Standing in the spacious parking lot, I faced the massive, tall, nice looking, white church in front of me. With the warm, hot sunlight mixed with the turquoise waters of Turks and Caicos behind me, the church even glowed a little. You could tell from the outside that the church had a little bit of outward cosmetic perfections from life, time, and a Category 5 hurricane but nonetheless, my uncle’s church was beautiful.
Walking through this wooden door on the far left side of the building, I noticed the pretty cleaned up part of the church where it looked like they held a very small service. They even had a baptismal pool that resembled a resort-like Jacuzzi with colorful murals of Jesus on the walls. As my husband and his uncle spoke about repairs and what can be done to rehabilitate the church, a side wooden door with windows near the entrance caught my attention. Walking through the door, I realized that I had just walked in the main sanctuary, the heart of the church.
The high A-Frame vaulted ceiling with its many side windows giving the building an abundance of natural sunlight was a charming sight to behold but it was a HOT DISASTROUS MESS inside. Wires hung from the cracked and destroyed ceiling exposing the actual frame of the church, debris from concrete, wood, and drywall covered the floor. The mess was devastating, overwhelming, and even a little upsetting. I was beginning to see why NO ONE would ever want to come in here and why it was hidden and off-limits in the first place.
Looking and walking around the quiet, badly damaged, empty building, I shook my head saying a silent prayer, “LORD, Fix this church.” I knew FOR SURE my prayer was directed toward the establishment I was in but very quickly God began to speak and deal with me in my spirit.
“How can I fix you if you STILL won’t open to Me?
I don’t want just the tidy side of you but MORE of the messy sanctuary of your heart.”
“WAIT LORD! I only meant the building…” Yet, I knew that He had a rock solid point. God speaking made me realize that my heart isn’t as squeaky clean and fixed up as I thought it would be. I am a walking church and people will most likely see me first before they see an actual building. Despite my cosmetic flaws (you know, the annoying acne scars, extra love handles, etc), I can clean up pretty nice. On certain days, I can even carry a little glow too.
When meeting people especially going to Sunday Service, I often want to give the BEST, TIDY, side of myself where I can portray that everything in my life is as perfect and wonderful (or close to it). I would be as June Cleaver baking her most, delicious, flawless, apple pie never telling them about the giant mess I have in my kitchen. I’ve even been guilty at times bringing ONLY my tidy and best side of myself to God trying to hide the mess that I’ve been dealing with because I’ve decide that it’s too much for Him (and everyone else for that matter) therefore, it’s STRICTLY OFF LIMITS. Yet, it’s NEVER too much for Him. In fact, He loves and delights in me so much that already took on the ugliness and messiness of my heart over 2000 years ago on the cross.
Just like my uncle’s church he’s fixing for his future congregation, in order for God to use me MORE EFFECTIVELY, my heart and spirit also need some mass repairs too. What does that look like for me exactly? While it is vital and very important to give God my prayers and praises, this also means consistently and BOLDLY bringing Him my hurts, habits, hangups, that are not just hurting myself but also hurting other people directly or indirectly.
This also means taking ALL of God’s Word to fix me. I don’t want to just pick certain parts of His Word that I like and makes me feel good versus staying away from the parts that will deeply convict and even hurt me though it’s ESSENTIAL for my healing, restoration, and to be made new.
Letting God into the messiest and darkest parts of my heart makes more room for Him to work which also gives me an even greater capacity to love and serve others GENUINELY.
I’ll be honest and admit that there will always be that hint of apprehension about going to God and letting Him fix and renovate the dirty, broken sanctuary of my heart as I wrestle with my pride. I am thankful however, that God being the master builder, renovator, and restorer of everything including the most broken of souls welcomes and lovingly delights in these kind of projects that not even Chip and Joanna Gaines can fix.