I have a moat ….

Lofty spires stretching their elegant necks towards the heavens, searching for heights not yet attained, windows that gaze out upon the most lovely of views, and stonework that is intricately woven together to optimize the perfect dreamy castle in my mind.

This is the image I conjure up when I think of a castle .

It is Neuschwanstein Castle, and it is located in the town of Hohenschwangau, in southwest Bavaria, Germany.

I had the pleasure of visiting this majestic castle many years ago, with my Mum on a college architectural trip, that she accompanied me upon. It was really breathtaking, and we toured it, and marveled at the intricate details of the structure on both the interior and exterior.

It was dreamy, and easy to get lost in the romance of this magnificent structure. Picturing lords and ladies, kings and queens, and court jesters. Not focusing on primitive plumbing, and folk who most probably did not bathe all that frequently.

Disney has a castle that looks similar to this one. There are so many stunning ones to see throughout Bavaria, and I highly recommend it, should you be given the opportunity .

There is a phrase that says ” every mans’ home is his castle,” and it would seem that I have now procured my own accidental moat, around my house, complete with a haphazard, drawbridge of sorts.

I tend to indulge myself in dark comedic cackle , when I think back over this last year of 2019, and all of the crazy exploits that my dwelling has been through, and now, not even one bit kidding… it has a moat.

If you are envisioning the photo of the castle that was provided, you may be able to see why my mind hosts a colorful fantasy life, and how I find humor such an important antidote in the face of completely wanting to tear my hair out by its bleached roots.

I have been exposed, well at least my house has, down to its very foundation, and I’ve been able to glimpse what my house, and I am built upon.

Its been a primal excavation of the heart and soul… and it’s not been enjoyable.

When the crew came with their huge mechanical machines and began to scrape away the cold earth, and pound apart the cement garden walls surrounding the house, the earth literally shook around me. I was not prepared for that.

Excavation digs up the truth of what you are standing on, what is beneath your skin, what is your foundation, who you are at your core.

It exposes cracks in your “footings” if they are to be found, and all the specialists in their field come, and advise after a lengthy evaluation, of what needs to be done in order to bring your property back to where it once was, prior to the flood.

It’s been an education on a grand scale, because once your footing is cracked they need to underpin the area, to keep your foundation secure moving forward. This stirs up a lot of profound analysis for me about life, and what can rock my very foundation.

I joked earlier this year about the old Sunday School hymn that I grew up singing,

” The wise man builds his house upon the rock, the wise man builds his house upon the rock, the wise man builds his house upon the rock, and the rains came tumbling down. The rains came down, and the floods came up, the rains came down, and the floods came up, the rains came down, and the floods came up, but the house on the rock stood firm.”

There is the next stanza which tells of the “foolish man building his house upon the sand, and his house fell flat.”

The last stanza instructs to ” build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ and the blessings will come down.. the blessings will come down, as the prayers go up… and the house built on the Lord stood firm.”

This song has been running through my mind these last 8 months, and today I read from ” Our daily bread”…. this ,

“Foundations matter. When your foundation isn’t solid, catastrophe could ensue.”…” Christ doesn’t promise us that we’ll never face storms. But He does say that when He’s our rock, these storms will never wash away our faith-fortified foundation in Him.”

How completely appropriate that I am reading this today.

My dear cousin Miriam, and her wonderful hubby, Ralph Berry ventured out from Millgrove my way to assist me in knowing that the path forward in rectifying these foundational issues would be done in the correct manner.

They walked about my house, and Ralph gave gentle instruction and information about any issues that he saw as problematic. He took his time. He helped me connect the scattered dots to see my way forward into this next project of this remediation process concerning my house.

For the first time in my life, the night before, I scoured painstakingly through the geotechnical engineers’ report on what was happening below surface.. It was not a thrilling or captivating read….but alas…. a necessary one.

A lightbulb went off… I felt as if there would be hope, in this tunnel of uncertainty… and it was glorious.

Miriam also gave me wise counsel, and is just the most welcome loving presence, filled with compassion, understanding , grace and love… truly in every way her name is perfectly fitted for the marvelous woman that she is..

They are one of the most beautiful examples to me of what Christ envisioned when he talked about marriage.

I have laughed at little hysterically about the fact that my house is surrounded by a dry moat, complete with a draw bridge, and that now my moat is filled with straw, and should perhaps my knight in shining armor require feed for his horse then come on ahead.

However … in truth.. moments like yesterday… created peace in my heart . I am so grateful to Ralph and Miriam for hopping in their car, and just coming alongside me in this chaotic journey of life.

This was one of the best days… because they were here, and because knowledge is power, and when Ralph rolled up His sleeves, and cut pipes and some wires, that I was too frightened to tackle… well .. he was the knight in shining armor.

They were a great encouragement.

As the weather continues to grow even colder, conditions for completing this job become more challenging.

It’s been an interesting and informative learning experience this last 2019, and I can’t stay I would have accepted this last chapter with a very willing heart, so it’s a good thing I can really only live for the present, and for right now because it’s so exactly right.

” tomorrow has enough care of its own.”

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Mathew 6:34

The future is unseen, but the hope in each new morning is the great promise.

I love the mornings… it’s my favorite time of the day… I get impatient going to bed at night, because I’m giddy to see what will transpire the next morning. I have expectations…coffee.. for one… and sunshine too.

When God sends friends to come alongside in your earthly walk …..that is the good stuff. That is pure gold.

When I was texting back and forth with Ralph, and he offered to come and be of assistance, my first guttural reaction was to say, ” no it’s, ok, thank you, I’ve got this.”

There was really a battle taking place in my mind on whether I could accept his help. I could feel it..

I gazed out my back window onto a winter scene with snow sitting on dark branches like icing on a chocolate cake, the sun streaming, and making diamonds on the whiteness, I fought my thoughts of self sufficiency.

What was holding me back from saying ” yes,” to the help offered… It was pride.

It is so much easier I find being the ” helper,” versus, the ” helpee.”

I delved deeper into that, and realized that when you are the helper, then you are more in control, but when you are being helped, it’s a humble place to be placed, and you let your vulnerability show. Both are good and enviable spots to spend time in.

We are taught with ” it is better to give than to receive,”

…but… not gonna lie, I find it hard to receive.

The most natural thing for me to do, would be to refuse his kind offer, but because I knew I needed the encouragement, and assistance, I said yes.

It may seem like a simple acknowledgment, but in reality, victory was gained in the ongoing war in my mind, of what do I really believe.

Do I have faith or not? Will I accept help, or blunder through on my own?….

No to the blundering.

Yes to the kindness.

It can be that simple.

Clearing out the debris, and hoping for the next step, as it comes, day to day…still kind of tickled that I have a moat.