Let me start off by saying that I’m guilty… or I was anyway. All this construction work you have been hearing about for the last months has all been done without pulling any permits. Yeah, I know. Not a great idea. But, as my building inspector just told me, “The important thing is that you did it right!” He was convinced that I had gotten some help or advice. I told him I’m just awesome… not really, but that would have been great. Dang it! You always think of the good responses way too late.
So,a few weeks ago I went in and pulled permits for everything I have been working on. That was terrifying. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Was I going to be required to undo everything I had already done? Was I going to have to take out my windows, cut out tile to look at the plumbing, tear off sheet rock to look at electrical, and completely re-haul my plumbing after I find out it’s not up to code (even thought it works perfectly fine). Does it mean I have to move out again while I fix everything? How much will it all cost in permit fees and additional work? How much longer will it take when I have a baby on the way who isn’t going to wait for me to finish the work. When baby wants to come out, baby comes out!
I spent a lot of time praying about everything. I went to bed confident that the next day I would go in and pull permits, but then the morning came and I wasn’t so sure that was a good idea anymore. I started thinking about everything that could go wrong and all the money and extra work that could be demanded of me. So, back to prayer I went.
I read about Noah who, “did everything exactly as God had instructed him.” So, I asked Daddy (the Heavenly one), “what do you want me to do?” Immediately and semi-clearly I got, “Go downtown and make this right.” I kept praying, wanting to be sure that this was the right thing to do. “Restore your integrity,” came to me. I started praying about how much this could cost me. “You’re not living for this world anyway… right?” came to me. Then I thought of some verses in 1 Peter.
Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that’s what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong. But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you. If you suffer for doing right and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you.
(Random collage of verses from chapters 2, 3 & 4)
I want you to know that God’s favor rests on his children. Often he shows us unmerited favor that we completely don’t deserve it. I deserve to have been caught in my law-breaking, to pay double the fee for the permits, and to redo everything that I had already done on the house. I want you to know that as I have walked in obedience to His direction and done “everything exactly as God has instructed me,” I have been blessed. I was blessed first with peace. I was blessed second with favor with the building review official who saw the scriptures I was reading while waiting to see him and said, “I gave that same translation to my sons.” I was blessed thirdly with favor with the HVAC and building inspector who showed up at the same time and were extremely kind and did not require anything unreasonable. I didn’t have to tear anything apart for them, they only gave me tips, suggestions, and two requirements that were easy to accomplish. I was blessed by the electrical inspector who told me I had to move my bath fan (anything requiring going into the attic is not fun) but, other than that, he said it all looked good.
Finally it came down to the big plumbing inspection. This one was where the big hurt came. The plumber whom God had divinely connected me with told me that he was going to have to redo everything for the inspection since it was done according to “function” not according to “super-strict Minneapolis code.” He said it would have passed anywhere else, but since the inspector was on his way, we should redo it ahead of time. I don’t blame him for this at all. This was my decision to pull the permits and I was willing to do whatever or pay whatever it took to make it right.
So, Michelle and I slept overnight at a friends house since we had to disconnect all the plumbing to the existing bathroom in order to isolate the newly installed lines and put 5lbs of pressure on them for the inspector. The inspector was gracious, although not entirely happy that I had done work that he couldn’t completely see (like the shower basin/rubber membrane). In the end he said everything looked great and I was good to go! Praise God.
So, how much does it cost to restore 9 months worth of integrity in a matter of weeks? Well, for me it cost almost 2 grand and a month of work to get back to the “same place” I was at before-hand. Was it worth it? Definitely. The process alone of walking in obedience and uncertainty while trusting my Daddy to work it all out in the end was worth my effort in gold. That and the increased and sustaining peace as I responded to Holy Spirit! I would encourage anyone to take similar steps of faith to do everything with the utmost integrity, even if it looks as if you might “lose out”, all the while trusting that Father will provide everything else for you. He is a good Dad who knows how to take care of His kids. You can trust Him. He can easily provide everything I need monetarily, my only concern is to remain faithful to the Way of Jesus.
So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. 1 Peter 4:19
God has me doing construction, which isn’t new for me. I’ve been a carpenter for over eight years now. However, I have gotten fairly accustomed to working for someone else. Someone else who can take all the responsibility and headache, loss of sleep and stress. It was a good day when I could simply work my day’s hours and go home. This work, however, is in my own bedroom and living room. It’s a totally different ball game.
I’ll tell you what, full-time ministry is looking really good right now. I’m exhausted and sick of my house being a construction site. I wouldn’t doubt that my wife and sister are fairly exhausted with the whole process as well. We first started this new venture in January when we demoed the living room in order to get to the plumbing for the existing bathroom. This is what we found:
Oh wait, wrong picture… Well we found a couple of those as well! No, we found some crazy plumbing. We kind of already had guessed that it was going to have to be redone, but this was pretty crazy.
If you read my previous Ministry Update letter, you heard about God’s amazing provision with a plumber. Once the plumber started his thing, it was go time. We didn’t have a working bathroom once the plumbing was torn out, so everyone in the house had to move out for a week… make that two weeks! Thankfully Michelle and I have some amazing friends near-by who are all about our vision and super hospitable. Thanks Ben and Bethany… and Jasmine!
When we pulled the plumbing out, one look at the inside of those massive (and heavy!) cast-iron pipes confirmed that we were doing the right thing by replacing everything. You can see for yourself:
Once that beast was gone I had to work overtime in order to get the bathroom up and running again. Honestly, it sucked. I usually spend a few hours every morning in prayer and scripture, but I just worked and worked and worked… then I had a Drill Weekend… then I worked more. Plus a few hours here and there with my different ministry things that I do. I figure that I put in 107 hours on my bathroom in those two weeks, 16 hours at drill, and 8-10 hours of other ministry things. Ug. Just thinking about it again makes me not want to ever do any construction ever again. We ended up having to completely gut and redo the existing bathroom (not expected, but nice now that it’s not covered in pink/white tile with white/pink grout). Check out the progression:
I’m still not done with the existing bathroom. Some mudding, sanding, painting and some trim work is still needed. Then, on to the new bathroom! Yep. We’re adding a second bathroom upstairs so that our guest can have their own space, and we can have our own space. Once that bathroom is done, then I can close off and finish up the living room. Once THAT is done then I can start replacing all the windows in the house.
Will this ever end?! Save me Jesus!