Big, Ugly Mess

Uh-oh, this isn’t good.

We’d lived in our 100-year-old farmhouse about nine months when we discovered the termite damage. Every single stud on the east side of my house had served as a dining room for what had to have been an infestation.

We were faced with a huge project. The house would have to jacked up off the foundation, siding removed, studs and sill plates replaced or reinforced, then put back together before the house would be safe again.

All that cost a lot of money. Money we didn’t have.

What to do with a big ugly mess.

My man hung his head, looking down at the ground for the longest time. After a while, he clenched his fists and cursed our bad luck. Then he paused, took a deep breath and said, “Well, it’s got to be done. I’ll call my dad to help us.”

Lord, it was a big, ugly, mess; a tedious, dangerous job but it had to be done or the house might have been condemned.

When you are faced with a big ugly mess, you have some choices. The pathway through it for us came down to five things.

         1. Give thanks.

We were thankful to find the damage when we did. For the help to fix it and for being able to do most of the work ourselves. Especially thankful the damage was contained to one side of the house. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances;

           2. Take responsibility.

The damage wasn’t caught by inspectors or revealed by the previous owners. We didn’t blame them. Instead, we gave them the benefit of the doubt.

We also didn’t say, “Well, it’s been like this for 50 years, it will probably be ok for us, too. We were the current owners and took responsibility for fixing it.

Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatever the activity in which you engage, do it with all your ability, because there is no work, no planning, no learning, and no wisdom in the next world where you’re going.

            3. Don’t compare.

We didn’t trash talk the previous owners as if we were better than them. We did not look at the house next door and wish we lived there, comparing our known problems to their unknown issues.

Galatians 6:4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else.

           4. Pray like everything depends on it.

Nothing brings levity and peace like prayer. Authentic, heartfelt, scream at the heavens prayer. God is not offended by your cries for help. In fact, it is at the end of ourselves that God reveals his power and glory through deliverance, healing or simple peace in the midst of a big ugly.

James 5:16b The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

            5. Trust God to make a way out, through, around or past the big ugly.

It’s not fun to face down a big ugly thing. But God … has been faithful in the past and he will be faithful now.

1 Corinthians 10:13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

God sees you in the big ugly mess.

I do not know what big ugly thing you are facing right now, but do know that God is completely aware of your situation. I know it’s tempting to pitch a fit, give up and quit. It’s easy to use the big ugly thing as an excuse to get angry and take it out on everyone around you. But don’t. Just don’t.

Find a way to be thankful. Do what you can to implement a shift. Ask for help and pray like your life depends on heaven opening and God coming down.

I’d love to pray for your big ugly mess. Leave me a comment with a brief description and I will bang on the gates of heaven with you today.

Verse for today:”Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12, NIV

Prayer: Oh Father, I hate disruptions, inconveniences and big ugly messes of any kind. Yet, I know that without them, I would lean on my OWN power and strength instead of trusting you. Be with me in and through big ugly messes and help me to do my part as I trust you to do what only you can do. In Jesus name, amen.

Our termite-free house today.


  1. Jan Starkey on November 9, 2020 at 12:48 am

    I have a situation with my daughters not getting along. I thought I was trying to make the situation better but instead made it much worse. I shared some emails that I sent my oldest daughter and the younger daughter took offense to some of the things I wrote. Some of the things are truthful but hard for her to accept. So I need some prayers for them to be able to mend their relationship somewhat. And I need some prayers to gain wisdom to not interfere and make things worse. God has always been good to me. I know he will be by my side through this big ugly mess. The mess is also causing problems between my husband and me. So I need some prayer warriors right now. Thank you Robin. I have also changed my email address.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 9, 2020 at 2:24 pm

      Oh Lord, how we moms want to have peace in our families. Guard our mouths and motives to be at rest as you work. Lord, bring restoration to Jan’s family. Lord, we know this is a simple thing for you. Overwhelm us with your love so it can be shown to family members. In Jesus Name amen

      • Robyn Dykstra on November 16, 2020 at 3:29 pm

        AMEN, Janice. AMEN.

  2. Stacy Routley on November 9, 2020 at 1:04 am

    Hi Robyn! Thank you for this message. Please pray for my family and my health, I’ve been dealing with really bad headaches , they told me it’s Occipatal headaches from a nerve in my neck. I’d really like to be able to get back to work soon. Thank you.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 9, 2020 at 2:20 pm

      Lord have mercy! Stacy longs to be well and you are our Healer. Soothe the nerves in her neck. Block the headaches. Bring relief to her in Jesus Name. amen

  3. Wendy Harr on November 9, 2020 at 10:38 am

    Hi Robyn, just wanted you to know I truly enjoy your posts. You are so good at expressing the feelings in your messages, and getting your point across. You make serious important messages so much fun to read. I look forward to reading them when they come through on my email. Thanks!

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      Wendy – You made my day. Thank you for the encouragement.

  4. Amy on November 9, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    My husband had to have surgery on his spine and we save money for the month that he would be off work. We had money put away for that month to pay the bills and then there were complications with his healing! He has been off work longer than we thought and the money is running out. You know how it goes , the bills keep coming. I am working full time but my check only goes so far.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 9, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      Lord have mercy! Heal Amy’s man. Restore his strength and vigor. Rain windfalls of money to cover the expenses this month. Stretch our faith and bless her with a miracle or two. We know this is no hardship for you, Lord. We ask this in Jesus name amen.

  5. Christy Satterlee on November 18, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    Where do I start? I suffer from chronic pain and have a little part-time job that I can barely work. Now I am quarantined from work and cannot earn the little bit of money I make. I am also trying to start a blog to make some money. Writing has always been my passion and dream and I can’t afford to set up my website right now. It’s very frustrating and disappointing. I am eager to get started and am stuck.

    • Robyn Dykstra on November 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm

      Lord have mercy, Christy!
      Agreeing in prayer for windfalls of provision and for words to flow out of you and onto paper. May this season of “not enough” and “longing for more” translate into words of hope and inspiration for you and then to others. amen.

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