A hard hat and the Holy Spirit - by Helen Murray

'...being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.'
Philippians 1:6 NIV
I have been musing about this.

My youngest daughter and I tidied her bedroom some weeks ago.  Well, I tidied her room and she followed me around complaining, removing items that I put in a black bin bag and disagreeing with my definition of 'rubbish'. The room was dreadful. It was a mess, and needed work. About an hour into the job, it looked much, much worse than it did to start with. You know that bit where Macbeth says, 'I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more, to return were as tedious as go o'er...? 

Too late to change my mind; no choice but to push on. Can't leave it like this.

My life is in such a state at the moment. A while ago God started tidying up, making a few changes; can't stop now.
I am a work in progress.

know that he is at work. I know it beyond any doubt; I know that things are considerably different from the way they were three years ago, two years, one year - last week.

I know that he's working in different areas of my life and I accept, mostly, sometimes reluctantly, that work is needed.

There are bits of me that are as messy as my daughter's bedroom floor. And yes, I have a tendency to follow him round reinstating the bits that he wants me to throw away. 

I am a work in progress. I come complete with notices advising steel toecapped boots and a hard hat. Danger lurks within; I am not finished yet. Authorised access only; all visitors please check in with the site manager before coming any further.

And what I thought was a small renovation project turns out to be a fairly sizeable building site.

I read this from CS Lewis:
'Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of - throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.'
CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

I don't know if I'm going to be a palace or a block of flats but the 'knocked about abominably' bit rings some bells. I think it's because I'm pretty sure God is working on lots of different bits all at the same time. He has plenty of projects.

(Just as an aside: don't ever make the mistake of asking God for patience.  I wanted to wake up one morning effortlessly unruffled and serene, not find that my life is littered with opportunities to practice being patient.)

For your own safety...
God is not just ripping out the fireplace, he's digging deep and he's rewiring, re-plastering, knocking down and rebuilding, re-roofing and landscaping simultaneously.

I'm looking forward to the furnishing. Cushions. Lamps. Decor. Maybe that'll be a bit more fun?

The only thing that I disagree with CS Lewis about is the last line of the quote above. God is not waiting until it's all finished before he moves in; he's here already. He must have a sleeping bag on a patch of dusty floor, I think.

It's certainly not a house fit for a King just yet, but that's the wonderful thing about my God. He's not waiting for a throne room and a chapel to be gilded and frescoed. He's happy to step over the threshold while the roof is still leaking; to walk around touching the walls affectionately; planning and shaping, making himself at home even when it's grubby and draughty and his hands get dirty.

Why? Because he loves this little house. Even in its neglected state, he loves it. He looked at it and took in all the many inadequacies and problems and he still thought immediately that it had immense potential; it was worth investment.

As soon as I opened the little battered door, he sent in his best team.

So, Father God. As Project Manager, how's it going? No, don't tell me. I'm not really that keen on knowing that we're only on Phase One of a lifetime's worth of renovations. Come and build. Find the locked doors in secret corridors and help me to open them up so that you can transform those rooms too. Knock down walls if you must; let light flood into the dark places.

I want to be a palace fit for the King of Kings.

I don't want to aim small. I want to be all that I can be, and for your glory. I want everyone to know that you are the architect and designer and the builder. I want people to look at me and see you.

I've got my hard hat on. This might take a while.

Pictures used:

hardhat0001.jpg by MConnors
constructionsite.jog by wallyir

both from Morguefile.com 
Used with permission

Helen Murray lives in Derbyshire with her husband, two daughters and her mum.

Having spent time as a researcher, church worker and Hand Therapist, Helen is now a full time mum and writer, currently supposed to be working on her first novel. Or at least working on something. 

As well as writing and reading, she drinks coffee, takes photographs, swims, breeds Aloe Vera plants and collects ceramic penguins.

Helen has two blogs: Are We Nearly There Yet? where she writes about life and faith, and Badger on the Roof where readers are treated to a blow by blow account of her novel-writing progress, or lack thereof. It's been a while since there was anything to report, but she hasn't given up. Check back when the kids have left home. 

You can also find her here:

Pinterest: @HelenMMurray
Twitter: @helenmurray01


  1. Great post, Helen. Perhaps we should all be given hard hats at our baptisms, in recognition of all that is to come ... :)

    1. Good idea. A Bible, a candle, hard hat, high-vis jacket and steel toe-caps. Welcome to the world, little one.
      Thanks Fran.

    2. PS I've corrected my Shakespeare misquote. Thank you for not mentioning it.

  2. Brilliant, Helen. Helpful too.

    1. Thank you! You're very kind. I'm glad you found it helpful. x

  3. Oh Helen thank you. What a profound post. Chuckling through tears. How you've encouraged me. Bless you.

    I've printed this out to keep in my journal as a reminder for when things are tough and God starts the next bit of His building project that is my life.

    1. And you've encouraged me so much, Mandy. Thank you. At the moment I definitely come with a 'Danger' sign.

  4. I recognise that bedroom! I love your analogy, Helen. I get so frustrated because I think the renovations should have been completed by now - so thank you for reminding me that God's plans are much bigger and better than mine. Bless you. xx

    1. Thanks Fiona. I sometimes wonder if God couldn't be a little less ambitious in his plan for me as it's hard work - but as you say, he knows best!

  5. Isn't that a great passage from C. S. Lewis? Yours is a pretty impressive bit of writing too, though. Thanks.

    1. It certainly is! Such wisdom, with such good humour. CS Lewis is always good value.
      Thank you very much for the compliment! Means a lot coming from you.

  6. Oh er...methinks I recognise myself here...definitely a wip with lots of renovation going on, and someone who was silly enough to ask God for patience, expecting to be wrapped in it like a warm duvet, then discovering it's really a prickly covering! The messy bedroom in need of a good clear-out is also ringing some painfully loud bells. There is such a lot to relate to in your words, Helen. Brilliantly written as always. I love the humour you inject into serious topics - it makes them far more palatable to read. Thank you! xo

    1. Thank you for your lovely words, Joy. As Christmas approaches and I start to think about getting the house ready for guests as well as everything else, the messy bedroom thing gets even more real! Thank you for the 'Me too'!


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