Finding My Extended Family

"Keeping this house in good repair is more challenging than I thought it would be," I muttered as I tried to hold the sheet of wallpaper in place while I smoothed it. My hair felt sticky--the last sheet had fallen on my head when I tried maneuvering it to match the pattern better.

My former husband had built our home and he had done the usual upkeep. Now it was up to me. For the first time in my thirty-five years, I became a house painter and wallpaper hanger. Redecorating the house was therapy for me during those first months of being single. My children were as delighted with the new color schemes in their bedrooms as I was with the new wallpaper in the family room. I gained a sense of accomplishment and independence.

One Saturday afternoon, I was walking through the doorway into the family room when I heard a cracking sound. The threadbare carpet ripped as I felt the floor give way under me. Before I could jump, my left leg went through the floor, leaving me in a very uncomfortable and awkward position. My three kids just gaped at me. I grabbed the carpet to keep from slipping further down into the crawl space. The children yelled and ran to help me out of the hole. I wasn't hurt but I was shaken. The floor collapsing made me doubt the safety of our home. Knowing I tend to overreact, I examined the hole and concluded it must have been a defective piece of wood. Convinced I couldn't repair it, I started to list my options, but I didn't have a clue as to where to start. It was obvious the cost of repairing the damage was going to be high.

I needed the Lord's guidance. I prayed and then called my pastor to request prayer. To my dismay, he laughed when I told him what had happened. Prayer, a little sympathy, and perhaps some advice were what I wanted, not laughter. He did pray with me, but I still couldn't see the humor. I guess people just don't understand these things unless they're single, I thought.

The next morning, the children and I were in our usual pew at church but it was hard for me to concentrate on the service. As the pastor finished the announcements, I heard him say, "Barbara fell through her living room floor yesterday." People laughed and turned to look at me. I felt like crawling under a pew. When he asked for a work crew to meet after church to set a time to come to my home and repair the damage, I was stunned. It never occurred to me that the church would do anything but pray for the Lord to provide what I needed.

The following Saturday morning, several men came to my door, tools in hand and ready to work. They moved furniture and tore back the carpet, exposing a large area of dry rot. One man found that the damage had extended into the walls. To my horror, the men stripped about one-fourth of the living room area to the floor joist and the wall studs. After calculating what they needed to repair the damage, a couple of men went to the lumberyard to pick up supplies, leaving the rest of the crew to get the area ready for their return. By the end of the day, all of the major repairs were completed--the room was ready for me to paint and get new carpet.

From this experience, I learned that God has provided a loving, extended family in the church. He uses believers in the church to be the carpenter, cook, maid, or whatever role to meet the physical needs of His people.

By: Sarah James