From Ruined to Redeemed

If you’ve ever felt like part of your life was in ruins, then you certainly aren’t alone. Maybe you’ve uttered things like this:

My marriage is broken.

My health is disintegrating.

My finances are in shambles.

This relationship can never be repaired.

My kids are a wreck.

I’m completely devastated.

Yes, we’ve all been in a place at one time or another when we would definitely say something or someone in our life is in ruins.

When thinking about our response to something that’s in ruins, I’m reminded about the story of Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Upon hearing the news that the walls of Jerusalem were in ruins, having been burned with fire, this was his response:

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (Nehemiah 1:4 NIV)

I think there is something here we need to recognize in how we ought to respond when face-to-face with devastating news that crushes us to the core. He acknowledged his hurt and pain. He wept. He mourned. Even went without food for a while! But he did all this…before God. 

When we are smack in the middle of an impossible situation, we bring our hurts before God. We pour out our hearts to him. We don’t have to hold it all together for fear of what might come out of our mouth. I love Nehemiah’s transparency before the God of heaven! He doesn’t hold anything back. He empties himself completely before God.

But the story doesn’t stop there. If you continue reading, you’ll come to chapter 2, verse 17. This is where we gain even more insight into our next step when we are on the brink of despair:

Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” (Nehemiah 2:17 NIV)

First of all, who are the them he is referring to? He is speaking to his people–fellow Israelites who were exiled with him years before. God’s people!

When we’re faced with devastation, we don’t go running for comfort and support to people who aren’t believers in Christ. We rally around those who are on the same journey of faith.

And then Nehemiah takes a step of courage.

A step of faith.

A step towards healing.

He doesn’t stay stuck in his despair. 

He begins the process of rebuilding.

To stay stuck in misery and hopelessness would be disgraceful. He doesn’t want to stay there! And he realizes he can’t do it alone.

Dear friend, I urge you today that if you are stuck in despair and staring at broken pieces of your life to pour out your heart to God. He knows your pain and hurt. Give it to Him.

But don’t stay there.

Just like Nehemiah, look around you. Lean on your brothers and sisters in Christ. Accept the fact that you can’t rebuild in your own strength.

It might be a long journey to recover from what you’re going through, but I can promise you God will lead you one step at a time, just as he guided Nehemiah through one brick at a time.

He’s a master at taking things in ruins and redeeming them for His glory!




Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett


Are You Ready for Christmas?

The closer we get to Christmas Day, the more you’ll hear this question:

“Are you ready for Christmas?”

What exactly does this question mean to you?

“Have you finished your shopping?”

“Have you wrapped all your presents?”

“Have you bought all the food you’ll need for that perfect Christmas dinner?”

“Have you finished buying those last-minute stocking stuffers?”

I think these are the thoughts that pop into our head when people ask, “Are you ready for Christmas?”

But deep down in my heart, I’m never comfortable answering this question. If Christmas is truly about the coming of Jesus to save us from our sins, then perhaps the question we should really be asking is this:

Are we ready for Christ?

Are we ready to humbly admit our need for a savior?

Are we ready for Jesus to continue refining the rough places of our ugly flesh?

Are we ready to surrender that one area of our lives that keeps tripping us up?

Are we ready to say yes to Him when our fear compels us to say no?

I’d much rather answer the questions about whether my shopping is done and if my kids’ stockings are ready (they’re not!). It’s easier to smile and say I still have that one last gift to wrap and those last few items to get at Kroger for our Christmas brunch.

But it’s much harder to admit that my flesh is still fighting against selfish pride.  Every. Single. Day.

I need a savior every moment of every day!

It’s hard to confess that there are several rough places in my soul needing a gentle touch and smoothing out by the grace of God.

I need Jesus to not only be my redeemer, but my holy refiner!

It’s hard to own up to the fact that I’m fearful of the unknown and what lurks around the corner of the next phase of my life.

I need the peace of Jesus to calm my fears!

Am I ready for Christ?


I’m ready for Him to take all the yucky, ugly, shameful, fearful things in my flesh and make them into something beautiful that only HE can accomplish. Yes, I’m ready. Because my way of doing things–apart from Him–doesn’t usually turn out very well.

On Christmas Day, the gifts will be unwrapped, the stockings will be emptied, and the food will be gobbled up. And just days afterward the tree will come down, the Christmas decorations boxed up and the after-Christmas sales will expire.

Nobody will ask you again until next year, “Are you ready for Christmas?”

But each and every day after Christmas, we must answer this question: Are you ready for Christ?

Ready for Him to interfere with your plans?

Ready for Him to lead you out of your comfort zone?

Ready for Him to take you to the next step of his purpose for you?

So dear friend, I ask you to answer honestly……Are you ready for Christ?

I pray God’s richest blessings upon you and your families. May you have a Merry Christmas! But most importantly, I pray you will embrace Jesus Christ every day of the year.

Ready for Christmas

Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett


Resistance Builds Strength

Ephesians 6:10   Be strong in the Lord, in the power of His might.

These words from Ephesians are written on the wall of my fitness center. Sitting firmly lodged in place on a weight machine, I push with all my might against the resistance of the weights I’ve measured out. Breathing deeply and gritting my teeth, I attempt to increase the amount of weight my flimsy muscles need to get toned up. To get stronger.  As difficult as it sounds, that’s how it works. If you want your muscles to get stronger, there must be resistance or you won’t see any progress.

With sweat pouring down my face, I glance up and stare at the powerful words from Ephesians again. This is when I hear the soft, gentle whisper of God in my soul:

Just as your physical muscles can only be strengthened through resistance, your faith and trust in Me can only be strengthened through resistance.

As much as I know this is true, my flesh doesn’t like it at all. My flesh sometimes rears its ugly head and shouts back out of fear, worry or anger. What if God doesn’t come through? What will happen IF? Why did this happen to me and not someone else?

And then God in His patience and grace continues to speak lovingly to me in that still, small voice:

Trust me. Don’t worry. Don’t try to take control of things that aren’t yours to handle. The resistance you’re experiencing will make you stronger in your dependence on me.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes experience this resistance with my husband. With my children. With my own selfish thoughts that don’t line up with God’s. Or I’ll feel this resistance while sitting in a traffic jam that is making me late to wherever I need to go. Even the little things can cause resistance like dishes left out, clothes not put away, a mess not cleaned up, a dropped call in a no-reception area, or a computer not working the way it’s supposed to!

Seen through my own human eyes, these things are obstacles. Interruptions. Irritations. Frustrations.

But seen through God’s eyes, these things are opportunities….to trust. To be refined. To be strengthened.

If I will just turn down the volume on my inner fleshly shouting match, I can more clearly hear the gentle whisper of God in moments like these. And trust that these moments of “resistance” are making me stronger. Making me more like Jesus. And instead of responding with fear, worry or anger when He lovingly increases the amount of weights, I can trust that the end result is for His glory.

READY? Who’s causing resistance in your life these days? Spouse? Children? In-laws? Co-workers? Neighbors? Or What’s causing resistance? Finances? Job? Health? How are you responding to the resistance? Whatever it may be, I challenge you to see these things as opportunities to strengthen your spiritual muscles. Opportunities to trust God and deepen your faith.

GET SET. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

GO! Heavenly Father, it is hard for me to welcome resistance in my life because of my sin nature. Please open the eyes of my heart to see times of difficulty as opportunities to trust you and for my faith to be strengthened. Thank you for your faithfulness to me during these times even when I doubt. Praise you for your power in my life. Amen


resistance builds strength


Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett 

Under Construction

Ever been driving  steadily down the road while on a tight schedule? You have just enough time to get to where you’re going. And then you see it in the distance. No! It can’t be! Especially not now! We’re on vacation! Yep, there it is in plain sight. Traffic slows down and then comes to a harsh stop. You peer through your squinted eyes and see it as big as day…a huge bright orange sign, taunting you:


Really? Why does this happen every time we’re traveling on a long road trip?

This is fresh in my mind because it happened just recently. We anticipated how close we were to our house…less than 45 minutes. Soon we’d be pulling in our driveway, our pets would welcome us home, and we’d crash into our own comfy beds. But no! In the distance we could see the cars backed up on the freeway. They weren’t even inching along. They were at a dead stop.

Now this is when the complaining started. See if any of these comments sound familiar to you:

Why in the world would they schedule construction work so late? It’s almost midnight!

Didn’t they know everyone would be coming back from spring break vacation?

How long is this gonna take?

Check the GPS for an alternate route…I can’t just sit here like this. (That one would be my husband speaking)

What a mess!

There’s not even a place to stop and go to the bathroom or get a snack!

We may never play the role of a construction worker, but as Christ followers we are constantly under God’s construction. From the time we commit our lives to Christ, we are essentially saying to Him, “I surrender my life to you. Have your way with me. Sanctify me and make me more like you.”

When road construction is going on, there are three things that always result.


A huge mess.

Complaints about the inconvenience.

If we expect to be under God’s construction, then why are we surprised when things don’t go our way? Why are we upset when our predictable routine is suddenly shaken? Why do we complain when we have asked Him to help us with certain areas of our lives? Maybe you pray to be a more patient parent, yet when God gives you opportunities to practice this, you resist and express frustration because it’s causing too much delay. You pray for God to help you through a conflict with a loved one, but it just isn’t happening quick enough.

And what about the mess? When we drove past the construction site I noticed bull dozers, jack hammers, and debris strewn all over the place. It almost looked like a bomb had exploded smack in the middle of it all!

Sometimes certain areas of our lives have to get “messed up” before God can reconstruct it for something good. We ask Him to shine the spotlight of the Holy Spirit on our hearts and reveal any hidden sin. He shows us something in the light and the first thing we say is “Yuck!” But He can’t renovate and renew that area unless we are willing to humbly expose our sin, as messy as it looks.

As creatures of comfort and convenience, we are experts at complaining.

Why now?

This isn’t the way I thought God was going to answer that prayer.


I don’t want to come out of my comfort zone!

The reality is that God often takes us out of our comfort zones and plunges us into a construction zone.

We need renovation. We need a complete make-over of our heart.

After road construction is complete, we notice great improvement. A two-lane road has emerged into a four-lane road. A dangerous, bumpy exit off the interstate is now safely smoothed out. A much-needed traffic light has replaced an ineffective four-way stop where multiple accidents had occurred.

And it’s the same with us as God’s children. After construction has taken place in an area of our lives, we notice what God has done. Where we once had bitterness, it is replaced with forgiveness. Where we once were characterized by criticism, we extend more grace. Where we once clung with both fists to a besetting sin, we now claim victory with hands raised to God.

So the next time you realize God is putting up a construction sign in front of you, don’t resist. Don’t complain. Don’t worry about the mess. With Him in charge of the construction process, you can trust that it will be complete in His timing! We are His workers and He is the master contractor.

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

construction sign


Blessings to you!

Lisa Preuett

Refining Our Smudges

A few months ago my daughter and I spent an afternoon at Paint Spot, a popular place to paint your own pottery. I selected a unique looking spoon rest to put in my kitchen. Several hours were spent mixing the colors just right and centering my design perfectly in the middle of the spoon rest. I wanted my work of art to be perfect, especially since it would be on display for all who would pass through my kitchen!

Finally I carefully handed it over to the employee. She told me our pottery would be fired in the oven and ready for pick up the following week. I couldn’t wait!

A week later I arrived with excitement to pick up what I thought was going to be a polished looking spoon rest. Imagine my disappointment when I looked at it and right there in the middle of the spoon rest was a black smudge about the size of a thumb print!

Wait a minute here…..I paid a lot of money for this and put a long time into my piece of pottery! I surely didn’t want to take it home looking like that. There’s no way I’d want to display it in my kitchen! 

The employee of Paint Spot assured me that this happened occasionally. But no worries…..they could use sand paper to sand down the black spot and then put my pottery back through the oven a second time. Another week would have to pass before I’d be able to pick up my prized possession.  I left there disappointed, yet I knew I’d rather wait for a polished piece rather than taking home something with an ugly smudge on it!!

As I drove home, God redirected my thoughts from the smudge on my pottery to the smudges in my life. Of course I’d much rather use the word smudge instead of sin because it doesn’t sound as bad. But whatever word you choose to use, it’s not a pretty sight at all.

It seems I am constantly having to go back through the refiner’s oven multiple times to get those yucky smudges off my heart. Selfish thoughts, critical words, and prideful actions just to name a few. And believe me when I say there are multiple types  of sand paper He is using to smooth out my rough edges! If you didn’t know already, spouses and children are God’s sandpaper in disguise.

So what smudges do you have in your life? Those ugly, challenging things that just keep coming back repeatedly? No matter how much you try to paint over them, you just can’t cover them up.

God wants to create something beautiful in us and wants the end result to be polished, shining with the light of Jesus. Just as I wanted to proudly display my spoon rest in the kitchen, our heavenly Father wants to proudly display His people…THE CHURCH…. for all the world to see.

But if there are smudges keeping this from happening, He will use circumstances and other people to be our sandpaper. Then He will lovingly allow the heat to be turned up so those flaws can be refined.

Our prayer should be that when (not if!)we are in the middle of the oven, we will be patient as our Heavenly Father, the ultimate potter, continues to refine us until we are perfected in His sight!

Jeremiah 9:7 “See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people?”