Building a Foundation

"Building a Foundation" by Courtney Vallejo (

Copyright 2017 Courtney Vallejo. All rights reserved.

You’ll have to forgive me for spending two straight months discussing construction, but we’re still in the midst of a home remodel and it seems to impact so much of my thoughts. As a daily discussion topic, the idea of building a strong foundation resonates in our home. As I may have mentioned before, we were given a 6-week estimated time line, which we originally, having never remodeled before, felt seemed like an eternity. Now, looking back, and as we approach week 14 of construction, I laugh that we felt like 6 weeks would be a long time.

Seeing the extension of weeks, you may have assumed we found mold in the walls or termite damage, but surprisingly since I live in an older home, there wasn’t. What I didn’t know about remodeling was that everything would need to be taken down to the bare beams and rebuilt. We spent a month of the wicked 100-plus-degree summer heat with no ceiling in our bathroom, staring at the exposed beams of the attic.
What’s interesting to me is the speed at which each level was completed. In just days, the demolition, while intense, occurred and in a matter of minutes, a vanity which had held strong for over 60 years was turned into dust and chunks of debris. Something so seemingly strong could crumble under the weight of the blow of a sledgehammer.
What took the longest time with the rebuilding was creating the strong foundation. How could destruction take such a short time, and rebuilding so long? I’ve realized there are so many layers to the foundation of a bathroom that I didn’t even know exisited. With my untrained eye, I see a vanity and toilet, but the contractor sees copper piping and the new plumbing he’ll have to run underground to move the toilet to the new area of the bathroom. He sees the split piping and increased construction that it takes to go from one sink to two. He sees the layers of backer board (a word I’ve never heard) and bags of mortar. The waterproofing supplies he’ll need for the shower and grout for the tile are added to his list. And then after pages of the “unseen” items he begins to list the things I’ll need to choose: sink faucets, vanity countertops, light fixtures. Each item had to be chosen and then brought together with the other items to make sure it would match inside the whole project.
Ultimately, none of my seemingly endless decorative choices will matter if there are no pipes to bring water to those sinks. The foundation, while unseen and maybe not even noticeable, is the essential element to the construction. While we see the wall color we agonized over picking, the contractor sees the wooden support beams underneath which he used to build the wall.
The Lord has built our foundation and in my case I feel like he occasionally picks a wall, one that I’ve built myself, and He tears it down only to rebuild one structurally sound. He makes sure each nail is laid into that backer board to cover the support beams and each layer of mud is smoothed over to create the drywall. While in some steps, I may feel immense pain as the wall is torn down, or nails are put in, I may feel immense joy and accomplishment as the new wall is finally painted. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in all of this, construction never ends. In making one aspect of our house new and beautiful it makes other parts become even more of an eyesore. We seem to have an unending laundry list of “next projects” that we didn’t really find necessary before this, but now we have a desire for everything to look as nice as the new bathrooms.
In my soul, remodels are long and trying. Counseling session and tears over situations and choices seem never ending, but I see those painted walls go up where that wound used to be and I know, if I keep going, I will, as St. Paul promises, win the race. Every time a nail goes in, I struggle with asking the Lord “Why that nail?” But now seeing these walls, I know that if he leaves a nail out, the whole wall could crumble.
I’m assuming that by next month’s post, the dust will have settled and been vacuumed up on this specific project but I know I’ll already be thinking about the next, having seen the unimaginable transformation that took place. And I pray that in my soul, I will be searching to see what the Lord will be transforming next in me.
Take a moment to think of the “remodeled” areas in your own life. Relieve the moments when you decided to renovate, the hours you spent deciding which “features” needed to stay and which needed to go. And then remember the demolition and then the nails going in to rebuild that “new wall.” How did it feel the first time you realized the remodel was finished, at least for the moment?
What is the Lord calling you to remodel now? What design plans is he placing on your heart? And how is He showing you what it could look like in the end?
Remember when you hit week 8, having only assumed it would take 6, there may be 6 more, but the end product is life-changing.
Let today be demolition day! Grab your spiritual sledgehammer and start tearing down the walls. The sooner the better, before the mold and termites show up. And if there are mold and termites when you open those walls, don’t worry; I have the number of the best exterminator. He’s free and always available. He’s just a prayer away.

Copyright 2017 Courtney Vallejo 


About Author

Courtney Vallejo is a convert to the Catholic faith, who lives in California. She and her husband homeschool their three adopted children. She is the cofounder of, whose mission is to inspire, encourage, and reclaim joy in motherhood. She also writes for her own blog, Courtney holds a Master's degree in Film Production and a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Follow her Gluten Free/Dairy Free adventures on Instagram: @aglutenfreerevolution.


  1. We’re in the middle of what I now realize is a “family remodel”. New job, new schedule, and trying to be much more intentional about our faith. It’s so true what you said about never really being done. I’ve noticed as soon as I get in the routine of one thing, I see something else that needs to improve or change. I’m going to start thinking of it like a house remodel though: okay, the TV situation is done, now we can move on to the basement organization…. Thanks for the insight!

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