Before, before.

I drive past the construction site of a new department store every day.  Every. Single. Day. And this new building has been months in the making already.  For more than a year there’s been a crane at the worksite, and lots of busy beavers have been doing what they do best.  Building.

The building is starting to take shape now.  It didn’t look like much was happening for ages – but now – progress is visible.

So you’re probably thinking that I’m now gonna start talking about foundations and the importance of them, and of how all that hard work that took so long went into the foundations of that new department store, so it can be safe and sturdy and secure for ever and ever amen.

Yes.  Yes to all of that.

Foundations are good and important and have to be done just right.

And.

I’m fortunate to know some great engineers, specifically some very talented civil engineers.  I’ve stumbled along, through my ignorance and I’ve (sometimes) asked enough of the right kind of questions about their work, so now I feel I can say with a little bit of certainty, that what goes on with regards to a construction site, before absolutely anything is built on it, is just as important as those foundations that we all know we need.  Foundations that are both visible and invisible.  The hard yards that go into a construction site before that ground is even turned, the hard yards that determine the very success of a building aren’t often seen – but their effects are very much felt.

Civil engineers, when they are doing their jobs correctly, make sure that a new building can not fail – not in its getting permits from the council stage, not in its actual construction and not when the elements rage and its structural integrity is potentially challenged.

But we don’t often see their work, because when everything is done right, there are no issues, no problems – there’s no evidence of a job well done – other than a job well done.

I’ve been wondering if  we could all focus on the ‘engineering’ of our lives a little more, and a little closer?  I’ve been reflecting on how helpful it is to have really good building blocks for areas of my life, and those blocks then build the foundation of who I am and what I stand for.  Rarely are those blocks seen – but they create  and build into the me that is evident to others.

There are some things that others in your world just don’t see you do – but these things build and shape you as a person.  The way I speak to myself, the things my mind dwells on, my prayer life, the internal battles that happen – these are all pre-foundational things so to speak, and it is upon these things that the rest of my life is built on.

These things are important.  They make or break us in various situations.  They determine the structural integrity of our lives.

I was in shock over the weekend as I came to terms with the news that the husband of a very dear friend of mine was killed in a car crash. Their whole community is reeling, their whole community is rallying around them and there’s a very tangible sadness in the air. But. There’s also Hope.  My friend, one of the most honest and real ladies I know, wrote this today on social media:

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Reminded of this today as the Lord continues to take care of me and the kids in small and huge ways!!! I knew God loved me……but the amount of love all at once is overwhelming and takes my breath away. Jesus Christ is my forever. How can one survive the deepest sorrow and the most abundant joy in one body and mind? I sometimes feel like I might die from the heart ache and other times I can feel the Lord holding me up. Friends, we are going to be ok. But can I give you a loving wise word? Go to your husband or wife….tell them you love them…treat them well and always always forgive. Don’t take small things for granted. And please bless me by taking great care of your marriages. There’s a family today without a husband and daddy……remember time is a gift. #iwillalwaysloveyou

To be able to write that, four days into the journey of grief and loss that this is for Treva, shows just what kind of substance she is made of.  She’s made of grit, and steadfastness, of rawness and vulnerability. She’s honest and the depth to her faith is giving her support when she truly needs it the very most.  Because she’s engineered her life on truth.  On faith. On hope.  And on love.  Treva sees and knows herself as a child of God. She knows the heart of her heavenly Father, and on those basic underlying truths, she’s built good and solid foundations for her life and for her family – and  this ‘engineering’, this is the thing that will sustain her at the moment.  The ‘engineering’ will be the thing that gives her strength to face each new day – as hard and as heart-wrenching as it is.

And I truly believe that this same ‘engineering’ is available to each and every one of us.

What do engineers do if they come across a problem in a construction regarding sewage (there’s a lot of that, that comes our way), or water supply problems?  They find a solution.  They work and they work and they work to find a way that is going to work to ensure success for the building.  We all get ‘sewage’ issues in our lives from time to time.  We need to work and work to find a way to deal with them.  And water supply?  The times that I’m the happiest, the most joyful and the most secure in myself are the times when I get my water supply straight from the source – when I’m not doing things in my own strength but the Lord’s.

There are always going to be situations that arise when new engineering solutions are needed, and we’re always going to be works in progress – but that’s ok. We all get new and fresh chances – there are always new opportunities for new projects.

Because good things take time, don’t they?  Just like that new department store I can see being built.  One day the crane will be gone and the store will open, but I’ll often think of the foundations that took so long to build, and then I’ll also think about the time before the crane was even there, and all the work that went into preparing the building for success.