Tag Archives: surrender

My Gnat Confession

scary-gnatCleaning Jon’s room makes me mad! I’m confessing, putting it out here for all to read.

Every time I clean his room I battle a huge bad attitude. One way to deal with my anger has been to give it a name, “The Landfill”, and to play worship music on my iPad as loudly as possible while cleaning.

The past few days we’ve been seeing little gnat things flying around the house and couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. I do a quick check in Jon’s room every other day or so, making sure nothing’s growing or moving that shouldn’t be and about once a week, do a more thorough clean and sheet change.

Yesterday, I decided it was “Landfill” cleaning day. Mike was home so he helped me with the vacuuming and I was sorting through Jon’s usual piles of stuff on the floor and in crates making sure everything was kosher, when I found it buried under a pile of stuffed animals, a personal size Rubbermaid cooler that he had taken from a cabinet in the laundry room.

I opened it to see what was inside and a fleet of gnats flew up in my face. After they lifted off, I noticed the bottom of the cooler was alive and moving with hundreds of little gnat larva. They were living off some sort of food science experiment growing in there.

Horrified, I screamed, slammed the top shut, grabbed it, ran to the front door and heaved the cooler as hard as I could into the yard. I slammed the front door closed and jumped around in the foyer for a few minutes, totally grossed out, itching, shaking and hollering, trying to get hallucinatory gnats off of me.

Once that subsided, incredible anger took its place. I stomped into the kitchen and yelled at Jon for two minutes straight while he stared at me like I’d just lost my mind then I went back in his room, still freaking out, and tried to tell Mike I’d found the source of our gnat invasion.

“I can’t hear anything you’re saying. You’ve got the music so loud it sounds like a Pentecostal church service in here. Turn it down so I can hear you.” Mike hollered over the music.

I yelled back, “Listening to that music is the only way I get through cleaning this room so you best be glad it’s playing. I’m so mad right now if that music shuts off I’m gonna’ smack someone, and hard!”

We scrubbed the daylights out of Jon’s room for the next hour. I reluctantly searched every nook, cranny, box, crate, bag and pile in there and in his bathroom. I threw every thread of bedding and fabric I could find in the washing machine and got Jon in the shower. He even let me wash his hair, possible penance for what he’d just put me through, though I’ll never know for sure.

A few hours later, after I was sure everything was clean and back in order, I finally calmed down.

Last night I prayed. Though yesterday’s clean was more than unusual, I asked God to show me why I become so angry every time I clean Jon’s room.  God knows my heart better than I, and I want to understand what is triggering this anger inside of me.

The answer came in my prayer as I poured my heart out before my Heavenly Daddy.

“He’s thirty five, I shouldn’t have to still clean his room and it’s not fair that I do. We should be empty nesters now and only cleaning kid messes after grandchildren visit.”

As much as I love my son, cleaning his room is evidence that this didn’t turn out as I’d hoped and hope disappointed triggers many reactions and emotions. We often don’t recognize their source.

Like we didn’t know where the gnats were coming from, I didn’t know where my anger was coming from until I searched, until I asked.

Now that I know, God and I can start working on it together; one more area where grace can replace reaction, where a servant heart can replace selfishness.

Recognizing my shortcoming is the first step. Asking God to help me change is the second. He loves me too much to leave me as I am, yet He is gentle enough to expose and change my selfish heart one layer at a time, even if it takes a plague of gnats to motivate me.

Confession is good so I pray I’ll soon have a heart of joy and a song of praise at all times, even in “The Landfill”.

But. Please. Lord. (Shivverrrr) minus all creepy, crawly, cringy, critter things!

Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry and sin not, don’t let the sun go down on your wrath or give place to the devil.”

James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed.”

The Ultimate Caregiver

Caregiving is selfless work. Problem is, I’m not selfless. Not yet.FB_Jesus_Washes_Feet_PDF-1

I’ve grown through the years I’ve been doing this overtime parenting/caregiving thing, but honestly, I still have a long way to go. There are times when I still struggle and it seems too hard, too frustrating, too confining, too self sacrificing, too…much.

But love moves me forward another day. I love my son and he needs me, whether he realizes it or not. So I rise in the morning with new mercies, new grace and make the most of both the imperfect and fantastic days we are blessed to have.

Comparison is a luxury I can’t afford. Neither can you. When we start comparing our life to others our thoughts can travel into dangerous territory.

Some comparisons that might spiral me into dark places:

They go on vacation. We can’t.

They get in their car and go whenever/wherever they want. I can’t.

Their thirty something year old kid is self sufficient. Mine isn’t.

They don’t have to worry about what will happen to their grown child when they’re no longer here. I do.

There’s plenty more of these, but you get the idea. I can’t allow my mind to dwell on what they are doing. Such thinking has to be ‘taken captive’ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and serves no purpose but a downward spiral into self absorbed misery.

What I can think on is God’s goodness; His provision, grace, strength and blessing.

I have a roof over my head. I’m not hungry. I’m in functioning health. I have support from a good husband, caregivers, church and friends; a decent car to drive when I can get away, a yard full of awesome plants to enjoy and a son who only needs constant reminders to attend to his own basic physical needs. And some times, even while being grumpy and stubborn, Jon’s quirky, humor makes me smile.

Things to be thankful for outnumber the they comparisons and inconveniences, two to one.

Jesus modeled selfless caregiving when He loved me enough to lay aside His Heavenly crown, take on flesh and come to an Earth originally created in perfection by Him and utterly broken by the degradation of His greatest creation – man.

The Ultimate Caregiver came to serve and give His life away. He came to provide solutions for the desperation of humanity and offers the grace and strength I need to serve and care as He does.

Faithfully

Patiently

Cheerfully

Lovingly

Sacrificially

Selflessly

I pray everyday, as I struggle to set ‘me’ aside again, for the benefit of my son and for others, that I will emulate Christ’s love in some small way.

Because true love lives to serve.

John 13:4…he [Jesus] got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (NIV)

Matthew 20:26-28 “But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

1 Peter 5:7 ESV Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

 

A Beautiful Thing

 

My friend was married a few days ago. As ‘best woman’ I stood with her, my heart about to burst for joy,  knowing what a long, long walk it was to that ceremony. Me and Glee wedding

And I’m not referring to the stroll from the parking lot of the New Hampshire state park, up the frost-heaved sidewalk, onto pine needle dusted soil and down the center of the outdoor pavilion to a wall size fireplace, where the wedding took place.

I’m talking about a lifetime of hurt, pain, shame, guilt, addiction, rage and change.

We are often victims of man’s free will. It’s natural to recoil when wounded, especially when the hurt isn’t our fault. Then reactions become decisions, piling up and building insurmountable walls of defense.

During the past twenty years I watched my friend kick, scream, cry, fight and forgive for a hard won freedom. She was willing to do what it took to excommunicate the demons of her past and experience an internal peace and liberty.

She faced every challenge head on. It wasn’t easy. And required unusual determination, endurance and more time than most are willing to wait.

I was privileged to walk beside her for most of the process.

We talked, laughed, prayed and cried through many hurdles as she gave in and gave up to the beautiful grace of God at work in her heart, over and over and over again. As the years flowed by I watched a slow but amazing metamorphosis; a hard, angry heart turned marshmallow soft, a dry lump of clay gently crafted into a useful vessel of outpoured love.

The butterfly has emerged from the dark days of the cramped cocoon to fly freely into joy.

There is no sin, no shame, no wound, no hurt, no scar that the merciful love of our Heavenly Father cannot heal when we surrender our life to Him. He takes any and every broken and yielded piece of us and makes it new. He restores all damage, makes us whole, forever erasing the pain of yesterday.

When God renews, old things are passed away, sorrow and ashes turned into beauty. We are raised up to a life filled with promise and a future full of hope.

I’ve watched and tasted this. In myself, in others and especially in my beautiful friend who at long last has been restored to love and trust; so evidenced by the large and diverse group of people who came to celebrate this special day. God’s love was tangible, undeniable, surrounding all of us.

Knowing we are loved changes everything.

My friend finally knows, without a hint of doubt, she is valuable and she is loved.

Of utmost importance, by God.

Also by others.

And by the incredible guy who took her as his bride.

Freedom is such a beautiful thing.

     John 10:10 “The thief’s purpose is to steal, kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.” ~Jesus

     2 Corinthians 3:17 “Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”

     Luke 4:17-18 “..the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him [Jesus]. Unrolling it, he found the place where   it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free..”

     “Everyone wants to change the world but no one thinks of changing himself.” ~Anonymous

Bring It All

I had a dream the other night. Jesus was calling to us, all of humanity

Gently imploring, “Come to me. Bring me whatever you have, whatever you are. I love you exactly as you are so come.”

I was in line with a great crowd of people who were moving toward Him. Some were holding a thimble full of their stuff, some were pushing a wheel barrow full and others were driving dump trucks!

It didn’t matter to us or Him, what any of us had or the size of it, we were just joyfully relieved to be giving it all to Jesus, the good, bad and indifferent parts of us. He was willingly receiving it all and was pleased.

Then I woke up.
I’m thinking the point of my dream is this:
God isn’t messed up or surprised by who you are, where you’ve come from or what you’ve done. He just wants you to come to Him. Lay everything down before Him and allow His love to fill you, bless you and change you. 

He’s calling my name and yours. He’s patiently waiting.

So what are we waiting for?

Quit looking at my stuff and I’ll quit looking at yours. 
Let’s just go together.
Matthew 11:28-30  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”(MSG)

Broken Things

There’s a program I like to watch on TV about competing teams of interior designers who are given several hundred dollars for the challenge of choosing a few flea market items to refurbish and re-sell at the same flea market for a profit. The team that sells their re-designs for the highest earnings receives all the money at the show’s end. 

The designers choose objects that are broken, worn, damaged, old, ugly and possibly considered useless. They possess a passion for creative imagination and an eye for seeing something that is not yet there, turning discarded stuff into something people want. They restore value.

Just before Jesus began his ministry, scripture tells us, he was in the synagogue reading aloud this portion of Isaiah 61:

And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

 “Then,” Luke 4:16-21 says, He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus came to this planet wrapped in an earth suit – flesh and blood- to restore beauty and value to a broken world; to take us back where we have always belonged, into an intimate relationship with God our Father.

As Master Designer, God lovingly sorts through the scrap heap of our lives and sees us for who we can be rather than what we are. He sets our life on a path of repair and redemption the minute we yield everything we have and are to Him.

Feeling ugly, tattered, damaged, and useless? Though you may see yourself as such, your value has never once diminished inside God’s plan. He proved His obsession for your restoration by paying for it with the life of His Son. 

Are there pieces and parts of you that are shattered, incomplete or in disrepair? Broken things are God’s specialty. 

Surrender all your brokenness to God and allow Him a divine re-design. The process may be inconvenient and even painful at times, but endure it with gladness. 

When God revalues a broken thing the results are priceless and beyond astounding, because that is exactly what you are in His eyes!

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

Philippians 1:3 & 6 “I thank my God every time I remember you… being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.