My Redneck Deck

            And my God will supply all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:19 NIV

My daughter-in-law called it our redneck deck. She should have been around when we first started building this place we call home.

During our poor years in the late 1970s, when our oldest child was a toddler and I was pregnant with our second, we yearned to move out of our second-floor apartment into a house of our own. Being that I’d resigned from teaching to be a full-time homemaker and my husband’s job at the local scrapyard brought in, on average, a hundred dollars a week, no bank would take a chance on us.

So we decided to build our own house on the pay-as-we-go plan on land that had once been the Huey homestead. Every nail, every piece of lumber, every inch of wiring, every bit of plumbing, every sheet of drywall, every roll of insulation, everything that went into this place, we put in ourselves.

We lived in the basement for five years until the upstairs was done enough to be livable. We put siding on twenty-nine years after we first put the shovel to the dirt and moved the kitchen upstairs around the same time. After nearly three decades, over a quarter of a century, the house was almost done, with the exception of a painted wooden floor in the kitchen, a porch-less front door hanging on the front of the house, and our redneck deck.

The redneck deck was unique in that it was built with wooden pallets my husband salvaged from the rubbish pile at work. We wanted a deck constructed with treated or rough lumber that stretched along the entire back side of the house, but we were still on the pay-as-we-go plan and couldn’t afford the dream deck.

So when the first redneck deck built from castoff pallets became too unreliable to walk on (pallets weren’t made to be transformed into some poor folks’ back porch and suffer a western Pennsylvania winter), I prayed, “God, please supply us with the lumber to replace these awful pallets.”

I should have asked for new lumber—honest-to-goodness real lumber. Ask and ye shall receive.

Within the week, Dean came home with the “new lumber”: another load of castoff pallets. Only this time the wood was thicker, stronger, and sturdier. And he added extra strips of wood so that the grandkids’ little feet wouldn’t slip through the slats.

Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

Truth be told, I loved my redneck deck until we replaced it with a real deck. I kind of miss it.

You see, it was a daily reminder that we don’t have to have everything perfect and exactly the way we want to be happy.

Dear God, thank You for the redneck decks of life. They remind us that happiness isn’t dependent on our circumstances, but is found in relationships—with You and with those You’ve put in our lives. Amen.

Read and reflect on Proverbs 30:8–9.

The finished back deck
The finished front deck (before that if you stepped out of the door, you dropped 8 feet to the ground. The kids loved to jump out that door!)

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

My Baker’s Dozen

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Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. —Matthew 6:8 NIV

I called it my “Baker’s Dozen.”

I’d grown weary of praying for the same things—some for years—over and over and hearing not even a whisper of an answer. What was I supposed to do? Keep praying? Give up? I felt stuck in the Valley of Wait.

It wasn’t like I was asking for a million dollars. Things were getting old and needed replaced—like the roof, the pickup (our only vehicle), and the redneck porch—I mean, how many times can we build a deck using wooden pallets? The heating oil was getting low, I needed a new winter coat, and the paint on the kitchen floor, actually the subfloor, was chipped and stained and hard to keep clean. The throw rugs I used to cover it were showing their age (37 years). I didn’t even want to think about the aging equipment in my writing room.

So one morning during my quiet time I decided to take God at His Word. After all, doesn’t He tell us in His Word that He’ll supply all our needs? Don’t get me into the “Wants versus Needs” debate. I refuse to analyze to death a simple thing like a prayer request. Either God is Who He says He is or He isn’t. Either His Word is true or it isn’t. I chose to believe the former in both cases.

So I opened my journal and printed across the top of a blank left page “Needs.” Next I listed all that I’d been praying for. The list numbered 13. On some of the items I gave God a deadline. On the opposite page, I wrote “When and How God Provided” and numbered the lines from 1 to 13. This was my Jehovah Jireh page (see Genesis 22:14). Jehovah Jireh, or YHWH Yireh, translates “The LORD Will Provide” and means “God who will provide all of your needs.”

I rewrote the list on a sheet of paper, folded it up, put it in a glass candle dish, and set a match to it. No, I wasn’t throwing a hissy fit. In the Bible, things that were given, or dedicated, to God, were burned.

Then I waited. I refused to fret. I’d put the list in God’s hands, and He would take care of it. Period.

Eight months later, six of the requests had been answered. But God gives what we don’t ask for, too, and provides for needs we don’t even know we have. It just so happened that the payment I received for a writing assignment was enough to purchase a new laptop, printer, and external hard drive. No sooner had I copied all my files from the old laptop to the external hard drive when the old laptop gave up the ghost. When I first compiled my Baker’s Dozen, I hadn’t a clue. But God knew.

Five years later only one space remained on the “provided” page. I had no doubt that would be filled too.

If you don’t already, keep a Baker’s Dozen list and mark how and when God answers. You’ll be delighted and often surprised the way Your Father provides.

Jehovah Jireh, thank you for meeting all my needs. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 7:7-11.

Additional Scripture to savor: Philippians 4:19, 2 Corinthians 9:6–11, Matthew 6:25–34, Luke 18:1, Malachi 3:10

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.