the house my father built...


Psalm 42:11 Why are you in despair, O my soul?  And why have you become disturbed with me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance, and my God.


The old house on the hill where we grew up amassed many memories.   The youngest of 14 children, my parents moved there in 1944, long before I was born.  Getting to the house required some maneuvering.  Fahey Hollow Road was a long, narrow, winding, often muddy road.


Halfway down the hollow, where the curves finally end, there is a hill.  At the top of that hill sat our old farmhouse.   The main part of the house was very small.  Daddy built rooms onto the back of the house to make more bedrooms.  It was originally built on a crawl space and later a basement was dug out. After Daddy died, they built onto the side of the house and made a new living room and a bathroom.  For the first time we had an indoor bathroom.


When I was in the sixth grade, Mom began to complain about the bed being lopsided.  She had the room that was the old living room in the center of the oldest part of the house.  When the guys found time to see what was wrong, the bed was fine . . .   The problem was the foundation of the house.


The house was declared unsafe and we were immediately moved next door to my brother's house.  I watched as they tore down that old house.  In awe, I watched with excitement and sadness as they pulled down the parts of the house that Daddy built.  They were newer than the main part of the building and the tractor struggled from the weight of the task.  It was as if the walls just didn't want to go.


This brings me to another time in my life when there was a wall to be torn down . . .  As sometimes happens in families, years ago, there was a misunderstanding and I became angry.  I refused to go to Christmas dinner because of my anger and hurt feelings.  As the months past, the anger consumed me.  I became angry at someone at church and gained little from the worship services because of my own attitude.  It was very easy to become angry at my husband and all those around me.  Brick by invisible brick, with each incident, I built a wall around my body.  Of course, I was protecting myself from getting hurt anymore, or so I thought.  Brick by brick, day by day, week by week, and month by month, I continued to construct the barrier.


Then one day, I realized that the wall was so high and I was so alone that I could barely see over it.  The isolation gnawed at me.  It felt as if even my prayers to God couldn't get over the wall.  I soon realized how depressed and isolated I felt.  But things kept spiraling downward.  I could not get over the wall.


One Sunday morning, Rev. Louis Compton (now pastor at Bartonville Baptist Church) was filling the pulpit.  Something in Brother Compton's soft-spoken straightforward sermon hit me and I felt the need to publicly go forward to pray.  As I quietly stepped out of the pew, with each step I took, I felt the mortar crumbling and the bricks falling.  By the time I reached the alter, the wall was behind me in rubble and my heart was open to God.  The anger was gone and I felt like a new woman!


I have learned through the years that anger and depression are spirals downward that never end. Oh, I have my moments, but I work very hard at not letting negativity consume me.  I try very hard not to be FINE -   Feeling Insecure Neurotic and Emotional!



Based on Luke 15, The Prodigal Son


1.  Realization - Come to terms with where you are.   Ask yourself, "What have I gotten myself into?" 


2. Determination - Don't just hope, do something about it!  Your notion won't get you in motion!


3.  Confession - Confess means to come into agreement or acknowledge.  God knows where you are. Confession is acknowledging that both God and you know where you are!


4.  Humility - Pride most likely got you into the situation.   Pride comes before the fall.  Recognize that you can't do it alone!   Trust in God


* Pastor Frank Caudell, Lemoore First Southern Baptist Church (used with permission)