a bathroom. Oh and add on a new HVAC, and new floors on the first and third floor, (because the existing hardwoods couldn’t be refinished), and re-siding the whole back side of the house after making sure it was secure — literally about 6 ft of the back wall of our house was not fully attached because of a rotten rim joist. Wow. That escalated quickly!
Needless to say, our short term little fix up turned into a huge undertaking really quickly. I’m choosing to view it as a blessing though. Honestly, if we had known about everything that needed to be done, we definitely wouldn’t have bought the house in the first place because there was no way we would have been able to afford it.
We felt called to move to Marion to plant a church. That involved buying a house, and I believe with my whole heart that God wanted us in this specific house for a reason. And, since it has all unfolded this way, we have seen God show up and provide for us in some incredible ways — multiple people in our lives have generously covered various costs/sent random checks, and other people offering their skills at little to no cost. And all without us even asking. I am not kidding, we should be in like massive debt right now and really stressed out haha. But we aren’t. We are tired, but we are at peace because we know this is where we’re supposed to be.
“Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11.1.
It’s been so encouraging and reassuring to watch how God has worked everything out. It took us surrendering our plans last year and choosing to say “yes, Lord. Here I am, send me” even when we had no idea how everything would work out. Choosing to abide in Christ — saying yes even when it is hard. Even when its not what we like or want. Even when we don’t understand or have all the answers. He has provided for us every step of the way. It’s been incredible.
Two weeks ago, my uncle was able to come from 4 hours away to help us make a ton of progress on the electric. We were able to run new electric lines to every room in the house and almost finished getting all of the outlets and lights on the first floor done. Which is HUGE. We were just excited to get to a point that we could do the rest of the electric ourselves.
This past weekend, God provided, again. A man who is an electrician that we have literally never met before introduced himself to us after church on the 7th and offered to help us with the electric in our house at no cost. I was stunned and honestly nearly cried out a combination of exhaustion and gratitude. He came on Friday and brought help. They were able to completely finish our stairwell, the second floor, and got everything on the third floor done except for one light. In ONE DAY. It would have taken us weeks to get all of that done. Paul and I were in shock and speechless the rest of the weekend.
We also had another friend and his grandfather over Friday running our plumbing which they’re so close to having done!! They’ll be back this Friday along with our HVAC guy to finish what needs to be taken care of before drywall goes up!
Our house has definitely been a lot of work. We are doing as much as we possibly can ourselves to save money. We are finally crawling our way out of what feels like 5 months of demo. In the next few weeks, we can finally get new drywall up and start putting things back together!!
I think the most exciting part of working on this house is seeing what God is able to build through very basic people who are willing to follow, obey, and be the hands and feet of Christ. We are not special. We are not professional contractors. We are just willing to show up, learn new things as we go, accept help when its offered or needed, and we are trusting that God will equip us for the work he calls us to.
We are so close to making this house feel like a home. I’m officially having a hard time sleeping because I can’t stop thinking about what I want each room to look like and what purpose I want it to serve. We are excited to watch our kids grow up here — to see them run around in the back yard, enjoy family dinners in our dining room, and to have movie nights in our living room. We can’t wait to welcome lots of people into our home, gather around a dining room table, share the love of Christ and start building some new relationships with the people in our community.