How To Build A House: An Allegory

Maybe we have it all wrong. The idea of what healing means and looks like. The way it ought to feel. 

Maybe for some, healing is like a home with decay so deep the only thing to be done is to light a match and watch it all burn. To feel the heat of the flames against your skin. To mourn what should have been and to grieve the way the vagrants broke the windows and let in all the rain and the animals and the rot and the unbearable stench.

What if God’s work in us is lengthy and costly? Tearing up the broken boards. Disposing of the toxic molds and rusted nails. Going slowly so as not to crumble the structure. Going slowly so as not to frighten. Pounding away the rotten.

u n e a r t h i n g  the  bones

What if the way God healed throughout history is still the way he heals today? What if all he needs to mold us is our willingness and his faithfulness?

Like the time he rescued a seductive beauty with nothing more than a red cloth in a stone window, and then gave her family and a home and a legacy and a new name.

Or the way he allowed a prostitute to weep at the feet of a man who was safe, who walked with the weight of eternity in his steps. And she just wrapped all her fears and shame around those feet with her open hands and her tears and her hair and extravagance…like a slave weaps at the beauty of being freed from the heaviness of shackles that are never warm and always hurt.

What if healing means the Holy Spirit enters into the grief with you? What if healing is the pain of having to burn down the lies but it is also the rebuilding?

Don’t you see? God reaches in so deep it takes our breath away and the pain of the rebuilding is almost unbearable. He takes you further than you ever imagined possible, building something so perfect that when you look back you realize it was just all him that whole time because nothing you ever imagined could have built such a house. It was not and could not have been your skill alone.

Don’t you see? Healing is like standing still while an artist chisels away the rough spots. Standing still and letting the dust and ruble fall to the ground. Only, the goal is never perfection. The purpose of healing is to reflect the character of the artist doing the work. To show himself.

A master craftsman knows what to tear out and what to leave…

Leave the crown molding and the stained glass windows and the giant oak tree that stands like a timeless witness to all the happenings. Leave the original hardwood floors. Leave the fireplace.

But demolish the mold. The rot. The rust. The leaks. Tear down the beams and replace them with beautiful, stronger beams and then leave them exposed. (Don’t you dare cover them up.) Always remember the effort it took to replace something so substantial, so central.

Reinforce the foundation. Level out the floors, even if you have crawl underneath through muck and mud, even if rats live there, even if it makes your skin crawl, even if you’re claustrophobic. Because a crooked home only makes for crooked walls that don’t hold up shit.


And there will always be projects. There will be storms. And you’ll have to clean the gutters, but that’s ok because that’s what gutters are for!

You will change and morph and grow. Because you will change and morph and grow! And that’s ok! Let it be. Let God work. Let him lead you toward newness and freshness. Do not stay content with everything in you that changes. Because while some things are timeless, most things grow old.


l i s t e n

Restoration is the theme of love. The work of love. And Love can’t help it.