Life in General

When Your Life is Under Construction


view of our backyard, early Summer, from the upper deck

I have been pondering the tension lately between between the image I project to the world about my life and what is ACTUALLY going on.

Every morning I stand at my kitchen sink, I see a variation of this view above. I often post the photos on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, giving folks well, a certain kind of impression.

Some mornings the view looks like this:


(we’re a little nuts about birds)

Our backyard is pie-shaped as our lot sits at the back of a cul-de-sac; lots of grass, shrubs, garden area, roses, trees and so on

Summer garden, obviously…..

If I cast my eyes in the right direction, looking OUT….I see beauty in every direction; that’s what I want to focus on.

However, it’s not the whole picture, not a complete picture of where I actually live. 

Here’s a few shots of the environment around my house (the pictures that don’t show up on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter), standing with the lens facing IN, towards the yard and the deck and grass…

img_20161018_170918951_hdrLong view of the deck–kinda looks like a construction zone, huh?

Or up close


you can see the chair I sit in (next to the mops) to take in that glorious view.

Here’s what’s really going on–our roof deck on the patio has been under construction for about five years now.  My husband is doing the work himself and we were a bit set back when we took 3 years off to care for his mom before she passed.

So the progress is slow. Infinitesimally slow.  Frustratingly, cluttering-ly slow.

My husband is amazing and gifted and capable and meticulous and methodical. All the things I am not (especially the methodical part). When he does something, he wants it done slowly, deliberately and correctly.

That is the tension of what I live with each day–the glory of what’s in the future, the reality of beauty right in front of me AND the fact that we are definitely under construction here.

The illustration seems apt to me, reminding me that God wants me to keep my eyes on the good, slow, methodical, perfect work He is doing in me, IN SPITE OF the mess. My encouragement is drawn towards remembering what is also true at the same time–there is beauty and perfection and growth and permanence right in front of me as well.

The difference is in which way I turn.

“Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”

Psalm 139:7, King James Version

Where? No Where, because God is everywhere.

Why? He is Now Here, because He is everywhere

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  • Denise

    Interesting, Jody, reminded me of Thorton Wilder’s ground breaking act in his play, ‘Our Town’, when he traversed the proscenium arch – having characters address the audience from within the audience, for the first time in American theatre! I love the honesty of it, a fresh challenge to the anonymity of social media. “If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship with one another…” 1 John 1;7

    • Jody Lee Collins

      Denise, I’ve never seen “Our Town” but have heard of the premise of the play. I’m flattered that this piece reminded you of the prosecenium arch (that phrase trips on the tongue so nicely!) Now I’m going to have to go look it up!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    A striking illustration for how to live life in the contentment zone: 1) Follow God’s instructions to focus on the lovely and good (Philippians 4:8) in spite of the mess, and 2) Turn toward the beauty, perfection, growth and permanence right in front of me. Thank you for this, Jody!

    • Jody Lee Collins

      “How to live life in the ‘contentment zone'”. Nancy, I love that! You wrap up my words so nicely!

  • Jody Lee Collins

    “It takes the whole for an accurate picture.” So true, Natalie. I appreciate your comments here–thank you!

  • Natalie

    What a lovely post, Jody. And true for all of us. Some parts of our yards and our lives are just more pretty than others, but it takes the whole for an accurate picture. It’s a good reminder. Thanks for that.

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