The Architect & Me: Part #28 It Is Real

The ding announced a message. I looked down to see the beginning of a house. A real, live house. My new neighbor, who had come with her husband to introduce themselves when we had gone to see the foundation, lives across the cove and has the perfect view of our lot. She wanted to let me know the work had begun. Who knew 2×4’s could make one weepy? It would be a couple more weeks before we would get to see it ourselves.

Driving up, all the feels were there again. The anxiety. The anticipation. The excitement. The goosebumps. The heart palpitations. The dry mouth. All of it. The thoughts are all there as well. “I can’t believe this is mine.” “Will this always be mine?” “Someone is going to tell me it is not mine.” It is like an inevitable cyclone of body and mind every time we turn on the main street. It will not be stopped. 

As we pulled into our cul-de-sac I could see this sea of timber erected on our lot as if it was in a competition with the southern pines. A vision on paper was now a pile of sticks stuck in the red Georgia clay doing all they could to create a home. We climbed out of the car, me and Philly and Packer. I moved slowly studying this raised beauty before me.   

As we walked inside suddenly the vision was, well, visible. I could see where the gallery I designed was, and the large great room built for Weekend Experiences and Thanksgiving dinner was laid out in front of me. I walked the hall path to the kitchen and could see the frame of the window where I would one day look out over the kitchen sink, and the mantle that would hover over the stove. I saw the rounded wall where the banquette would fill the breakfast room. It was just all there. The makings of a home.  

But then the scene moved from what I could see with my eyes to what I could see in my heart. And now I saw the people. I saw the people in each chair, laughing from conversations with old friends. I saw them listening to the Word during a Bible Study or Weekend Experience. I saw them filling their plates around the island and heading to different locations to enjoy their breakfast. I saw them scattered across the lawn and the dock and taking in all the beauty and healing that their hearts need, knowing God is with them, has them and sees them. Those were the pictures that showered me like a farmer’s rain. 

We were able to make our way downstairs so I could study the rooms that we had prepared with our kids in mind. In the building of this home a few things felt really important.. First, that each one of our kids had their own room so that as they married and had kids of their own, each family would have a place and a space. So much had been missed with many of them through the years, and we prayed for moments of having them all with us. They weren’t big rooms, but they would be their rooms. Second, that each room had a view of the lake. At least some view of the lake. As we designed it, only one room had a limited view. But, as we walked into that room, I looked out the hole that would one day house one of the windows I had just labored over, only to see a concrete wall. A large, tall, concrete wall. The chest pain hit hard. How did I miss this? What had happened? 

It is the plight of our humanness, that in the middle of myriads of beauty we can find the blemish. First World problems for sure when it comes to an experience like this one, yet, with the time, the energy, and the resources, this mattered. What do you do with a concrete wall? How did I miss this? How expensive is it to move it? Can you move it? How did I miss this? Would a real designer have missed this? It wasn’t on the first iteration of the plans. I knew this. I had worked too hard for views.

I scanned my phone for plans like the heron scan the lake, determined. I finally found it. Our last iteration. That one item had been changed and I had not caught it. I had not caught a concrete wall. It had to have been changed because of some issue with grating the yard and holding back the clay. But the specific change hadn’t been communicated, it had just been made on the plans. Again, I had not studied every little detail. My mistake.

I looked at Philly and Packer. “What have I done?” They looked at each other and I was certain they were wondering the same thing. “There was only one room that would have a limited view of the lake and it wasn’t this room.” My voice had just climbed three octaves.

Philly’s voice never climbed octaves. His voice only ever used the five middle keys. If it climbed an octave you might want to look up because Jesus would be coming back. “We will talk to Dan. I’m sure he can help us figure something out.” 

I leaned against a 2×4 resisting the urge to pound my head against it and reminding myself that there was more I had yet to see, even though I could not see anything out of these windows but A CONCRETE WALL.

I began to self talk. “We will get this figured out. Surely it can be figured out. Philly will figure it out.

He casually pulled me from the room. “Come on babe. Let’s go look at something else.” 


I was still mumbling to myself as we walked back upstairs and made our way to the deck. The mumbling stopped. For the first time we stood on the beginnings of a back deck, and for the first time we saw how we will, for the remainder of our lives, Lord willing, see the view. The beauty was both sobering and spectacular. It made me gasp. It made us all gasp. Then the view shifted again. I now saw the six rocking chairs lining the deck, with a small table in between, as people rocked with a glass of sweet tea and watched the bass jump and the heron’s dive. I saw our kids with morning coffee and hopefully, lingering conversations. In this moment I am thanking God that we did not get the sunrise that I longed for, or the sunset that demands notice, because this space and place can be enjoyed longer without any interruptions of UV rays as sleepy eyes awaken and end of day gratitude is enjoyed. 

Then I could see our Thanksgiving family football game on the back lawn and the littles jumping off the dock. I could see the kids head out in the Sea-Doo’s and the pool chairs covered with scattered towels from a bunch of women gabbing and sunning, and children bouncing.  Every scene holds joy and the healing that joy and rest and peace bring. 

We walked every inch for over an hour and a half, taking in each nook and cranny. Every little piece and part. Each space revealing the seen and unseen. I had seen it all in my mind for months, but this was the first day I could feel it beneath my feet. And as I stood there, I let God know that other than the gift of Jesus, and the family He had given me, this experience, this process, this feeling of standing on a dream, is the most treasurable experience I have ever been given.

I mumbled quietly again. “I don’t know why You’re allowing me to do this. I don’t know why You are entrusting this to me and Philly. The resources. The ability of time. The gifting. The wisdom. But it could only be because it was in Your heart first. Your will and dream and vision became our will and dream and vision. I do not know why You chose us for this space and place and time, to steward this home of healing and glory, but it is real now. It is very real. And to the best of my ability and with all my heart I will use it to bring You glory. But I do hope we can do something with that concrete wall.” 

Denise Jones Reclaiming Hearts

Hi, I’m Denise!

I love Jesus, my family and friends, my sweet dog Sophie, SEC football and Coca-Cola.