Friday, February 10, 2006

Spring Cleaning

For the first time in my adult life, I have almost completed the task of organizing my whole home. The basement is calling my name and that is all that remains. I have told my friends that I am preparing my life as though I were to die tomorrow. When I am gone, I don't want Curt and the boys to be focused on all this stuff - I want them to focus on each other.

Awhile ago, I was standing in the dining room, which is loaded down with Salvation Army donations, and it occurred to me - I am preparing my home not to die - but that I may LIVE. I am unable to express the right words in how freeing this task has made me feel. To look in delight at bare shelves, empty spaces in drawers and cupboards and not feel the need to fill them up with more stuff. How very uplifting.

I am also facilitating a Bible study, "Living Beyond Yourself Exploring the Fruit of the Spirit" by Beth Moore. Yesterday, while on my way to join "The Joy of the Lord Is Our Strength", I found myself thinking about a guy we know. He is building a new home a field away from us, which I pass by quite often. He has become quite wealthy over the years through his business, divorced from the mother of their two children. Since the divorce they have went through the routine of making/splitting up so often that we have all lost count. Right now they are together. He is also agnostic. Money is his god. I find it so easy to pray for him. As I am driving, I dream out loud to God how wonderful it would be for him and the kids to come to Christ. And then I think about her.

She has caused some major splits amongst the us by her words and actions. Because of her, there are some who have not spoken to each other for a few years now. Bottom line - she is a pretty evil person who delights in making trouble. She really has never liked me or pretended to hide that fact. A few years ago when Curt and I separated, that same day she told him to go out with them and she would set him up with one of her friends (he declined). From that point on, I never pretended to hide the fact that I didn't like her. Some believe she's jealous of me. I rather like to overlook that this really could be the reason and just satisfy myself with gossiping about her, not liking her, anything other than feeling sorry for her. Or I should say - being Christlike towards her.

In study today, I confessed that I hate her as much as she hates me. Pretty much putting myself on her level I'd say. HATE - you know that is a very strong word. I think about what I really do HATE. I HATE satan. I HATE sin. I HATE what sin does to the innocent young children. And I realized I said I HATE her. Thankfully, I recognized that I really don't HATE her. God has a way of putting things in perspective. I am also thankful that He has convicted me and I have had a heavy heart about what I said.

Throughout my "Spring Cleaning", I am recognizing that not only am I getting rid of material stuff, but the emotional security I felt from that stuff. How sad is that to put security into a shirt that I haven't worn forever. Something Nichalas tells me off and on (thankfully not often) is, "Mom, you need to ripen up, you're bitter". How accurate he is in that I need to "mature" in my fruits. That the fruits are there within me as a gift from the Holy Spirit, but they are gifts of action. I have known that love is an action, but never until yesterday did it click that so is joy. As are all the others. It is my choice to actively cause them to grow.

Back to her. I have been playing god. I have been taking all she has done over the years personally. What if God said to me, "You know Deby, all those years you walked away from me, too bad, I HATE you." Instead He tells me that He forgives me. He tells me that because I am IN Christ, I am made perfect and sinless. (Not an excuse to live a life of sin, but to live a life for Him.) He can not be a part of sin. And because of Christ He can be a part of me. He tells me that He LOVES me.

Before, knowing that because she is outside of Christ, if she were to die today she would not be saved from, "being cast into the lake of fire, the second death (total separation from God), and judgment according to her works." (Rev 20:11-15). Even in knowing this, I just didn't care. My heart was so hard, so focused on Hating her. I didn't even want to pray for her. Not even convicted to do so. Pretty hard heart. And even then I wasn't scared.

Thank the Lord for "Spring Cleaning". For taking my hard heart and casting out the stuff. After turning it over to him, I have been able to pray, really pray for her. I am not boasting about me. I am boasting about the Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control. The Fruits of the Spirit. (Gal 5:22-23).

I am boasting about HIM.


Valerie Dykstra said...

See there, you have lots to write about. I'm so glad you are blogging again. It's great to climb one more hurdle in our Christian journey. I'm glad you're delighting in the victory.

Erin said...

Deby, first, welcome back to the blogs! I have missed your insights and wisdom.
Next, I find that we are similar in yet ANOTHER way, with Spring Cleaning, and getting emotionally attached to STUFF. Your paralleling this with your struggle with your brother-in-law's wife is quite profound, I think, and I can also identify with those feelings that you have; the stuggle to forgive and a desire to be Christlike, even as our fallen nature beckons us towards the "Easy Way" of bitterness and dislike.

I am very blessed to have met you as we both struggle along through this life.


nutmeg said...

I got here via Portia, my sister....

I recognize the amazing Flylady in your desire to de-clutter your house and really start to's something I feel like I am constantly trying to stay on top of.

Regarding your are very courageous and humble in identifying your hate and bringing it to light. It's so hard, isn't it? And equally amazing that once we open the door for Christ, just a crack, His light fills the whole heart, and hatred can no longer dwell.... I have felt that many times. But, oh, sometimes it's so hard to open it just that tiny crack!

God bless you and your brother and his family....

ginny said...

Beautiful,just beautiful. I know I need to hear those lessons sometimes. I'm struggling with "hate" towards this boy in Nikki's life and what he has done to her life. But it was her decision. It is nice to know others struggle with that "crap" too. Thanks for sharing. It helps with the wounds. And p.s. glad you are back babe.