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"Through skillful and godly Wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], and by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches" (Prov. 24:3-4, AMP).
This morning I read this verse and, can I be totally honest? I felt sad at myself. I thought of all the areas where I have not built my house wisely enough. Things I haven’t taught my children. Things I still haven’t seemed to learn myself.
My laundry room is a mess. My desk is piled with papers that need someone to care about them. My schedule generally borders on out of control.
In so many areas, I wish I was better. And I know there are good things, too, but the successes aren’t as noisy as the failures. I’m certain we’ve worked hard to build a solid foundation beneath our children's lives, but I also am painfully aware of the places where we’ve been not smart enough or not strong enough or just plain Not Enough.
My kids are 26, 23, 18 and 13. Those numbers are looking very scary. Only one of those numbers is still technically a child. The rest are full-on people. Grownups. And what if those grownups are standing on a wobbly foundation? And what if the fractures in that foundation are entirely my fault?
I’ve read this verse before, and I loved all those other times when I felt like I still had time to get it right. To fix my screw-ups—or at least to fake it better in front of them as they learned how to be brave in this great big world of ours.
But then, this. These wonderfully beautiful words from the Father of all: “It’s never too late to build. Never.”
And then, this—just few verses down from the building verse:
"A righteous [woman] falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked are overthrown by calamity" (v. 16).
I’ve also read this verse before, but my attention has been mainly on that poor wicked man who is overthrown by calamity. Today, however, I reoriented my vision on these words and saw this instead:
A righteous woman falls.
She does. We do. We fall. We fail. All of us. What makes us righteous is not that our attempts at building sometimes produce only brokenness. What makes us righteous is not that we never land face-first in a ditch of our own making.
What makes us righteous is that we get up. We rise. We start again. Try again. Love again.
We pick up that hammer and we turn our attention once again to this beautiful house. And when the house is finished, I imagine we will realize: It wasn’t our skill at all that built it. It was just our willingness to work with Him in joy and sorrow, wins and wounds.
That’s good hope.
Bo Stern is a blogger and author of the newly released Beautiful Battliefields (NavPress). She knows the most beautiful things can come out of the hardest times. Her Goliath came in the form of her husband’s terminal illness, a battle they are still fighting with the help of their four children, a veritable army of friends and our extraordinary God. Bo is a teaching pastor at Westside Church in Bend, Ore.