Unless the Lord Builds the House

I remember planning my wedding and stressing out over the many details I was supposed to care about. I was way more excited about marriage than I was the wedding, so it was kind of an inconvenience for me (is that horrible?) Anyway, one of the hardest parts for me was deciding on the verses to be read during the ceremony. I didn’t want a lot, and I didn’t want a sermon preached. I just wanted a couple verses that were very meaningful to us. There was one verse that kept grabbing my attention, so it was read during our wedding ceremony. I don’t remember the other verses I chose, but this one is bold in my memory, especially now.

Psalm 127:1 

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.

At the time, I had used this verse in reference to my many prayers and years of waiting for my husband, the right husband that God had picked out for me. There had been a couple of boyfriends who I really liked and who had come close, but I knew God had someone better for me. It was hard to end relationships, to go through heartbreak and trust God and wait longer. This verse was always a good reminder and an encouragement for me while I was single. I didn’t want to marry a man because it was the easy thing at the time, because he was “close” to being the right one. I wanted God to build my marriage and I didn’t want to labor in vain.

In one of my previous relationships everything was going well, I thought I was in love with him, he said he was in love with me, we were happy together. But God told me CLEARLY one day that He wanted me to break up with him. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I did it because I knew God wanted me to and honestly, I was scared of the consequences if I didn’t. I went through a deep depression that lasted for months and I lost 20 pounds. It was a very hard break up. I expected God to send me my husband shortly after that, since I had obeyed Him and trusted Him. I had to wait another five long years for Josh. Now, I thank God over and over again for making me break up with that guy. Sometimes I even have terrifying nightmares that I married him and I’m stuck in an awful marriage. I love waking up from those dreams to see Josh next to me in bed, to see the blessings that God poured out on me, to see the plan that He had come to fruition. It’s so much better than what I had expected. Unless the Lord builds the house, unless the Lord builds the family, those who build it labor in vain.

I used that verse in my wedding ceremony as a tribute to the way God had brought Josh and me together, but God knew that the verse would have a much deeper meaning for us in the future. I had some nice, simple blueprints for how I was planning on building my family. Wait a year or two after getting married and then have a baby (boy, hopefully.) Then have another baby (boy, hopefully) 18 months-2 years later, then another one (girl, hopefully) 18 months-2 years later. Maybe take a little break and then have two more babies (boy and girl) close together. Pretty much just like my Mom did it. We thought adoption was a nice idea if we won the lottery or somehow became rich one day and had a bunch of extra money and a huge house. Of course, the plans did NOT include stillbirth, miscarriages, anti-kell antibodies, fetomaternal hemmorhage, infertility, deep lifelong wounds or a huge age gap opening up between siblings.

I am a pretty independent person and I like to do things myself, I like to fix things myself. I am also stubborn and pretty rebellious at heart, so my first reaction to this “change of plans” was to fight against them. Actually, it has been an ongoing battle for me to let go of MY plans and accept HIS plans. I want to build my house and my family how I want, but if I do, I will be laboring in vain. I don’t want to work hard for no reason. Why should I spend all of my energy straining my muscles and exhausting myself if it’s all in vain? I can let God work for me and He has a better plan anyway. I am learning that He is a far more daring architect than I am and His plans to build my house and my family are so intricate and well thought out. The hard part is that many of His tools feel harsh right now, like pain, disappointment, and suffering. But He knows what He is doing. He is breaking the mold. He’s hard at work on my behalf and the finished product is going to be stunning. Do you have plans for your family? Maybe God has bigger and better plans. What if we all laid our own plans down at His feet and told Him to have His way with us, with our families, with our plans that we hold so tightly in our fists? Don’t labor in vain.


10 thoughts on “Unless the Lord Builds the House

  1. Husband and I were talking about this yesterday – we both used to fight so hard against the plans god had for us, it was exhausting and stressful and awful. Our lives, even with everything that has happened this year, are so much more peaceful and fruitful since we’ve (mostly, not perfectly), turned our lives over to his will, rather than fighting for ours.

    • It is hard not to fight, isn’t it? And there is a great peace that washes over when we finally submit to HIS will for our lives. It’s extra hard when His plan involves more pain, though, for sure. But like you said, the peace and fruitfulness are so much more with Him in charge

  2. Great post!! Back when I was the one doing everything to try and build my family I was not at rest and always exhausted emotionally and spiritually. But since surrendering, I have such a peace and hope. I always say, while we wait…God works…

  3. After 3 flawless pregnancies/births and one foster-to-adopt adoption that took only 18 months from placement to adoption, I never imagined the years of infertility, two pregnancy losses, and two foster care losses that followed. It wasn’t my plan, that’s for sure. But I have seen how these hardships have led me to new revelations, seeing God in a much bigger pictures in which pain can bring hope. Colors are far more brighter now… our soon-to-be-adopted (foster) son is 1000 times more treasured as the blessing that he is. Jesus is simply more real as he has walked with me through the valley of the shadow of death. Praying God builds your faith and your family. 🙂

    • Your story is always so amazing and inspiring to me, especially your courage and hope. I am still learning to see God in a much bigger picture in which pain can bring hope. But just reading that gave me so much hope. We often think pain is the opposite of hope, but maybe that is a misconception? And I agree that the beauty in life is now amplified and our next baby will also be treasured 1000 times more as the blessing that he/she will be. And congrats on the soon to be adoption!

  4. Great post. Letting go of my plan and embracing God’s plan, continues to be a struggle for me. I go back and forth. I’ll surrender my life to God and I’m left feeling full of hope and excited for the future….but then worry and anxiety creep in, and I start to wonder if just maybe God forgot about me (ridiculous I know lol) and I start working on a plan….searching for just a bit of control. I’m working on it

    • I struggle with it too and I go back and forth all the time. It’s so easy to worry and fear without realizing it. For me it takes a tremendous amount of focus to keep my eyes on Him, especially when is seems like He’s forgotten about me. Thank goodness He hasn’t. I am praying for you!

  5. This is awesome, Bethany! Great perspective and a reminder that the waiting and hurt is not arbitrary or a punishment or abandonment. It is planned and for a purpose. I have said that your reward will be greater because your suffering and waiting are great. I believe that. Few have the courage to really wait for that perfect planned one as you did with Josh. I didn’t–I only split with my ex because he chose to leave. This too will be redeemed.

    • Thanks Sara. I honestly don’t think it was courage that made me wait, it was fear of what would happen if I didn’t! And you don’t have to worry about whether you waited or didn’t- God took care of it for you and now you have your Josh too. He always takes care of us

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