My wife’s green thumb is on display in our backyard. The size of the zucchini makes one wonder if she borrowed some tips from Hagrid.
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Ministry brings unique challenges. There are benefits to be sure. There are times of great joy. You see lives that are transformed by God’s grace. But there are challenges that can be draining—leading people when they don’t want to follow, caring for people who would rather be left alone, and keeping folks on track when they would rather wander into and stay in the weeds. On top of that, people are always in process, ministry is never complete, the next sermon needs to be prepared, and there is always more growth to be pursued.
I love ministry, and would not change what I do. But there are times when I need to do some construction therapy where I can demolish, build, and complete a project. Over the past month, I have worked under our back deck to replace an aging retaining wall and a screened wall. Here are some before and after pictures.
On the one hand, construction projects may be more expensive than seeing a therapist. However, they allow me to work with my hands, build something, and step back and admire a finished project. On top of that, the nails don’t complain if I hit them too hard or don’t drive them in straight. 🙂
One of the dynamics of ministry is that everything is always in process. You take people from where they are and strive to move them forward to greater maturity in Christ. You don’t always have the opportunity to take a project or a person from start to finish.
In light of that, it’s nice to do a project around the house where you actually finish something, where you can see the before and after. Over the past month, I have remodeled the main floor bathroom in our home. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to do something with my hands and see a project through to the end.
By way of summary, I scraped off the popcorn ceiling, put up crown molding, removed the old tile floor, painted the walls, put down an underlayment and cement board before laying new tile and grout, put in a new cabinet, sink, lights, and fixtures. The project is now complete. Below is a gallery of photos of the project from start to finish.
The nature of ministry is process, helping people come to Christ and grow to maturity. Because there is always more to learn and areas in which each of us needs to grow and mature, you never see a finished product. Consequently, it is nice to occasionally tackle a building project and see it progress from start to finish. Which explains why I spent all of my day off yesterday and an hour this afternoon building a retaining wall for a garden planter in the backyard. I had to begin by tearing out the old wall before I could build the new one. Here are some photos that show the various stages of the project.
Yesterday we came home from church to find our barbecue on the other side of the deck and halfway down the stairs. Not sure if someone tried to take it and dropped it on the way down or if a gust of wind pushed it. Either way, we hoisted it back up, set it on the deck, and locked the wheels.
This afternoon, as the winds of Hurricane Sandy increased in intensity, I watched the barbecue sail twice across the deck, with the wheels locked, mind you. So this time, I chained it to the side rail for good measure.
Ah, the joys of our first nor’easter, hurricane, and “storm of the century.”