Psalm 139:13-16 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Our team has been working so hard to prepare new ways for you to explore your faith through the Anne Neilson Home brand – whether preparing yourself an atmosphere of worship with one of our new candles burning, documenting the way the Lord is moving in a journal, or simply spending some time reading our blog. In the next few weeks we’ll be introducing a free download of seven devotions meant to encourage you. Below is a snippet of one of those devotions. We were well into a three-year process of building a new home for our family in the early 2000s… a process that challenged me, sharpened me and caused me to draw near to God in a new way. After crossing hurdles with whether to build or not, with drawing and pricing the plans, and with laying the foundation, we were eager to begin framing the house. We continued seeking God’s heart, and we continued to press forward with construction. I was overjoyed to watch fresh, bright beams begin to shape our future home. Much to my dismay when I visited our rapidly rising home, I found not fresh, clean beams, but beams covered in knots - ugly wood that surely couldn’t build the strong house in which we were going to reside. I brought up my concerns with our builder. His answer penetrated my heart so deeply. He simply told me, “Anne, the more knots there are, the stronger the wood is.” Along this process any time I sought control or began to give into my doubt, the Lord would nudge me and say, “Come back to me.” I couldn’t have heard the words He spoke to my heart more deeply in response to my builder’s explanation. “The more knots are in our lives, the stronger we are.” I was reminded of every trial, every battle, every failure and every victory that was mark on my heart creating a knot and adding strength to my spirit. I was so encouraged that the knotty beams holding our house upright were so similar to the scars that Jesus had used to mark me and hold my life upright. Once I was able to embrace the marked timber, our family claimed it in the Lord’s name, going through and inscribing scripture on the framing, including Psalm 139, which beseeches that the Lord, “Search me… and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” I was so moved that as a final step to seal the inner framework of our home, our construction crew came in and covered the knotted wood with white sheetrock, covering the knots and ugly marks with a clean slate, exactly the way Jesus covered my knots and marks with His purity and washed me clean.