By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hetzel: Praying, bargaining and bartering
As for Me and My House
Placeholder Image

Click. Hiss. CLICK! Putter-putter. Silence. There it was. My furnace died. Great, I mumbled.  

We’ve already had a few chilly evenings. I’d need to solve my heating problem soon. The wind kicked up and shadows waved across my windows.  Ten more pines were drying up and making me nervous. Too close for comfort. Getting this group of trees cut was going to be a huge expense.  

My parents probably had their share of worries.  At least they had each other. Single motherhood sure complicates things.  

So, where could I start?

I had to do something. No gold embossed envelope from heaven had arrived. I couldn’t afford to invest in the lottery.   My nights were filled with tears and worry. I needed a miracle.

(No, this isn’t when the Prize Patrol from Publisher’s Clearing House arrived. That wasn’t me.)

I knew that it was time to pray, really pray, for God to lead me.  I had always felt that God had helped me. Blessings and rescues from close calls had been a part of my life. But, this felt different. This was so much more real, and it felt impossible.  

So I prayed. God, please teach me what to do. Help me. I’m in over my head. 

I flipped through my bible and it fell open. A favorite verse now might be true for me.

 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29: 11 NIV)

Plans? Really? Nothing was going as planned. Or, maybe it was. Regardless, God had plans and I wanted in.

So, I prayed again. Lord, please lead me back into your plans. It’s not just me anymore.  

No, the skies didn’t part. Angels didn’t suddenly appear.  But, I felt calmer. I felt a peace that I hadn’t felt in a long time.

I walked outside and looked at the threatening trees. Oh. I needed to write down a plan. 

I got a notebook. I decided to remove fear from the equation and make a list of what needed to be done. Since the market for selling my “upside down” house was not part of a practical plan, I thought I could imagine my walk as one of those “walk throughs” that home inspectors do.  

What would an inspector cite on the list? Most of them include structural features as priority. They also include cosmetic ones. I labeled the notebook “Home Maintenance and Repair.” Then I set up a page for areas that seemed the most urgent: yard, crawl space, heating and air, roof and holes in the drywall. I added the ones that added to my frustration: plumbing (leaking dishwasher, something with the septic tank) and mice that had come in. 

I carried my notebook everywhere. I asked friends what they would do. I asked for references.  I asked for several people to give me quotes. I bought a book from Home Depot call “Home Improvement 1-2-3” and started skimming for suggestions.  I poured over Do-it-Yourself websites. And I prayed.

Stay tuned. In my next column, I’ll tell you how things turned around in Bartering and Bargaining to make ends meet.




For more reflections by Lisa Hetzel on prayer, do-it-yourself home maintenance and forging life as single parent, visit: