Monday, June 5, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Lessons my house under construction taught me

Loving the Work-in-Progress
A devotional by Jessica Brodie

“Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”–Isaiah 64:8 (NIV)

Have you ever lived in the middle of a construction project? It’s doable but frustrating.

For the last six months, thanks to a frozen pipe at Christmas that burst above our master bedroom, my husband and I have been sleeping in the guest room.

As I write this, my dresser is in the dining room, my bathroom items are strewn across the dining table, my clothes are hanging in the laundry room, and my normally organized home office has been alternating between the couch and the kitchen table.

And me? Let’s just say my stress level is far higher than usual.

The repair work has taken a lot longer to complete than I expected, mostly because we were haggling with insurance over cost reimbursement, and while I was mostly at peace with things at first, by Month Five my patience had stretched thin. Thank the good Lord the work is just about finished, and we should be in our refurbished bedroom late this week.

Now, let me say I realize we’re blessed to have a house big enough for a guest room, and I’m grateful we have insurance that was able to cover the problem. I know this isn’t always the case.

But having to spend months upon end in a temporary, relatively chaotic living situation, while simultaneously working full-time, caring for our home, and tending to four kids, three cats, and a German shepherd, not to mention nurturing my marriage…Well, I’m ready for life to settle down and for everything to get put away in its proper place.

Part of this is just me and my own emotional baggage. I don’t like clutter or mess. I’m super-organized, and having to live longer than a few weeks with everything in relative disarray is far outside my comfort zone.

But I’m also well aware that maybe, just maybe, God has been teaching me an important life lesson within all this. Sometimes, it’s important to be uncomfortable. Sometimes, discomfort is where we learn the most. For it is in that discomfort that we learn to appreciate what we have, what really matters, and why we are here on earth in the first place.

I remember when I returned from my first mission trip, 11 years ago. Where we stayed in Zimbabwe, we didn’t have running water, flushable toilets, or hot showers. Water had to be drawn from a well. When I got home two weeks later, I was incredibly grateful for a myriad of creature comforts I’d once taken for granted.

Two winters ago, when our power went out for a few days, I gained a new appreciation for central heat, electric lights, and my microwave oven.

When I had the flu last year and finally recovered, I was grateful for a body that didn’t ache and for energy that didn’t peter out just from walking up the stairs.

It’s funny how a little setback can open our eyes. Many of us humans get extraordinarily spoiled and entitled about the way we live our lives, expecting things should always be “this” way (whatever “this” means to you). Then, when things go awry, we’re like helpless infants. Think about how we feel about ourselves. Have you ever known someone who can’t seem to love herself unless things are perfect? She’s either “put together”—the ideal weight, hair perfectly coiffed and nails trimmed, clear skin, and neatly dressed—or she’s “a total wreck”. There’s no in-between. 

Yet most of us walk somewhere in the middle, don’t we?

Why can’t we love the work-in-progress—the under-construction house, the slightly achy body, the partly frazzled real-life version of ourselves—as much as when things are “just so”? Does everything really need to be perfect to be lovable and right? To be worthy?

No, my friends. Not even a little.

Think about how God loves us. Not a single person on this earth is worthy of His love, yet God offers us salvation anyway. Whether you are living in a home-under-construction or not, let’s all pause a moment to savor where we are right now, at this exact minute. We might not be in our dream job, living our best life. But is that even necessary, or important?

What’s important is loving yourself, and living your life, right here and right now in the Lord. What’s important is stepping up each day and saying yes to God, carrying out the purpose He has for you in this world. What’s important is loving others and serving in mercy and compassion.

Nothing needs to be “just so”. We can still live, and love, in the in-between.

Let’s Pray: Lord, help me to be patient when things are not perfect or organized, or when things don’t reflect the vision I have. Help me to trust that You are the calm center even when everything else in life feels chaotic. Thank You for all the blessings You give us, and help me appreciate the messy, wild, unfinished work-in-progress just as much. In Jesus’s Name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Pieces” by Meredith Andrews. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning journalist, author, blogger, editor, writing coach, and devotional writer with thousands of articles to her name.

Since 2010, she has served as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism, which has won 123 journalism awards during her tenure. She is the author of Feed My Sheep: A 40-Day Devotional to Develop a Heart for Hunger Ministry (2019) and More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey (2018) and the editor of a number of other books from her newspaper’s Advocate Press, which she helped found in 2017.

She has won more than 100 writing awards and is a seasoned speaker and frequent contributor to,, and, among many others. She has a weekly faith blog at and is part of the team at Wholly Loved Ministries, with her work included in many of their devotionals and Bible studies.

Brodie holds a Master of Arts in English, and she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in communications/print journalism from Florida International University. Born and raised in Miami, Brodie now lives in Lexington, South Carolina, just outside Columbia. She has also lived in Ohio and in the mountains of western North Carolina. She and her husband, Matt Brodie, have a blended family of four teenage children and stepchildren.

Brodie has written several novels and is actively seeking publication through her agent Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her novel The Memory Garden won the 2018 Genesis contest for Contemporary Fiction from American Christian Fiction Writers, and her novel Tangled Roots won a third place Foundation Award in Contemporary Romance at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference in 2019. She is finishing the third in the series, Hidden Seeds, now.

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