Hebrews 3:4 For every house has a builder, but the one who built everything is God.
My family and I are builders. My parents have built houses, flipped houses, done lots of remodels. Matter of fact, they were building their home when Mom was pregnant with me, and she fell through the rafters while putting up the roof, and her belly is what caught her from not falling all the way through. I’ve always been told that’s what happened to my brain…
Mom and Dad did the Dave Ramsey way of spending before Dave Ramsey was famous. They had a very small trailer, and they lived in it and built half of their house (using cash) and attached it to the trailer. When they had enough money, they built the second half on. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, but I remember when we got our first television – we all sat on stacks of plywood in the family room with bowls of popcorn to watch it.
My son Tyler was born a builder. We called him the Tazmanian devil as he could come into a room, whirl around a bit and it was destroyed. He also loved tearing things apart. One time when he was about four years old, he took an old baby doll stroller of Talia’s (one of the carriage type with the little hood where the baby lays down in it) and he took the wheels off of it, folded it out and screwed it to a skateboard. Then he would lay down in the stroller on the skateboard and go down the neighbor’s driveway (not seeing where he was going!) The neighborhood took bets on whether the kid was going to make it to age five….
It’s now been a few years since one of my clients convinced me to get out of my basement and come to Charleston with my court reporting firm. Once I began paying a $1200 a month rent payment, I began to devise ways to help pay for that, as you don’t charge more for a deposition you host, so it’s really just a major expense that cannot be passed on. That’s when I thought about doing focus groups. We did a couple in our “new” office space, and we realized we needed much more space. So one day, literally out of the blue, I took a wild hair to look at what was for sale around Charleston. I found this really cheap building right on Lee Street and made an appointment to see it. When we walked in, there were holes in the floor, rats running around, drunks living behind the building near a huge restaurant cooler, and it looked rode hard and put up wet. And it had been – since the early 1900s. This building had been a dry cleaners, a restaurant, a store, and then it had been abandoned and hadn’t been inhabited in ten years.
But I will tell you, when I walked into this dump, I could see its future. I could see the hallways that led to deposition rooms. I could see how the upstairs could be divided off and the downstairs could be opened up to make the PERFECT place to hold focus groups. My son Tyler was with me, and he was just looking at me like I’d lost my mind. The enormity of the project was a bit overwhelming, but I just KNEW that God had led me to this place, and it was going to be mine. I negotiated, bought it at a good price, and we began the remodel. The bids I had gotten were very expensive, and they scared me to death. But at that point, I was too far in to quit now, and I STILL saw the vision – I KNEW this was destined to be my place, and it was destined for the purpose I had envisioned it.
While doing the remodel, I was doing daily copy at a trial in Virginia, and my sister (who works across the street) texts me and says, “I know you’re in a really stressful trial, but I just needed to tell you I went by your building and the back wall just fell off.” FELL OFF! One of the demo guys had put a ladder up against the back wall, and he and the ladder fell through the wall! It just konked over. I thank God no one was hurt, but I am devastated – this HAS to mean more money and more time, and what about that structural examination I had done JUST to ascertain that the walls were good, since I knew the inside of the walls weren’t good? That’s a whole other story for another day…
Anyway, while I was still in that same trial, Kim texts me again and says, “I know I keep being the bearer of bad news, but I just had to tell you that your building just got flooded.” She sends me pics – someone’s water pipes had burst or something right next to my building, and I got about a foot of water in there. I was doing my project under the History Tax Credit program, and they had an enormous list of what you could and couldn’t do, all of which made everything more expensive. One of their rules for me at one point was that I couldn’t let my walls go clear to the ceiling but they could only go up eight feet and have no ceiling, as it had previously been an open store front and they wanted to keep it that way. I say, “I take depositions – that’s a private thing – I can’t have no ceiling where every room can hear what’s going on in the other!” This was midway in and I thought they were literally going to kill my project. We negotiated and arrived at the allowance that I could have walls as long as I topped them with glass before it hit the ceiling height. More expense.
And my wall that I lost? It had to be put back up with the original brick, so each brick had to be painstakingly cleaned back to original condition, and we had to match the mortar exactly like they made it in the early 1900s. Yep, you guessed it – MORE EXPENSE. That wall cost me tens of thousands of dollars to repair. My budget for the project almost doubled before it was complete, and I prayed and prayed that God would have to provide for this vision I believed He had given me. It was very scary. I was in debt up to my eyeballs, and that was not a place I was accustomed to. But in all those things, I still KNEW I had been led to this building and that God was going to carry me through. God never begins a work that He is not prepared to finish, no matter what disasters occur in the middle!
I would ask you today: Do you feel like you’ve had a wall collapse in your life? Feel like you are only holding up with 3/4s of a body as you’ve had such a huge loss? Feel like you’re standing in the rubble of what used to be a part of you that is now lying all over, busted up and ruined? Feel like the vision of your life is now nothing but a farce because you’ve had so much wreckage occur? Let me tell you something: God is a restorer. If you will allow him, he will take that wall you’ve lost, and he will rebuild it, brick by brick, with stronger mortar than you had before, a glue that will hold you together so that no one and nothing can break you. Only God can so perfectly recreate what was to be but has been ruined by a flood, by a drug, by a person, by one storm or another. I beg you – give Him the wreckage that’s in your life, let Him build you back, giving you a joy that is catchable and a peace that passes all understanding – HE IS THE ULTIMATE BUILDER, THE RESTORER OF ALL THINGS….
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.