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The Blessing of a Crooked-Floored House

Years ago when Joel and I first got married, we decided to buy a home. We found a home that looked perfect for us! It was located on a beautiful lot in a neighborhood with other young families and had a swimming pool—something I always wanted. We made the best offer we could and prayed that the owners would accept it. Day after day went by, but we didn't hear anything. We kept speaking words of faith, declaring, "This is our house!" No one was living in it at the time, so we would drive over to it in the evening and sit outside studying it and dreaming about where we would put our furniture. But unfortunately, the homeowners didn't accept our offer. That door totally closed, and I was so disappointed. I thought for sure that was our house! I found myself tempted to say if only we had offered more money. If only we had prayed harder. If only we had acted sooner, on and on. But instead of mourning over what didn't work out, I made the choice to let it go and believe that God had something better in store.

Right after we heard the news about the house, I found another property that caught my attention. It was an old, run-down house on a beautiful lot in a really nice neighborhood. It was actually abandoned with broken windows, no landscaping, and even had a scarecrow in the kitchen to keep the animals out. It didn't look like much, but deep down I believed it was right for us—not based on how much sense it made in the natural, but based on the supernatural peace I had inside. We put a bid on that house, and sure enough, our offer was accepted. 

Truthfully, I wasn't as excited about this house as I was the first one. It didn't have a swimming pool like I dreamed of; instead, it had crooked floors. The foundation was cracked, and some of the interior doors wouldn't close. I had to put blocks under my sofa just to keep it from leaning forward. Friends and family used to make jokes about those crooked floors, but I grew to love that house. I knew God gave us that house, so I wasn't going to look back and focus on what I didn't get. 

We lived in that house for three years, and God blessed us beyond our wildest dreams. We ended up dividing our lot and selling half of it for the same price we originally paid for the entire piece of property. We were able to build a new home for less than what we would have paid for the first house we wanted. God used that crooked-floored house to bless us and bring us through a journey of faith.

Today, I'm not living in a house with crooked floors. I'm living in a house more beautiful than I ever dreamed we would own. But I'm convinced that if I would have been unhappy over what didn't work out, my attitude would have kept me from God's best. 

Today, if you're thinking, Life would have been different if only I had this or if only that had happened, let it go. Don't get stuck focusing on what didn't work out. Trust that God is guiding your steps. It may not make a lot of sense right now, but if you'll let go of what you had in mind, God can give you something better. If He can bless us through a crooked-floored house, there's no telling what He will do for you!  

"No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead." (Philippians 3:13, NLT) 



Think Intentionally

Our family lived in one house for about 15 years and then moved to a new house not too far away. I still ran errands in the same area and went to the same grocery store. On more than one occasion, I would be out and about and then get into my car to head home…only to find that I had driven right back to my old house. I'd pull into the driveway before I ever even caught myself! Have you ever had something like that happen? This is just one example of how our minds travel back to the old if we aren't intentional about focusing on the new. 

Anytime we are trying to make a change in our lives, it's like paving a new road. It happens in stages. It can be tempting to take the "old road" because that road is paved and familiar.  But, the familiar isn't going to get us to our destiny. Taking the road less traveled or taking new ground—that's how we grow, learn and develop into everything God has called us to be.

Today, I just want to encourage you to think intentionally. Set your mind on the Word of God. Don't just let your thoughts wander. The Bible says to take captive every thought. That means we don't let our thoughts flow aimlessly; we intentionally set our thoughts on God and His Word. When you think intentionally, you'll act intentionally and move forward intentionally into the place of victory and fulfillment God has prepared for you! 

"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." (Colossians 3:2, ESV)


Sow it as a Seed

When my father was alive, I used to say to Victoria, "I wonder what's going to happen to me and around here when my father goes to be with the Lord?" My father and I had traveled the world together for 17 years. I worked with him day in and day out here at the ministry. He would come over to our house many nights. We would have dinner or go watch the Astros play baseball. Much of my world was built around my father. In the back of my mind, I thought, "When my dad dies, it will never be as good as it is right now." In 1999, my dad suddenly had a heart attack and went to be with the Lord. I mourned the loss of my father, but I didn't get bitter. I didn't have a chip on my shoulder. I didn't feel cheated. I knew that God had fulfilled the number of my father's days. I knew it was a part of God's plan. 

I still love and miss my father, and I mean this with all the respect in the world, but what I thought would be my darkest hour turned out to be my brightest hour. I thought I could never be as happy and fulfilled as when my dad was here, but God had another plan. God had something better for the new season of my life. When you go through a loss or a disappointment, it's easy to think, "It will never be like it used to be." If you'll stay in faith and keep moving forward, you're right. It won't be what it used to be; it will be better than it used to be. That's the way our God is. That's beauty for ashes.  Now my question is, "Are you still mourning over something that you should be over? If you'll fill your horn with oil, put on a new attitude and start moving forward, you will see the better things that God has in store.

In life, we all have to deal with some kind of loss: loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a dream, or even the loss of a relationship. It's tempting to feel like something was taken away from us, something was stolen. You can have one of two attitudes. You can say, "God, it's not fair. I don't understand it. How could You let that happen to me?" You can get angry, bitter and pass blame. But a much better approach is to take that loss and sow it as a seed. Say, "God, I don't know why this was taken away, but I'm not going to let anyone steal from me. I'm sowing this as a seed and trusting You to bring me a harvest."

In other words, you didn't get a promotion that you deserved. Don't get bitter. Have the attitude, "Nobody stole this promotion from me. God, I'm sowing it as a seed believing that You will bring me an even better position." A relationship didn't work out. "God, I'm not going to live my life sour, thinking that I've wasted months or even years of my life. I'm sowing this as a seed knowing that You will bring the right person into my life."

You can have a victim mentality, or you can turn it around and give it to God. If you'll choose to sow that as a seed, you'll be amazed at what kind of harvest God will bring you!

"And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." (Romans 8:28, NASB)


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