Spring Cleansing

By Bindu Adai Mathew

As I began to prepare to move out of our downtown condo that has been our home for the last 8 years, I realize that I’m not just cleaning out the clutter of the last 8 years of my life… I’m also cleaning out the clutter that I brought with me when I moved in 8 years ago as well. 

As I sit, literally sit, in my walk-in closet and reach for the stacks of notebooks and paper that have remained hidden in the corners of my closet, I begin to quickly feel overwhelmed, realizing that what should only take me a couple of minutes is actually going to take me hours. Part of my brain rebels and reminds me that since I hadn’t looked at them in that many years, then I should probably just grab it all and chunk it into the abyss of the oversized trashbag next to me. I should, but a still, small voice booms louder than my conscience. It is the voice that has ensnared and imprisoned me for years and labeled me as a “packrat.” I give in, as I always do, and start digging through the stacks.  An electricity bill from 2007. I hesitate for a moment… “But what if I need it?” I shake my head at myself, ashamed that the thought has even crossed my mind. Before it can repeat itself, I thrust the paper into the black abyss. Some receipts from a store purchase that I won’t even mention the year they’re from. I assure myself since I no longer plan to return those items, yes, these receipts can go into the trash as well. A journal from my single days when I was lamenting the woes of unrequited love. Yes, this one is a keeper and could be potential inspiration for my next novel! Not to mention it’s my journal, for goodness sake! I set it aside to my right, creating a new fresh pile of keepsakes. On and on, I go…I’m embarrassed to know that yes, while the contents of my trash bag grew so did the pile of keepsakes. While some things were easy to let go, others were painful, even if I knew I no longer needed them and probably wouldn’t have the time to look at them until I had to clean my closets yet again. I consider just throwing these keepsakes into a moving box to reckon with them later. After a heavy sigh and the feeling of dread, I look at my keepsake file and begin anew, making another pile of things I can’t part with. I slowly whittle away at the original keepsake file and soon it becomes something more manageable. While it has been painful, tedious, and long, I have to admit, I do feel more free…less burdened… 

In my quiet time later that night, God prods my heart. No…not my heart, too, Lord! Wasn’t my closet enough for today? I sigh, knowing that my spring cleaning isn’t complete. If I don’t purge my heart as well of the unnecessary clutter, I will carry that with me indefinitely as well. As I pray, I began sorting through some of it. The betrayal of a once good friend. The letdown of another. The critical words of an inlaw.  The stinging words of a sibling. The disappointment of a setback. Yes, there are countless things that I have hoarded and held onto in the dark recesses of my mind and heart. Things I should throw out, things I should let go of…but like the piles of paper in my closet, I have allowed myself to hold onto it, allowing it to fill unnecessary space in my life, clouding it, crowding it. I want to feel that freedom I felt earlier when I looked at my closet and saw the cleanliness and tidiness of it after my spring cleaning. Yes, it was time…more than time to spring clean my heart as well.


Forgive me, Lord, for being so unforgiving. Help me let go of the hurt, the pain, and the bitterness of some of those memories. Cleanse me, Lord, and renew my spirit. Lord, you’ve promised me joy for my ashes. You’ve promised me that you will use everything, even the bad, for my good. Lord, I choose to believe that. I choose You over my hurt and bitterness. Renew me, Lord.




Spring Cleaning with His Presence

By JMathis

I was given the priceless gift of being able to soak in the Almighty’s presence this past weekend. Truth be told, I can’t even remember the last time I was able to have this opportunity (possibly pre-kids?).

Within minutes of being alone with Him, though, I knew immediately that it had been far too long. I had allowed the thorns of life to choke out my hunger and thirst for Him, and my well had been left feeling dry and depleted.  

It was time for me to have an encounter with my Savior, as my soul was ready for some Spring Cleaning.  

Now, if I had my way, spring cleaning for my soul would probably have taken the form typically associated with spring cleaning one’s house: pick up/throw out/de-clutter/organize/sanitize. Repeat. Pick up/throw out/de-clutter/organize/sanitize. Repeat.

Automated. Robotic. Mindless.

Thankfully, His ways are not my ways, and His Spring Cleaning does not mirror my own awkward attempts at starting anew.  

His Spring Cleaning is eternal and moves far past Spring, and into the moanings and groanings of all creation. Into the deepest recesses of my thoughts, my memories and my DNA. Into the snarled roots and tangles of my lineage: my womb, my mother’s womb, my grandmother’s womb. Mary’s womb, Sarah’s womb, Eve’s womb.

Continuous and timeless. Everlasting and without measure. His Spring Cleaning is life-giving and life-sustaining.  

The type of Spring Cleaning that can be found in His presence alone.

If you are searching for strength and joy, seek His presence. (Honor and majesty are [found] in His presence; strength and joy are [found] in His sanctuary. ~ 1 Chronicles 16:27)

If you are searching for rest, seek His presence. (And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” ~ Exodus 33:14)

If you are searching for your purpose, seek His presence. (You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11)

If you are searching for forgiveness, seek His presence. (Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. ~ Acts 3:19)

If you are searching for a miracle, seek His presence. (The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the Lord of the whole earth. ~ Psalm 97:5)

If you are searching for a life transformation, seek His presence. (The earth shook; the heavens also dropped rain at the presence of God; Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel. ~ Psalm 68:8)

I took one taste of His presence this past weekend, and I have no idea why I had ever left.  

With one taste, I found healing. With one taste, I found restoration. With one taste, I found forgiveness. With one taste, I found love.

All that, with just one taste.

Breathe life into me. Cleanse me. Renew me. Forgive me. Change me, Oh God.  

Hot water. Cold water. Rinse. Spin. Dry.

My Spring Cleaning has begun and I don’t want it to end.