Everyday Disciple: Emily's Story

This post is part of an on-going Everyday Disciple series. We're celebrating here what it looks like to follow Christ faithfully in the day-to-day. I am thankful to share the stories of gracious friends and readers, and I have sought to preserve and honor their voice in the post below. I invite you to join me as we listen to their experience as an "everyday disciple."

I was so excited when Emily first emailed me to share about her experience working as a civil engineer in construction. It’s a world I’m definitely unfamiliar with, and I was delighted to hear her stories. I hope her enthusiasm about her work and the ways God is at work in it bring your heart as much joy as it has brought mine. 

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I wish you could see the beauty in construction. Yes, the same noisy, annoying, dirty, nuisance-on-your-way-to-work construction. I wish you could see the beauty in the act of creating something that has, up to that point, only been imagined by other human beings. Or of the circus act of moving parts and personalities working towards a common goal. Of the countless numbers of people who have touched a building along a processing line, operating trucks across the country, or eventually installing it in the field with their own hands. I wish you could see, behind the test of patience, the beautiful story of creation and growth and relationships behind each construction project.

At first, I didn’t think I had the personality for the construction industry. But God led me to this career, and in spite of my hesitation, since I took my job in construction project management, I have discovered what God already knew, that this was the perfect job for me. 

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I love that each project I work on is completely unique and requires a team effort and accountability. My job requires constant problem solving, and I can see the physical results of the planning efforts of my team. To start with a blank piece of land and end with a brand-new structure that will be enjoyed by others is very fulfilling to me.

I have learned that good construction work (as with many other industries) is all about sustaining good relationships between all individuals involved in the process. In construction, there are many different parties with many different interests: architects, engineers, owners (clients), end users, subcontractors, inspectors, and the individual workers in the field. My unique job as a Construction Manager is to serve as a mediator and conduit of information between all these different groups. Knowing God, and therefore knowing how I should act as a Christian, helps me to approach each meeting without preconceived judgements or only my own agenda, and implores me to treat each person respectfully and fairly. I have many opportunities to model right relationships, just by showing up to work and doing my job.  

In tenuous and stressful situations (where time and money are on the line) there is always a temptation to make quick decisions or take the easy way out, cutting corners. This often has fatal consequences if done during the construction process (whether it is risking the safety of workers, or the ultimate performance of the structure). Christianity calls me to be truthful in all my dealings and strengthens me to honor God in these circumstances by acting with integrity.

When I read the first post in this series, I thought of how God uniquely placed me, with my particular industry skillset, in the church that I am currently attending. I’ve struggled to know where my gifts and passions fit into the Body. When I first joined the church about four years ago, I was not aware of the Building Committee’s Master Plan process.  When it was revealed to the congregation, I felt as if my heart would burst out of my chest at the thought of possibly being involved in the construction of this grand plan.  

Looking back, God was carving a path through specific experiences I had had during the first few years at my company to ultimately allow me to serve on the church’s "Building Committee." One by one, the pieces aligned, and I eventually was asked to join the Building Committee with just enough construction experience under my belt to be helpful. We are now in the construction phase of the new parking lot around our current church and despite the fact that this might sound boring to most people, it is such an honor to be part of this process. I have never felt more fulfilled in my work than knowing I can simply be used in this way as a member of the church body for the glory of God’s kingdom.

Our church’s motto is to “know Christ and make Him known,” and this can be done anywhere. I can do this while using my “ever day job” skills for His glory while serving my church through its building projects. And I can do this as I am a presence for God’s Body and represent the church in the construction field. You never know how God will use your passions for His glory.

If you would like to be a part of this project, I would love to hear your story. Contact me for more information.