I put up a brick wall only to have it torn down.
I’ve always loved rooms that were added on to a brick house- the ones that have the bare brick showing on one wall. I’ve seen them in people’s houses, in movies or television shows that have a brick wall on the interior and thought it looked so neat. Maybe about a year and a half ago I was at Wal-Mart looking around and saw a package of brick print wallpaper. It was about $15 on clearance, and although I’m a bit of a cheapskate, I liked it so much I placed it in the shopping cart.
The particular wall I had in mind to put it on wasn’t going to work out so the package had been sitting around for quite a while. I’ve measured different walls to see where it would fit but always ended up setting it aside. Well, last night I finally decided I’m going to do this! I took everything off the wall in my dining room and started my little project. I realized I didn’t have what is called a seam roller to do the job so I messaged a friend for advice. I ended up using a small paint roller I’d used to paint around the small areas in the kitchen last summer. Learning to use what I have instead of worrying about what I don’t have is commonplace in my life. It ended up working well.
After hanging one strip I saw how cool it was going to look. That one piece gave me the drive to continue on. After all, it wouldn’t look right if I didn’t finish. I maneuvered around the obstacles I encountered. I dealt with an uneven wall, patched up some things as best I could and found the finished product was very satisfying to my eyes. I just sat at my dining room table after midnight and looked at that awesome wall!
Now, on to tearing the wall down. About 5 years ago, the church I was extremely involved in was suddenly split down the seam. During this time I was overcome with many deep, negative emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, depression and, at times, utter disbelief. For a while I even believed that the Lord didn’t love me anymore. I didn’t walk away from the Lord at that time, but instead dug in to His Word and drew closer to Him. I realized how easy it had been for me to buy into the lie that God didn’t love me, even after all I’d been through, and after all I’d been shown by Him. It was after this experience that my book was written. I felt it was important to stress that, no matter what, “In Every Situation, God is There”.
I’m not going to go too far in-depth as to what happened with the church, (that’s a different story for a different day, or maybe not at all.) One thing I will say is the unbelievable became reality and the situation left it’s mark on mine and several other people’s lives.
Many can and will tell you, “church hurt” has a deep impact, no matter who you are, it leaves a scar. I believe a common thing we do after we experience deep hurt is to build up a brick wall- at least that’s what I did. If I built that wall, no one could get in, right? I didn’t want anyone in. Who is anyone? (Gulp) Church people. When someone would invite me to church I felt my facial expression change uncontrollably. I didn’t feel as if I was running from God, just all of His people. Well, those that went to church anyway. I didn’t want any part of it. I had been hurt and I didn’t want to experience that pain again. Matter of fact, I wasn’t going to be hurt again. I was bound and determined to avoid the possibility altogether.
Over the past 5 years I’ve gone to several different places of worship (from time to time) lugging around my brick wall. Quick to scope out exits or who I may have to reach around to grab my daughter’s arm to drag her out at the first sign of “danger”. (And yes, unfortunately there are dangers, such as false teachings. Unbeknownst to me years ago, the Holy Bible is full of examples.) I had my guard up. Although it’s very important to make sure we aren’t led astray, that wall I’ve been toting around for years has kept a lot of people out that need to be within those four walls of a church building to hear the hope of the gospel. To have a community of brothers and sisters in Christ to fellowship with. And yes, one of those people I was keeping out was me.
Several months ago I had a dear family member tell me he needed me to go to church. It would motivate him to go. Guess what I did with that? Absolutely nothing.
The week before last I talked with a dear sister in Christ. I was telling her how someone had asked for help and I didn’t help them. Within a few hours that person I refused to help showed up at my house. I brought it up and apologized. As we both stood with tears in our eyes, I knew I needed another chance. I wanted to make things right.
So attending a church service this morning was a plan I selfishly dreaded. I walked in. Thinking back, I wonder if anyone could see my back bowed under the pressure of the heavy bricks I was carrying. The sermon began and my sturdy wall began to weaken as I sang along to the old familiar hymns.
Philippians 1:21, which happened to be a favorite verse of a beloved ex-pastor of mine, was the beginning verse of the Scripture used in today’s sermon. The favorite verse of the pastor I had when I loved going to church services. The minister that was there when I was involved in the church. Ironic? Not at all. Coincidence? I think not. The Lord? Most definitely. It was also a reminder of someone that had taught me to love the church and to see the importance of it.
Philippians 1:21-26 NKJV 21) For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. 22) But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. 23) For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 24) Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you. 25) And being confident of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy of faith.
The preacher said, “Paul put himself and his wants below other’s needs. He would rather die and go to be with the Lord than to continue living in this old sinful world, but He knew He was needed in this world to help others find their faith in the Lord.”
The mortar between the bricks in my wall began to crack. As the service went on and the Lord used that preacher man to speak to me, I wondered if anyone saw the wall I had built tumble to the ground. Did they see the pile of rubble beneath my feet?
During the prayer, teardrops fell from my eyes onto my crossed hands that grabbed the chair in front of me. They were so large that I seemed to hear them drop, yet I never heard the sound of that wall that finally gave way. As I stood, turned and walked out of the sanctuary, somehow I didn’t have to step over that pile of bricks from the wall God tore down. He must’ve swept them away so I wouldn’t trip.
Last night I put brick wall paper up. I even said at one point, “I don’t want to go to church.” Isn’t it funny how the Lord is apparently guiding my steps, even down to putting wallpaper up.
I pray this won’t discourage anyone, but encourage. If you have a wall, ask the Lord to help that thing fall. It’s so much weight to carry, it’ll only hold you down.
If you know anyone this might help, please share it with them.
Thank you for reading and God bless!