I did some spring cleaning yesterday. One of the ways to look at the condition of my heart is to look at all the papers and notes I have been keeping. Due to some house renovations over the last several months, my desk looked like an avalanche of papers and notes waiting to happen. So, in between my daughter’s insect project, I began to take apart the avalanche.
Part of the avalanche was a foot high stack of my dad’s papers that my brother brought me. The stack included a lot of my dad’s business and personal notes from almost forty years of writing, bible study and running his business. Most of you know my dad passed away into the arm’s of Jesus about three years ago. Spring cleaning. I pray that when my kids look through my own belongings, they find right there in black and white, my commitment to God, study of His word and evidence of introspective thoughts on living this life and serving God. Just like my dad left for me. Spring cleaning.
As I paged through and organized my own avalanche, I breezed through many notes from my pastor’s sermons. I ran across a note that read like this – – Don’t give up if you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again. Keep repenting and getting on your knees before the Lord. One day, at just the right time, it will be over. You will have victory. This represents so many periods of my life. I remember that, when my pastor said this, I had the very distinct feeling that I was not alone in my sin. I became grateful that He is graceful and closed the book on a lot of my past. Spring cleaning.
It wouldn’t be spring cleaning if I did not search my heart for a present change that I’d like to make. I can sometimes be serious or stoic or cautious. Perhaps sober is a good word for it. It is very much part of my personality. It works very well with my gift of encouragement, particularly to suffering sisters. I take journeys with my beloved sisters through their pain. I share their brokenness and pour into the exchange all of the love Christ has portioned to me. And then over months, I see His divine touch on her life. I hear her testimony of what God has done and we rejoice together over her healing and deliverance. And, then, sometime later, I feel distant and lonely in my heart and perhaps even for my friend. Because I am spring cleaning as I write, it is hard for me to say exactly why. There is a part of me that misbelieves or remains cautious as to the victory. That’s the part I want OUT. There is a part of me that firmly believes the book is never shut on trials, testing and sanctification. That is the part of me that I want IN. Lord, help me to know You and me well enough to rejoice with my sisters and in your GREAT work. Help me to never stop seeking to become more like you and let me be used as encouragement to my sisters in their journeys to do the same. Spring cleaning.
My avalanche is cleaned. My desk looks beautiful with stuff packed away in those pretty boxes you get at Michael’s. My projects are in four lovely stacks ready to be worked on. God is good. He is faithful and true, worthy to be praised, wholly reliable to fulfill all things. Thank you Lord for spring cleaning.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in the mirror, for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 2:22-25