gutted

Gutted

Following the horrible flooding in Nashville last week, Cross Point Church organized and mobilized a group of 1,600 volunteers this past Saturday to serve the flood-ravaged neighborhoods of our city and help the families impacted by this disaster.  I was honored to be able to serve with so many amazing folks from my church.  Each team’s goal was to remove EVERYTHING in our respective assigned homes that the flood waters ruined, as quickly as possible, getting each home as construction-ready as we could so contractors could come in and begin the rebuild process.  I actually have several observations from my experience that day to blog about, but the one I want to talk about today is one that I’m the least comfortable with.

Every house in the neighborhood looked the same… empty, with piles and piles lined up on the street in front, consisting of drywall, insulation, tile, hardwood flooring, carpet and carpet pads, furniture, appliances, personal and household items, etc. In a word, every single house was GUTTED.  When we got to the house where part of my group spent most of the day, there was a team already hard at work, pulling out EVERYTHING.  It was not pretty.  It was violent, loud and messy.  It looked like complete chaos, but it was necessary.  The new could not be built on top of the old because the old was toxic and could not support what was coming next. I knew that soon, something beautiful would be rebuilt here, but for now, it was just smash, rip, break, pry, pound, tear and pull.

As I pounded, peeled and pried away at glued-down hard wood floors with a hammer and crow bar, deconstructing this home, watching wheelbarrow load after wheelbarrow load of debris being carted out, I couldn’t help but wonder to myself… “what now? What will these people do now?”

To us, we were removing debris, but to the homeowners we were removing memories.  I heard stories about an elderly musician who wept as he let go of his decades-old record collection which spoke to who he was, as well as a war veteran who struggled to throw away the memorabilia from his time in the service, which served as a reminder of who he was, but was now ruined. I can’t even begin to imagine the identity battle waged by each and every person as they parted with each ruined item, feeling like they were losing a piece of themselves in every item that was lost… or maybe I can.

Suddenly, I could not escape the analogy happening before my very eyes…

This is exactly how I have felt for the past 4 months of my life…

GUTTED.

something got inside that wasn’t supposed to be there…
the things I’ve pursued, acquired and prized no longer have value
the things I held so closely that I thought defined me are now toxic…
what previously decorated what I had built is now just “debris“…
pulled out… violently… put into piles on the street…
preparing the way for what will be rebuilt
smashed, ripped, broken and torn…
knowing something beautiful will soon come from this…
wondering for months, “what now? What will I do now?”

The picture at the top of this post is a perfect depiction of how I feel but have struggled to adequately articulate…

GUTTED.

We heard several people talking about the importance of getting everything that had been exposed to the toxic flood waters out of the house immediately, before mold set in, preparing the way for the rebuild.  My perspective was rocked as I thought about the work we did on that one flood-ravaged home and how it was paralleled by the work God is doing in my life.

With all that on my heart, then reading my friend Wes’ amazing post, I am reminded that no matter where I am or what I see, I can’t allow my present perspective to block my faith view of the story God is writing. I can’t get so stuck on the deconstruction that I fail to allow my heart to understand that deconstruction is actually part of the rebuild, it just doesn’t always look like it.  It may look like violent, loud and messy chaos right now, but the perspective is 1 Peter 5:10

“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (NIV)

The New King James Version of this same verse says God will perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.  I love that visual… “…settle you.”

So, whether you are experiencing a deconstruction in your physical home, your career, your marriage, your faith, your finances or your life as as whole, my prayer for you today is that the God of all grace, after you have been GUTTED and suffered a little while, will himself restore, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.

Have you ever felt “GUTTED”?


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Grant JenkinsGutted
14 comments
Susan Briggs
Susan Briggs

I couldn't agree more. As I watched all my worldly possessions float down the river, I watched my old self die along with them. Being made new each day is the greatest adventure I've ever taken. Thanking Him for every moment :)

Ani
Ani

There can't be renewing if there is no ripping out, terring down. It takes a loooonggg time and a lot of patience to see through the durt and chaos what is becoming of it but there is a plan and it will be as planned. I had that with my house. It took 4 months, I just let it go because it wouldn't help to get frustrated about it. At the end after cleaning up I had a beautiful new kitchen and living room. And by the way it has only be 4 months mister. What is 4 months of your whole life? I know it feels a long time now but really it's nothing! You haven't lost anything, you only gain.

I have to confess I haven't been praying for you and your people last days. I had my own usual struggle. It will never stay away. It will always come back.
At those moments I would love to say to Struggle, Pain, Hurt, why don't you go away and stay away? Just to let you know I'm fine now.

You will get stronger. There is always a reason with God. I'm praying for you again.

Did I already tell you to go and speak somewhere? Don't! Don't do it! (As if you were going to). You might become a celebrity. You won't have time to blog because you have to speak all over the world. We can't have that, right? So just stay where you are and God is already using you. God bless you.

JuliaKate
JuliaKate

the gutting... there are probably quite a few ways to respond when it's happening and when it was happening to me, God was gracious enough to point out Isaiah 9:10. i had been fed a certain kind of arrogance for years on how to handle a "gutting". it sounded very much like this: "Things aren't that bad. We can handle anything that comes. If our buildings are knocked down, WE'LL rebuild them bigger and finer. If our forests are cut down, WE'LL replant them with finer trees." i was so close to sounding just like the folks in this story... so close. good thing i continued to read.
it is God's choice how & when He will rebuild. He's got the picture, the plan, the sight, the capabilities... we've got the mold-ability and the benefit of a God concerned with our vitality;)
Here's my heart... it doesn't have to be "bigger" or "better" than before. It just has to be right. i'm not looking for the "bigger & better" from God... i just want to be in a condition & place that i arrived at because of obedience & submission, not effort & ambition.
i have a feeling there aren't very many full-on guttings in life, but there are quite a few times of heavy duty renovations & restorations. 1 Peter 5:10 is a perfect reminder of His intentions through it all. thanks for a great visual and a unique perspective Grant.

My recent post Now I ain’t saying you’re a gold digger, but…

Kenny Silva
Kenny Silva

Remember our first conversation? Discomfort = growth. The more you hurt now and the "emptier" you feel, the more there will be to redeem. So, let God continue to gut you. You'll be amazed at what He does to rebuild you.

ChandlerWH
ChandlerWH

Great stuff dude. Love what you took from your experience. So true. You are being gutted right now and it hurts. It makes you vulnerable and the process sucks. But it's necessary for you to become the Grant that God has imagined you to be. It's necessary for the next chapter of your life to begin. I'm still praying for you bro. Everyday.
My recent post A Divine Appointment

His Girl
His Girl

I have sections of my heart gutted and rebuilt, then He moves to another section. I think this is a process that will continue until Heaven. Sometimes the gutting is a quick and other times it takes years and much pain. The firmer I hold onto my old self the more painful it becomes. The more I try to control the more violent and messy it becomes.

I have been going through a gutting process regarding control. Where I normally trusted and had great faith I had found myself in fear and anxious. So now the gutting process occurs. It's time to surrender and let go on my part.

Very thankful for your gutting process. I already see much of the rebuild in you and it does my heart good.
My recent post Consistency and Conditional love

Dusty Rayburn
Dusty Rayburn

I am moved by your testimony. There have times when I have been through the gutting process, but still today I find myself harboring areas that I have not allowed Christ into. It is time to fling the doors open wide and to raise the windows...it's time for me to allow myself to be fully gutted by His love and workings in my life.

Thank you for your transparency and for sharing your heart during these tumultuous and wonderful times.

Aaron Shaver
Aaron Shaver

While reading you description of what was happening to these houses, I kept thinking of this verse:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5: 17

Never while this verse seem so gentle or rote again. I will always have the image of gutted houses when I think of the transforming change worked in us by the Holy Spirit.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Grant.
.-= Aaron Shaver´s last blog ..QUESTION: If you could take up ANY random hobby… =-.

JasonWert
JasonWert

Sometimes that gutting can take a long, long, long time...

I wrote on my site last week about being inside someone's house helping clean up and finding a lady's underthings in a pile on the floor. (The water had knocked over a dresser and some drawers popped open. It's not that they were really that edgy but it wasn't something she would let other ladies see her wearing while changing clothes at the gym. This was a secret she had that came out into the light in front of everyone because of the flood.

It made me think of the way so many times when we're having our lives ripped down all the secrets we've held so dear come into the light for all to see. I certainly didn't want people to know that I had a raging porn addiction for so many years but when I was chased from ministry there was no way to hide it. Sometimes I think the public part of deconstruction and gutting is the last thing we want to think about but in reality it can be the greatest help. Just like with those of us in that house helping fix it, we didn't care about the debris on the floor. We just wanted to help them get back on their feet.

That's a good way for us to live our lives all the time.
My recent post Countdown to Blue Ridge...4 days to go...

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