The Lord Must Build the House
by Drenda Keesee
Early on in our marriage, I got a taste of vintage living, moving our family into an abandoned 1800s farmhouse. With its wide slat wooden floors, built in bookshelves, mature trees, and fragrant shrubs, it was charming in so many ways, much like the vintage approach to life. But it had its difficulties, too! It had vines that made their way through windows that no longer shut, a scary cellar with ancient creepy crawly bugs and rats and raccoons and ancient appliances. The worst situation was that our family of six shared one bathroom! Talk about vintage! Everyone had to wait for his or her turn.
Families used to share, whether it was one car or one bathroom. I think it made them, and us, more closely knit together, creating a need for communication, cooperation, and consideration—three vintage values families need more of today!
In the beginning, it seemed like fun and adventure, but eventually, I had to place a sign in the bathroom that said…
“Make the Choice to Rejoice,” to keep myself from going in there to cry. There were some very tough times living there, and yet we made some of the most wonderful treasured memories I possess today. I had to make the decision to be happy following God’s plan for our lives regardless of the challenges. God taught us rich lessons on love and communicating. We learned how to follow God and His Word while going through our own wilderness experience. We learned how to stop the strife and build a strong family bond and a life of faith, and that’s what truly makes a house a home.
What started out as a plan to live there three years turned into almost nine, but eventually our family needed a modern new house, and we knew the only way to move from the old to the new was to exercise faith in God’s promises. In Jeremiah 6:16 net, the Lord says, “You are standing at the crossroads so consider your path. Ask where the old, reliable paths are [the vintage paths]. Ask where the path is that leads to blessing, and follow it. If you do, you will find rest for your souls.” That rest is the rest of faith, believing in Him.
Gary and I made a list of the things we wanted to have in a home and land. Gary’s list included 50+ acres, woods, a pond or wetland, and barn. I wanted a five-bedroom house for our large family and eventually a swimming pool. After agreeing together, praying over our list, and giving finances to underwrite a marriage conference to help families (our seed), a couple called and told us about 55 acres for sale. God literally led us to our property, which had everything on our list, including a barn!
While in the farmhouse, we paid off our debts and saved $50,000, but we knew our damaged credit history would require paying cash for the land. God brought an unprecedented bonus check of almost $30,000 to our business that month, and over the next two months, we received the remainder, paying cash at closing.
The answers to prayer about building our new home remain one of the greatest demonstrations of faith I have walked out. I read a book about being your own general contractor, and God directed our steps toward the right builder to frame our home and weather it in, and I would take care of subcontracting the rest. Meanwhile, Gary attended to our business and the new church.
We were slated to build in the spring, but I had this intense desire to have it framed in before winter. With just a few weeks to secure the house plan and make changes, we broke ground in the fall and got it under roof. The day they dug the basement, our family stood with excitement and amazement that our basement was bigger than the farmhouse. We cried and shook to actually see the object of our faith being raised day by day.
Paying cash as we built all winter long was a weekly step of faith, with many close calls and deadlines, but God always came through. Items that were on my wish list would show up in returns or clearances. Our children were part of the house of faith God built, assisting me, learning new skills, and rejoicing in the process. The children even wrote scriptures on wall studs. My eighteen-month-old was often covered in drywall dust, but we did it as a family!
When spring rolled around, we were given notice that we had to move out of the farmhouse by July 4! I was grateful for the direction by God’s Spirit to build in the fall. We moved into our almost completed house on July 4, the Keesee family independence day, and finished the final details the next months while living there. God brought the picture of faith to pass as we believed, prayed, and spoke God’s Word daily over every detail.
Families need homes, but more importantly, they need the Lord to build the house or they labor in vain. Build a house of faith and boldly believe His Word. To a modern-day world, it may seem like an ancient path, but that’s the path that leads to blessing and peace.
Excerpt from “The New Vintage Family” by Drenda Keesee
Drenda Keesee’s contagious zeal and humorous personal experiences help make her ministry of spiritual, emotional and relational wholeness one that will bless your life and spark a new fire in your spirit.
A wife of over 30 years and a mother of five children, Drenda has ministered at churches, seminars, and conferences, and through the mediums of television and radio, for more than 20 years.
Her books, The New Vintage Family, Better Than You Think, and She Gets It are available wherever books are sold. In these heartfelt books, Drenda shares her personal journey and the life lessons that have brought her to where she is today, as well as practical answers that all people need to live a joyful life.
Drenda and her husband Gary founded Faith Life Now, a ministry designed to spread the message of freedom in the areas of finances, faith, marriage, and family. Faith Life Now hosts conferences worldwide, and sponsors both Fixing the Money Thing, which Drenda co-hosts with her husband Gary, and Drenda.
Through their own life experiences, the Keesees have found the principles from God’s Word to be powerful and effective. At one point, Drenda was a young, suicidal feminist with no hope of ever being “good enough” for her own standards of perfection. She never wanted the “inconvenience” of a husband or children, and she was on her own path to success. But the stress of trying to achieve perfection and perform for love left her broken and used. She had success, but it was nothing compared to the pain and loneliness it had also brought.
That’s when God got a hold of her heart. It was there—at her lowest point—that she found the One who accepted and loved her, faults and all. Since that transformation, Drenda has had a passion to reach women who find themselves where she once was.
She married Gary after attending college, and there she found herself in a personal boot camp of sorts. She says, “I cried and told God, ‘I can do anything but be a wife and mother.’” She committed to learning how to do it God’s way. Through the many years of raising their children and struggling to make ends meet, Drenda learned from their mistakes. “I didn’t know how to be a wife and mother, but God saved our marriage, taught us how to parent our children for success, showed us how to have financial success, and then irony of all ironies, He called us to ministry.” It’s truly because of these life experiences that Drenda can now share so many insightful principles for people who are now going through the same struggles.