Since our house (and the houses of our neighbors) burned down in a wildfire five years ago, we have had the pleasure of closer friendships with neighbors and others in our community. One friend that I’ve gotten to know over these years is a guy named Jim. He and I were getting together every once in a while to catch up. A couple months ago, I wanted to check his interest in moving forward spiritually. I asked, “Jim, what would you think about reading the Bible together regularly?” 

The past couple of years, my wife, Pam, and I have become quite acquainted with the importance of foundations. When our home burned to the ground in the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire, we had to figure out if our home’s foundation was even usable again.

Though many houses have been rebuilt, as Pam and I drive roads toward our neighborhood, we still see the starkness of the devastation of the Waldo Canyon Fire. A scar remains: matchstick blackened trees; rebuilding of homes; burned out, flood-vulnerable canyons. Our two year old grandson calls the foothills around our neighborhood the Pokey Mountains. I guess the trees look more like porcupine quills to a two year old! A similar picture could be taken of areas affected by the Black Forest Fire and other areas of the country affected by natural disasters.

In my last post, I talked about trusting and resting in the God who hears and acts on our behalf. One of the ways He does this is by transforming the ruins of our lives into something beautiful.

This life, even for those who stay close to Jesus, is punctuated with painful events. Ever wonder why God must use difficulties – the ash experiences in our lives – to create beauty in and through us? I have on numerous occasions. And while Pam and I have experienced our share of ashes, we have friends who have had more painful experiences: physical illness, spousal unfaithfulness, prolonged unemployment, wounding from past trauma and illness or death of children.

Dear friends,
 
You may have heard news lately of the fires in Colorado. Last year, the Colorado Springs community was shaken by the Waldo Canyon fire. We couldn’t have imagined that just shy of one year later, multiple fires would be raging across Colorado— some of them in our own backyard. As I write, several other wildfires have popped up across the state. Some are contained and almost extinguished; others are just beginning their devastation.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past couple months of home building, it’s that it takes a team to build a house! This experience has given us a great opportunity to connect with new people. We’ve met with designers, builders, and craftsmen who have helped us make all kinds of decisions, ranging from the layout of the rooms to the kinds of wood to use in the flooring. One cold morning, we brought donuts to the crew, and were awestruck at the manpower that went into the framing process. As we watched, it became clear that in every way, this has been a collaborative effort.  God works collaboratively, too.

The builder of our post-fire new home is SaddleTree homes, whose President, Lee, is a wonderful businessman who finds great hope in Jesus. One day he told me the story behind the name of his company.

As you may know, “trials of many kinds” took on a new meaning for Pam and I this summer when the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs came over the ridge west of the city and cascaded down into our neighborhood. We continue to rebuild and restore with God’s help.
Here’s a pic of the mountainside near our home, covered with snow and accenting the burned trunks of trees that remain on that hillside. It’s a constant reminder that God is not done with the restoration process – on that hill OR in our lives.

A few mornings ago, Pam and I ran up to our lot to check up on our house, which is being framed. With no roof on our framing, and after getting 6-7 inches of snow the previous night, we wondered what it would look like. When we got there, we were amazed! Our house looked like a snowboarding course out of the X Games! I could just imagine Shaun White carving down the 2X4 hand rail, soaring through the living room, then flying out the window with a flip and scoring a perfect 10 from the judges in our backyard.

Here’s a picture of the new foundation of our own personal “restoration project!” We're so excited to see our house begin to take shape. Seeing how carefully the builders laid the foundation reminded me of how the Bible uses the image of foundations. If our lives are “built” to be used to give God glory—to “make Him famous—then the topic of foundations is an important one.