The Good News: This is Only the Beginning

If you walked through my front door today, you would be greeted by three large green splotches. Two on the wall. One on the ceiling over your head. Actually, if you had walked through my front door two months ago, you would have seen the same green splotches.

We were testing paint colors. We even chose one. But in between the choosing and the painting, five-hundred little tasks, and maybe a dozen big tasks, elbowed their way in.

The thing about realizing a big dream is that you will always feel behind. Overwhelmed. In over your head. (Of course, feeling in over your head is generally a sure sign that you are right where you are supposed to be).


painting on the sunshine


We feel a lot of pressure on Saturday mornings. If not much happens on a Monday, well, no big deal, that’s just Monday. But Saturdays are the days for getting stuff done. Last Saturday, my husband, having just cleaned up all the breakfast dishes, started murmuring about the floor. Would now be a good time to pull out the steam mop?

Loving wife that I am, I shrieked and said, “No! Now would be a good time to get out the paint can!”

Here is one of those ironies about marriage, another of those little things that sound good in theory but mostly annoy in practice: he sees the crumbs and dirt, I see the unpainted walls and the absence of a fence around the garden. On paper this is a match made in heaven. In our house, someone always has their eye on the details and someone else on the big picture.

Unfortunately, the one who is bothered by the lack of a fence is the same one who is not very capable with power tools. But, we’ve learned a few things in our sixteen years of marriage and didn’t waste too much time before I pulled out the mop and he pulled out the paint can.


When each Saturday (with its ever-growing list of to-dos) comes around, I often find myself repeating these words, “This is only the beginning.” These words remind me that I am exactly where I need to be. They remind me that something good is starting. They remind me that in God’s story, the best is always yet to come.

Though these words are specific to my life here in a new place, I find they are becoming much more than that.

I may be at the beginning of the work God has planned for me here at Maplehurst, but we are all of us at the beginning of things. This is as true for my baby daughter as it is for my older parents.

Our life on this planet is just the beginning. It is chapter one. Or better yet – only the prologue. It is where we begin to experience the work, play, rest, and worship we will enjoy forever.


I think “the beginning” matters much more and much less than we typically imagine.

It matters more because the world we are experiencing now is not moving toward destruction. It is moving toward renewal.

It matters less because the petty annoyances, the illnesses, the losses, and even the tragedies we suffer are passing away. The sin and evil and general brokenness that leave us breathless with fear and anger? They have already been defeated. They are on the way out.

I’m afraid too many of us believe the wild poetry of the book of Revelation has not yet happened. That we are still waiting for that victory. But here is the Good News: it is finished. Revelation is simply the Cross from the point of view of heaven.

We don’t throw up our hands and say it will all be sorted out when Jesus comes back.

He already came.

He already sorted it out.

And there is nothing to stop us from sowing those kingdom seeds.


“He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ He said to me: ‘It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.'”

Revelation 21: 5,6

Bricks, Trees, and the Kingdom of God


A few people have recently asked if this place feels like home yet.

I haven’t been sure of my answer. I know that it is home, but does it feel like home?

Lying in bed last night, I finally puzzled it out. It seems presumptuous to call this place – the old brick house, the long maple-lined drive, the falling-down barn – my home. I haven’t earned it yet.

The house has been here for more than 130 years. The farm for longer than that. The stone remains of the ice house and various other outbuildings (we’ve taken to calling them “the ruins”) testify to just how long this place has been cultivated, lived in, and cared for.

the ruins :: kitchen?

How can I waltz in and call it my home?

I need to sweep a few more floors, plant a few more trees before I can feel comfortable making that claim.

And we will plant those trees. We’ll wait for late winter or early spring, and then we’ll dig in four fruit trees. One for each of our babies.

We have plans for blueberry bushes, a few more maples to fill in the gaps, and I’m trying to decide exactly where to carve out the asparagus bed.

Did you know that asparagus can come back every spring for twenty years or more? Placing that bed is a big decision. It matters.

in the garden

Or, does it?

I can remember someone in the Christian circles of my childhood saying this: “The only things which last forever are the souls of men and the word of God.” I can’t remember who said it, and I can’t remember (or perhaps never knew) if they were quoting someone else.

I can remember, even as a kid, feeling the rift between how those words were supposed to make me feel (focused, committed, inspired) and how they actually made me feel (depressed, primarily). And now I know why: those words aren’t true. They leave out too much.

They leave out fruit trees and asparagus.

Clean floors and campfires.





God is making all things new, and our lives, our daily this and that, are a part of that great project. This is an old place, yes, but it, like all other good things, is being renewed.

In God’s kingdom, the stuff of earth can become so much more. This is true of bread and wine. It is also true of bricks and trees.

at night2

Our bricks.

Our trees.

For His glory.


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