It’s been an incredible year on the property.  The property.  Wide Open Acres. 
It’s been an incredible theme for the families.  The theme.  One Life.
One Life: Living Life where every ONE matters. (You can read bits of that theme revealed in my other recent posts.)
I can’t tell you how many times the old Amy Grant song, “If These Walls Could Speak” has gone through my mind.  Allow me to venture into some of the things that I believe the walls of this home may speak about forever:
The front entrance would speak of a young couple who drove a car into the ditch, and were pulled out by a rescue team of men and women who would months later become to that runaway couple a rescue team on a much grander scale.  New Recovery.  (90 days clean… and counting.)
The dock would tell of the man in need of peace who came to fish by the water after trying to keep a pulse on a dying little girl, but had to watch her go anyway.  New Strength.
The stump would speak of the woman who drove onto the property after
being discharged from a suicide-related hospital stay, who sat with her mug of coffee hoping to find a group of people who could help her rebuild her
life.  New Hope.
The roads and pathways would speak of the constant conversations, surprises, and daily unexpected interactions that we have never seen as interruptions.  New Steps.
The foyer would tell of the young man who was brought here by his parents after being told to leave another church because of his troubled thoughts.  The young man, looking for a place to belong, smiled and said to them, “We’re home.”  He has been a bright spot in all of our lives ever since.  New Belonging.
The Connection Room walls would tell of meals shared, bibles read, conversations valued and prayers offered.  New Bread.
The Café would speak of a woman who came to catch her breath.  She was drowning in depression and it was like living out a scene from a movie.  Literally, we sat by her side, helping her come up for air, listening to her story as she spoke these words over and again, “I want to matter.  I feel like I have a lot to offer, and I just want to matter.”  New Breath.

She held onto this picture while she talked with us that day.

The sofa would tell the stories of couples that arrived to talk about
life and marriage, sitting as far apart as possible with stiff postures
and arms crossed, who finished those conversations close and open with
hands holding on to one another for dear life.  New Beginnings.
The B.I.G. Kids Room would speak of an abundance of laughter and activity, and yet would tell you all about a young boy who was dealing with a crippling anxiety and learned to overcome it with the power of God and his family.  New Courage.
The Worship Room would speak about the families—all ages together—lifting up words, thoughts, and actions for the glory of God alone.  Moments that leave me speechless.  New Wonder.
No wonder we are grateful for every single moment of this passing year!
Every ONE does matter.  And these are only a few stories.
One Life: Living Life Where Every ONE Matters
It’s extraordinary to see that such words are a real-life discovery, a daily, moment-by-moment reality, and not just a slogan or a passing catch phrase.  To live for the moments that matter most is not self-glorifying.  The rewards come in seeing eyes light up to Truth for the very first time! It is in one person beginning to open up in surrender to the Light of Christ—The Light that will bend around every inner dark place in order to radiate/expel the darkness.  Desiring Him so much so, that the person’s very soul comes to life again, and comes awake!
Not every venture this year has ended with a “happily ever after” but as long as we are not the ones stamping “The End” to any particular relationship or person, we know that the Story is not over.
I was even asked the question recently, “Is what you are doing marketable?”  Oh, how I wish I could say “Yes” to that!  We certainly can offer families every theme, every scripture, and every bottom line of our two years together.  However, the bottom line is that this simple journey of together has been quite simply…. remarkable.
Right now, we are a grateful people-group and a debt-free ministry with funds continuing to rebuild lives and not buildings.  We are people and families being built up on the Cornerstone of Jesus Christ.  We may very well be without walls in a few months, as the owner that holds our lease agreement faces foreclosure with the bank in 5 short days.
A small few have questioned why we have not “prettied up” the place more, built entrance signs, begun programs for the community, planted the gardens, renovated the buildings, or fashioned the artistic environments.  We’ve wanted to, believe me, and have asked ourselves those same questions.  Those projects would have made this place more attractive to the drawing in of numbers.  A crowd.  We have not run ahead, though, because to our surprise, it was as if God said, “Wait!  First, I need you all to see what families are really like.  Turn ON the lights.  You need to really see.”  Thus began the mission of “turning on the lights.”  
This may or may not surprise you, but people are hiding, at least they believe they are hiding, behind other kinds of walls.  And these walls are many.  Because of this, we put programming on hold and just walked alongside others in the simplest and most meaningful ways.   Monies have been invested into the rebuilding of families, the “people lights” as I have stated in previous posts.  And do you know what I think the walls of this home see that on-lookers may miss?  Theyare … radiant.  They are becoming.  The people-lights are beautiful and these families are being genuinely renovated, remade.  Not by us, but by their Maker.  The walls here are well-pleased to witness that kind of beautiful reconstruction.  And if they could speak, they would hope to be able to keep on speaking of the stories yet to be told.
Every single day for over a year now, our children will say in their nighttime prayers, “Thank You God for another day here at Cre8 Home on Wide Open Acres.  We pray for many more days and years to come.” 
I know that my writing style can read poetically, and sometimes poetry-like thoughts make you wanna shake the person to reality and say, “But WHAT about the guy?  The owner?  The foreclosure?  The house?  Your future!?!” or whatever you are shouting at me as you read.  
Our answer:  We don’t know.  We really don’t.  I am finding this post to be as difficult to finish as I found it to begin.  I have had this sitting in my draft files for months.  I have a hard time ending this because we are not wanting to end… and we won’t.  If we hadn’t spent this year living life on this particular property, those stories and countless others would not have happened.  I can’t imagine that.  Yet, because a small group of families have learned—REALLY LEARNED (not just like a slogan or a catch phrase)—that WE are the church, then I know that on this property or another, we will continue to be about the things that are helping to rebuild “This House” and hey—when wood, drywall, and all that is of this world cease to exist, WE are the walls that will keep telling the stories for all eternity anyway.

“And so you are no longer called outcasts and wanderers but citizens with God’s people, members of God’s holy family, and residents of His household. You are being built on a solid foundation: the message of the prophets and the voices of God’s chosen emissaries with Jesus, the Anointed Himself, the precious cornerstone.  The building is joined together stone by stone—all of us chosen and sealed in Him, rising up to become a holy temple in the Lord.  In Him you are being built together, creating a sacred dwelling place among you where God can live in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2: 19-22 (The Voice)

If These Walls Could Speak – Song Lyrics (writer Jimmy Webb)
If these old walls,
If these old walls could speak
Of the things that they remember well,
Stories and faces dearly held,
A couple in love
Livin’ week to week,
Rooms full of laughter,
If these walls could speak.

If these old halls,
If hallowed halls could talk,
They would have a tale to tell
Of sun goin’ down and dinner bell,
And children playing at hide and seek
From floor to rafter,
If these halls could speak.

They would tell
you that I’m sorry
For bein’ cold and blind and weak.
They would tell you that it’s only
That I have a stubborn streak,
If these walls could speak.
If these old fashioned window panes were eyes,
I guess they would have seen it all
Each little tear and sigh and footfall,
And every dream that we came to see
Or followed after,
If these walls could speak.

They would tell
you that I owe you
More than I could ever pay.
Here’s someone who really loves you;
Don’t ever go away.
That’s what these walls would say.
That’s what these walls would say
If these walls could speak.

***Please pray for Michael this week as he and the bank manager… speak.  Thank you!***

God is Active When He is Silent
The Man in the Red Coat