I’m new to PCC, and new to the Peninsula. I recently moved here from Fauquier County, where I’d lived for nearly forty years. I’m building an in-law suite onto the house owned by my daughter, Becky Chappell, and her husband Chris.
As I write, men are pouring concrete into carefully dug ditches in the backyard. They’re laying the foundation for what will be my new home. They’ve followed the plans, measured and re-measured. They’ve smoothed the sides of the ditches, and laid in reinforcing bar and a copper “ground” wire. At this moment, they’re using a Georgia buggy to transport wet concrete from the truck out front to the back yard. Load by load, they’re expertly guiding it into the ditches and smoothing it so it will dry level.
It’s important to get the foundation right. I appreciate the care they’re taking with it.
I was raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington D.C., the middle of three daughters. Growing up, my family was active in a mainline-denomination church. Innumerable Sunday school lessons, children’s choir practices, and vacation Bible schools filled my growing up years. I figuratively climbed Jacob’s ladder, learned about “a wee little man,” and earned a whole string of perfect attendance Sunday school pins.
It was a good upbringing and I am very grateful to my parents for it. But as a spiritual foundation it was flawed: I was taught Bible stories but not the Bible. I knew nothing of sin or salvation. Miracles, I was told, were explainable, natural phenomena used to illustrate a point. I believed in God, but I didn’t think he was involved (or cared about) my everyday life. I was well-behaved, a “good girl,” or so I thought. I never knew just how very much I needed Jesus.
For various reasons, I entered my college years riddled with insecurity. One by one my compensations—academic achievement, marriage, and fast career success—failed me. By my mid-twenties my emotional life was falling apart. My spiritual foundation was too shaky to support me. I found myself deep in a miry pit.
But God had His eye on me the whole time. In the midst of my despair, someone came along and explained grace to me. A colleague shared the Gospel. A friend invited me to Bible study. Gradually, God lifted me out of that pit and set my feet on solid ground—the firm foundation of Truth, contained in the Word of God.
The Bible says a lot about foundations. Job wrestled with God over his circumstances until God said, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?” and Job realized he was “of small account.” We all know about the man who laid the foundation of his house on sand—and the wise man who built his on a rock. Jesus is called the “chief cornerstone,” the most important part of a structure, the stabilizer.
But I think my favorite reference to foundations in the Bible comes from Ephesians 1:4: “… he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.”
This God who in my childhood I saw as remote and vaguely displeased with me chose me before the foundation of the world, before anything was created, before time began, long before I emerged kicking and screaming from my mother’s womb. And why? Not because He could predict I’d be a good little girl, but so that in my fallenness and failure I would grasp the hem of Jesus’s garment and receive his blood-bought salvation.
As I’m finishing this, it’s the end of the day and the workers are headed home, leaving the cement foundation to cure and dry. Soon they’ll add block and brick, then beams and joists, framing, trusses and roof. In due time, my house will be built, strong and sturdy, able to withstand whatever storms may come. And I’ll rest easy on my sure foundation.
Here you can read perspectives on life, ministry and God's Word from a variety of PCC's female leaders.