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Giants Ask God for Wisdom

Gather ‘round! Listen up! I’ve got a story to tell, and it’s a fun one!


When we first looked at our house to buy, there were many things about the house that really excited us, and, as is usually the case, there were a few that didn’t.


One of those that didn’t was the master/primary room closet. It was small, poorly lit, and had a strangely assembled homemade plywood closet system. The cedar ceiling was super high and beautiful in keeping with the architecture of the entire upstairs, but you couldn’t really see it in the dark, and…what good is a beautiful, high ceiling if the space isn’t very usable for its primary purpose?



Our realtor didn’t ask many critical questions about our decision to purchase this home, but he did mention the master/primary closet: “Are you sure that’s going to work for you?” It was a fair question. He knew we had turned down houses with certain impracticalities.


I had already thought through that one by the time he asked and replied with my honest evaluation: “It’s not ideal. It’ll need some work. But…[turning 180 degrees to face the view out the window]…for that view, I think we can figure it out.”


Now, we’ve done a lot of projects over the years and we’ve always managed to find a way to make things better, but I’ll admit that this one posed a few challenges that pushed it a little higher on the spectrum of difficulty:

  1. The size is what it is. We had no room to push out walls, and there’s only so high you can go before vertical space becomes useless.

  2. When closet systems aren’t cheap, they’re EXPENSIVE.

  3. We believed this room deserved a little better than “cheap” when we considered desired resale characteristics in this market.

But have you shopped for a closet system lately?


I have.


For the past year.


And believe-you-me, I dug deep into research on this one. I read countless articles, watched hours of YouTube videos detailing closet projects, scoured Pinterest, repeatedly assembled systems (with quotes) online, scheduled in-home consultations with multiple companies, and became a regular window-shopper at local home improvement stores.



Yes, I can get a little obsessive about these things.


I played around with so many ideas in my mind, working through various arrangements, features, and compromises based on cost, but was coming up short, not just on dollars but on compelling ideas too.


I was convinced there was a better way to do this…I just didn’t know what that better way was.


In the meantime, we were setting our clothes in suitcases and little piles on top of the moving boxes stacked in our closet.


Before moving in, we had pulled out the weird plywood system to replace the carpet and paint (since we were doing that everywhere else).


We left one high shelf we thought we might be able to work into the next system, but other than that, it was just a little room with our boxes and clothes in piles. Not ideal.

Seeing as we were living off of savings…it was also something that could wait.

“When I start getting a little income, we need to get that closet done,” Joel decided.


I readily concurred.


We could think of more fun ways to spend money than on a closet nobody but us would see, but…the situation was getting pretty tiresome.


The time came, and we set out to make it happen.

“Do it right, do it once!”


(That’s kind of a life motto for us if you don’t already know.)


Well…“doing it right” costs $16,000+ according to sellers of MDF and particle board products.


$16,000! That is a real quote! From a company best known for their “most value for the money” product!


Gag. Choke. Spit out the coffee.

“No.”

I came home from that store (which we had driven nearly an hour across town to get to, by the way), sat down at my computer, spread out the closet plan provided by our consultant, and resolved to figure out a better way once and for all.


After an hour or so of finding no new solutions over and above the ones I’d seen for the past year, I was frustrated.


So I did what I usually do when I’m frustrated.


I called out to God.

Ugh! Lord, I don’t want to spend over a thousand dollars on MDF and particle board! And I’m NOT spending $16,000! I want real wood! I want corner shelves that go around the corner!”


(This was said to be a highly unlikely find, which I found hard to believe but experience of shopping for over a year had kind of proven it true.)


Now, I know this isn’t exactly a life or death situation. And it definitely falls way more into the “want” category than the “need” category. And many people would look at me and say, “Getting a little picky now, aren’t we?”


I get that. And I’m definitely not the kind of gal who has ever dreamed up a fancy closet.


I’m a homeschooling mother of boys who lives far from female family members, has no shopping companions, has spent most of the last 10 years living hours from the nearest clothing retailers, and who does not sport the kind of figure that is particularly easy to dress up anyway.


This jeans and tee-shirt kind of gal just wants a place to put her stuff, but she has a tendency to exhibit characteristics of OCD and wants her stuff organized. And she has no plans to sell the house anytime soon, but she knows that day always comes eventually and wants to get it right for when it does. Besides, she might as well enjoy it until then, right?


Right.

But she doesn’t know what to do, so she called out to God.


James 1:5 is one of my favorite verses. I quote it to someone probably every other day. Here’s what it says:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

I take this one literally. I use it for the big stuff of life (major life decisions, major challenges, and consequential existential questions) and the smaller stuff (like how to order my day and what to make for dinner).


Not joking. The closet situation counts too. So after pouring out some frustration, I straightened myself up a bit in my seat, quieted my heart, laid my hands on the closet plan before me, and prayed in earnest.


I asked God to lead me in wisdom. I reminded Him that I’d done everything I could on this one but was truly stumped.


He already knew my heart, but I honestly confessed to Him that it wasn’t that I wanted a fancy closet…and that the cheap stuff truly was fine for me…but that I believed the house deserved a better investment––that someday when someone was looking to buy the house as I had, the closet shouldn’t have to be a compromise for the view. It could be something that made sense with the character of the home and be practical too.


I asked Him to help us find something we hadn’t seen yet. Something with real wood. Something with those corner shelves that would make best use of the space. Something that fit the precise budget we had determined for this project before we heard the crazy quotes.


I named the dollar amount we had budgeted.


I asked the Lord to find us something that fit the budget.


I acknowledged the creativity of our God and praised Him for the countless times He has applied it to our challenges to provide solutions we never could have imagined.


I thanked Him for His goodness and love for us and put it all in His hands, knowing that I could trust Him with the best outcome—no matter what it was.


And then I took a deep breath and closed with, “In Jesus’ name, amen.”


After pausing to rest in the visceral presence of God with me in that moment, I reopened my computer and entered these words into an internet search bar:


“real wood closet systems”



Within probably two minutes, maaaaaybe three, my eye caught sight of the words “Northern Kentucky Cedar.”


Hmm.

Northern Kentucky.


That’s where my parents live.


Click.

“Aromatic Red Cedar Organizers.”



Hmm!


"I bet that smells lovely."

[Reading from the website...]


From the log woods in the mid 80′s, Dan Reeder has logged and harvested aromatic red cedar. At that time red cedar was considered a nuisance tree and was of little use. It was occasionally used as a fence post, because it was widely known to be rot resistant. In 1990, Dan and his wife Teri started Northern Kentucky Cedar as a sawmill in a 12′ x 20′ shed…

“Real wood!”


Hmm!!


"But what does it cost?”

I did a quick calculation based on their available products which happened to fit my plans to a “t”—in fact, more to a “t” than the quote before me which left several inches of gaps. Wouldn’t you know, but the cost came to within a couple dollars of our budget! And when I say “a couple,” I mean “a couple.” I’m not stretching anything here.

“This couldn’t be!”


But it was. And as I worked through the website, reading all the provided product information and double and triple checking calculations, I realized I was looking at a real wood product with corner shelves just like I wanted that fit not only our budget but the space dimensions to the a fraction of an inch.



Being Eastern Aromatic Red Cedar, it would smell incredible, not contain any weird chemicals like formaldehyde (as do MDF and particle boards), and would carry with it a rustic charm perfectly in keeping with my alpine chalet. I could see the potential for appealing to future Pacific Northwest/West Coast buyers who do tend to be more attracted to natural and sustainable living.


Also, if we went with this company, we would be a supporting a family-run business in my parents’ neck of the woods, a little tie to people we love. Obviously, this would be a more gratifying purchase than forking a chunk of change over to a big box retailer.


I was in awe.


How could I not be?


Only God could have led this Oregonian to a small business in Northern Kentucky that happened to manufacture a product that not only suited my needs but went way above and beyond my hopes for what this closet could be…and so obviously in response to my request for His wisdom.


He knew all along.


When I asked, He answered as only He could and in a way that left no doubt whatsoever that:

  1. God is faithful to His Word.

  2. God answers prayer.

  3. When He says to ask for wisdom, He means it.

  4. We can trust in Him.

  5. He takes delight in bringing delight to His children.

Sometimes He disciplines. Sometimes He refines. Sometimes He leads us through difficult experiences and seasons to grow and stretch us.


But sometimes He delights and amazes us with marvelous expressions of undeserved love.


And when these expressions manifest in the form of physical objects, they provide regular faith-becomes-sight reminders of His goodness. They also spur on our faith to believe for bigger, more consequential asks as we co-mission with God for His Kingdom purposes!


We ordered our closet system that day and immediately began making plans to add LED light strips, better overhead lighting, and a more complete paint job that would utilize a high shelf we let remain from the old setup.



It took some work, but my brilliant husband knew just how to make the whole thing sparkle, and that brings us to today. It’s all set up, ready for me to finally begin unpacking boxes.


(This is it. The real finished product. Go ahead and click through the little slideshow. Don't you love it??)


I know that as time goes by, the excitement over the newness of this material resource will wear off and my greater challenge relating to that little space will have to do with figuring out what to wear (a challenge also served well by the truth of James 1:5), but I know this: it’s not just a closet. It’s a reminder.

Do you have anything in your life that serves as a regular faith-becomes-sight reminder of God’s goodness?


To be clear, we are to make idols of nothing.


But do you have anything in your life that you regularly see or interact with that takes you back to a moment when God proved Himself faithful to you in a uniquely personal way? When you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt it was He, the Maker of the Universe, who bent to hear your humble request? When He swept you off your feet and left you breathless with wonder at the magnanimousness of His impossible-to-fully-comprehend loving-kindness?


If you do not, you should.


According to James 1:5, ask Him for the wisdom to know what your reminder should be.


If you can not think of a time when God did this for you, ask Him to provide one, afresh and anew!


I believe He will because He loves to reveal Himself to His people.



Isaiah 43:10–13a says this,

You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he.

Finally, do you share the stories of what God has done for you?


You are not proud when you declare what God has done!

We have this idea in our culture that boasting is bad. Boasting in yourself, your achievements, or your possessions is bad; however, boasting in the Lord…that’s a whole different story!


2 Corinthians 10:17 says this:


Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.

Does God do so much for you that you can’t stop praising Him? He does for me!


Psalm 34:1–3:


I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips. I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.

Not only does our testimony of God bring hope to the afflicted and invite shared praise (which, by the way, God inhabits according to Psalm 22:3, KJV and is enthroned upon according to most of the rest of the versions), it helps us overcome the Accuser of God’s people! Revelation 22:11:


They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.

The enemy’s lies fall flat at the proclamation of a God-honoring testimony. His pretentious power is revealed for what it is: void of any authority. And as people declare God's praise and the wonders of His deeds, they rise up as giants of the faith, ready to tackle Kingdom assignments by the power of the Holy Spirit!


May your faith be encouraged today as you've read my boasts in the Lord.


To God Be the Glory!

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