We had a good day today. "What romantic way did we spend our anniversary", you ask? We cleaned out the garage! :-) Romance at its finest. :-) When Emilie found out it was our anniversary today, she said, "And you spent it cleaning? Yuck!" Spoken like our truly romantic second-born with a severe dislike for cleaning. :-) However, for those of you who know us well, our garage has been an issue for us since we have owned a house....at least 12 years! One of my friends used to tell me it was the "bane of my existence". She was right. It seems that no matter how hard we clean the rest of our house, it never feels clean, because we know that lurking at far end of our house is a really large abyss full of junk. We liked to call memories, storage, things we might need later, ...the list goes on, but over time we have realized that it is just "stuff". Stuff we hold on to that just weighs us down. It is an ever-present weight on our shoulders. It has not only affected our quality of day-to-day life, but it has affected our self-esteem....always being ashamed for anyone to see our "mess". It has been a waste of time...anytime we get ready to look for something to walk out the door, it is always "in the garage". And now, if not taken care of, it is going to cost us a lot of money when we move. And so, as we prepare for our move, the Lord has been doing a work in our heart about what we really need. When we look at something, we ask, "Do we want to pay to move this?" I can honestly tell you that the more trips we make to Goodwill and the more stuff we throw in the trash, the better we feel about ourselves and this beautiful home God has entrusted to us.
As we cleaned, and cleaned, and cleaned, I couldn't help but think how that garage is so much like my heart. So many times, someone has wronged me or offended me. Other times I may be jealous of someone for the way I think they have been blessed more than me. There are even good things that hold on to too tightly...memories of my children. Every single article of clothing or toy they ever touched. If I get rid of it...let it go....I might lose a piece of their childhood! Or, things that people have given me that I hold dear and near. Words people have said...whether ugly or words seeking approval. Gradually these things start to take root in my heart., taking away my dependence on God. I can go about my day, looking like all is well, while meanwhile there is bitterness, jealousy, anger....among others gnawing away at me. The amazing part is, when it happens, it is so gradual, you never really realize it until it has totally taken over and robbed you of your quality of Christian life....most importantly, your relationship with the Lord. And so, as I threw away papers and got rid of items I no longer need, I asked the Lord to reveal to me the things that have taken root in my heart that I am not aware of. Sins that I need to ask forgiveness for or relationships that need to be mended. As each dirty, yellowed piece of paper was discarded, I asked him to reveal those things that I have allowed to come between me and Him, and ask for the forgiveness Jesus made possible on that old rugged cross. And so now, my prayer is that as we continue to finish up the work we have begun in the garage (because it will take more than one day to clean up), that He would be faithful to complete the work he has started in me. He does promise that, you know!
In closing, please be in prayer for our family. Pray that our house would sell quickly...and in His time, and that we can get the most pressing of Clara's medical needs met before we go. Also, please pray for a dear friend who is in the hospital tonight. I cannot give details, but God will know who you are praying for.
Have a blessed day!!