Building Strong Foundations


Hallstatt, Austria

"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Matthew 7:24-27

Many years ago, I was a young, lonely missionary living in Vienna, Austria. German had rung in my ears for hours each day as I attended a language class every day. New to the language, I would often get my sentences wrong and so people would end up shouting at me or speaking at a very high pitch, somehow thinking I would understand better if they yelled. I was not deaf--just not good at the language.

Plotting a getaway, so that I could temporarily flee from the stress of my week, I planned a weekend retreat at a little mountain town in the Austrian Alps with my best friend. Mounting a train with books, chocolate, a back pack and jammies, we snuggled into the warm compartment as we swayed back and forth through the ominous, gigantic giants towering over us.

Finally, we were told to get out of the train. Before us was merely a small trail leading down to a crystal mountain lake. The conductor pushed us forward as though he knew what he was doing. We scrambled down the thin, weather-beaten stairs, and as soon as we got to the bottom, near the lake, as tiny motor boat came putting up to the dock. The driver of the boat waved us in and immediately began the short trip back to the other side. We found out later that this boat was a part of the mountain train system and carried passengers every day from the train to the little, charming mountain town.

After having dinner on a small porch that was on top of the water, (look in the picture for the pink hotel on the left--that is where we were.), we climbed into the puffy, squishy, eider-down (goose feather) comforters and fell fast asleep from the weariness of the week.

A couple of hours later, we were awakened with a big boom. Suddenly as we opened our eyes, we saw the lights out the window of the whole town go dark. As we sat up, we realized we were in the midst of a severe, pounding rain storm. We both crawled in the darkness to window and all we could see were dark silhouettes of the mountain with sheets of rain blowing sideways. As our eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, we looked down and saw that the porch where we had eaten was covered in the water of the lake with porch furniture floating all around.

Suddenly, a flash of lightening filled the black night sky, and we saw across the lake where we had dismounted. There, amidst the blowing torrents of rain and the waves of the sea splashing 10-20 feet high, we saw a small rock castle a still, dark shadow, standing fast against the storm.  Immoveable, firm amidst all the rest that was blowing and moving.

The next morning, as I was reading my Bible, the verses, "He who builds on the rock will not be shaken." And now I had a visual picture of the one who built his house on the rock.

Storms will come, and as a matter of fact, I feel like we are living in a very stormy time---immorality, wickedness, voices from every corner of the world tempting us to look to someone or something else for security, materialism, pornography,  the break-down of marriage, relative values, humanism. The flashes of lightening and the thunder of the world seem to accost at every point.

Yet, there is a promise that if one builds his house on the rock, the simple, profound, instructive truth of Jesus' words, he will be wise and will weather the storms.

I wish all of my children would get married, have lots of children and move in next door. They are my favorite people and best friends. How I would love for our lives to reflect the fairy tale of family I have always dreamed. (And, by the way, I am still praying for this.)

But the reality is, we are living in challenging times, and God has chosen this part of history in which we were to be alive, training our children for the world they will inherit.

So, the beginning point for our children is to build strong, firm, foundations--emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually--to build these soul foundations on the rock, so that they will be able to stand firm and strong.

However, since most women do not know the Bible well and aren't sure what foundations to build on, and when often Christians are so divided on the subject of Biblical mothering, it can be confusing to know how to build. Even in our churches the messages of truth are confusing, and sometimes divisive. The lines are drawn in different places.

Yet, when I look back on my life as a mom, and embraced the stewardship of pouring into my children, I found Biblical principles that guided me. Scripture is very clear in most cases, but many people are just not ready to obey scripture and so compromise with permission from other Christians to live above Biblical wisdom.

Yet, Jesus was very clear and instruction We must obey His truths and teach them. His teachings aree simple and clear.

But herein lies  the tension--there is a necessary sacrifice of the mom's life to build these ideals. They do not just happen from a ten to fifteen minute devotional a day. The principles must be a part of the moms life, part of her instruction to her children and then the air of the truth must be breathed in and out, morning, noon and night , so that the child's very soul will be shaped on the truths, the principles of wisdom, godly choices, and convictions, all which take years and years to build. Building a foundation takes time, hard work and energy and patience.

So, a foundation must be planned out and carefully built. The soundness of all great structures rest on the foundation. And so we must build the foundation of our children's souls on solid, firm, immoveable rock, truths that are timeless. We must be students of the words and the truths, we must ingest them deep in our own souls, as a teacher cannot pass on that which is not first hers.

The storms of our lives and our children's lives come mainly through the voices of the world, and cleverly deceptive and persuasive--the foolishness of the world and the destruction that the world brings but does not bely until it is too late.

So we begin with defining the foundations that must be built, the truths that must be understood. Foundations will be the first area to be laid in building strength so that our children will grow up to have a solid foundation that will support every storm and wind that comes their way, to cultivate them to be able to champion God's causes in the midst of the storms their lives will bring.