Jesse Walker Scars

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Have you ever had a childhood scar speak to you at dawn to expose a secret about a struggle you have today? On our bodies a forty year old scar would be barely noticeable, but those childhood scars on our hearts can affect us for as long as we let them. Today the scar of Jesse Walker, which had been buried in the recesses of my mind for years, woke me up in a spiritual sense, and gave me a new perspective for an old problem. When I was a child, my Jesse Walker doll had a place of pride in my room. She was a tall doll with red hair just like me, and my grandmother had even made a beautiful red velvet dress for her to wear during the holidays. As I entered my teens, I stopped playing with her, but she still occupied that place of pride in my room because she was special to me, so when I found out that my mother had given her to my younger cousin without even asking me, my heart broke. I may have been fourteen, but I wasn’t ready to part with Jesse Walker. In my heart I mourned the loss of Jesse Walker for years, and quite frankly, I was angry about it. My younger cousin probably didn’t even care about Jesse Walker at all, and I had lost so much after my parents filed for bankruptcy and lost our home. I guess in a way, Jesse Walker was the thing that represented all that loss. I know now that my mom was heartbroken herself, but at fourteen I couldn’t see anything from her perspective at all. All these years, I’ve had no idea how deep the scar of Jesse Walker is, but even as I put these words on paper, my eyes have filled with tears.

I woke up thinking about deep cleaning, and why my treehouse (my personal space, my home office), which was the first room I addressed on my deep cleaning journey, has been trashed again by things my daughter brought up here because she doesn’t want her room full of things she doesn’t use, but isn’t ready to send to the next person yet. The scar of Jesse Walker revealed the reason I’ve felt so strongly about allowing my children to keep things for as long as they want, and let go only when they are ready. I’ve never really helped my children learn to let go of things. Right now I’m not sure if this has been healthy for them. As a parent, I thought I was doing what was best for them because I didn’t want them to have a Jesse Walker scar of their own, but I digress… The problem for me, is that I have allowed their things to infiltrate my treehouse, the space where I pray and read and write and sew and collect my thoughts. So today, I have to take my space back, and as I do, I have to forgive my mother for giving Jesse Walker away, because I now know that because of my dad’s carelessness her world had been turned upside down too. I forgave my dad a long time ago, and I didn’t even realize I was holding things against my darling mother.

Right now I pray, Father give me fresh lenses from which I can see my mother and the events of my childhood that left me scared, as You heal my heart and give me beauty for ashes. I’m sorry that I’ve held onto hurt that happened so very long ago. Father forgive me, and mend all the scars between my mother and me, because I’m sure I’ve given her scars too. Let our friendship flourish, Father I pray in Jesus’ name, and I’m so thankful that You’ve opened my eyes to this scar I had forgotten about, and shown me the way to healing. I love You Lord; You are a good good Father.

Forgiveness is as much for the forgiver as it is for the forgivee. I’m excited to see how God will use this epiphany to do a great work in my relationships. If you’re reading this and you have unforgiveness that has been buried for years, ask God to give you a fresh perspective, new lenses from which to view the thing that left a scar on your heart. God honors our prayers for healing in relationships, and he makes all things new in the name of Jesus.

Get Up!

I failed miserably this week, and now God is using that failure to remind me to get up quickly when I fall. When we fall, the devil tries to weasel his way in and use it to make us feel like we are not good enough for God. The beautiful thing about God is that even as I was failing Him by interfering in something I said I was trusting Him for, He was reminding me that I am loved, I am worthy, I am enough, I have a purpose, and I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He loves His children so much that He disciplines us in love, and expresses His love for us at our lowest. You see, I felt defeated because I faltered when I thought I had set my resolve to stand firm in my faith. I put myself somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be, and went against what God had purposed in my heart to do. So today, He is reminding me to get up quickly.

This is not my quote, but I can’t find the book that I copied it from. I will give credit when I find the book.

Power Stance

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Picture a day where you are cruising along with all your favorite tunes playing on the radio, and somehow catching all the greenlights. It’s a great day to be alive, and your energy and expectations are high, when out of nowhere BAM, you are sideswiped by someone else’s bad day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could freeze time right here to evaluate the situation and collect your emotions so you could be intentional about your reaction. You have a decision to make, but unfortunately it’s a snap decision. What do you do? Do you do the easy thing, and just speed away leaving them to deal with whatever has caused their bad day on their own, or do you join them in their misery and let their negative energy overtake you, or do you offer them some of the peace you are currently enjoying? I hope you are thinking about choices, because if you’re thinking about choices, then you realize that while you can’t control anyone else’s attitude, negativity, unbelief, doubt, anxiety, depression etc., you can control how you react to it.

It’s fascinating that two people can be in the same exact place, surrounded by the same exact energy and people, but have two completely different experiences. Perception is key. I’ve learned that when I keep my focus on me and how people perceive me, or my perception of how people perceive me, then I get caught up in things that ultimately don’t even matter; however, when I keep my focus on the Father and give it all to him, I become fully aware that He is the preeminent one, the one who created everything, I am in His hands, He is holding me through the good times as well as the bad, and He is my hope and my reason. Werther I surrender control or not, God is on His throne, He is the preeminent one, and by holding onto the reigns so tight, I am actually putting myself in a power struggle with the creator of the universe. How silly, how ridiculously arrogant, how self destructive to think I am better equip to handle anything better than God. So perception of life’s events is based on where your focus is placed. Let go and let God; so simple, yet so hard.

STARFISH; THE POWER STANCE

Feet planted firmly, hands lifted high with palms open wide giving everything to God. Praise is our weapon, and there is surrender in an open stance that says, “It’s all yours God.” When you start your day, take your power stance and give your day to God. Ask Him to equip you with the grace you need to be salt and light in this world. Whenever you’re sideswiped by someone else’s bad day, ask God to open your eyes to see and your ears to hear the need in your brother or sisters life. We are all travelers on this earth, and have all sideswiped someone with our bad day. How much more wonderful would it be to offer encouragement, peace, and love to a hurting traveler, than to speed away, let them steal your peace, or even worse, kick them when they are down.

Whatever life throws at you, ask God to show you the lesson and the blessing. Give thanks to the Lord for what His is doing, whatever He is going to reveal through the situation, and whatever He is changing through the situation. God’s ways are bigger and He doesn’t do things in the way we think they should done. Thankfully, He sees the whole picture, and in the end, we always look back and realize how God turned things around and used them for our good. “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 You can trust Him in ALL things. My prayer stance has become one of a starfish. Feet planted firmly, arms lifted, and fingers fully extended letting go of everything. Body language experts acknowledge that this stance is impowering, and fuels confidence if you are headed into a situation that requires confidence. Imagine how much more powerful this stance is when your hands and heart are open letting go and giving everything to God the Father.

With an attitude of surrender and gratitude, and a heart focused on the Father, You’ll be prepared for whatever life throws your way, and you won’t speed away from a fellow traveler who is in need of encouragement, Instead, you’ll be equip to offer them a hand, and specific encouragement with prompting from the Holy Spirit, and with full awareness that God is in the situation, you’ll be thankful that He allowed you to be His hands and feet. We all encounter situations that are not what we would have chosen, but with a heart full of gratitude, not only for the things our human eyes see as good, but also having faith that God is using even what we perceive as a bad situation for good, you will be the salt and light in this world so desperately needs. How can you be salt and light if you’re ruled by circumstances? It’s important to remember that God doesn’t always reveal His plans to us immediately. We don’t have to know what He is up to to be obedient, and to offer encouragement, peace, and love to others.

In church we sing about freedom. You are free, and you don’t have to be beat up by life. Take your power stance, standing starfish giving everything to God: your praise, your fear, your disappointment, your anger, your love, your hopes, your dreams, and even your relationships, because He can be trusted with all of it. By doing this, you won’t be angry when you’re sideswiped by someone’s bad day, You’ll be better equip to be an encouragement to fellow travelers. This world is hurting and dying, and so very thirsty. Be a wellspring of God’s love; stand starfish and let Him fill you with more of Him.

Take a minute to think about what you are holding onto so tightly; what you’ve been afraid to trust God with. Open your heart and open your hands and release it to Him. Trust Him to take care of it. Open your heart and open your hands to release praise to the one who does all things in love. Let faith rise up in you, and be an encouragement to others. Ask God to open your eyes to see the hurting and the lost, and rather than joining them in their misery, or speeding away, bring them into your peace so that they may see the love of God the Father.

Pray with me:

Father I’m sorry for all the times I sped away from people who were hurting and lost, I’m sorry for all the times I joined them in their misery, and I’m asking You to increase my faith, help me to remember that it’s not about me, it’s about bringing You to the lost and dying people who desperately need to experience Your love extended through the lives of Your church. I want to be salt and light Father. I want to be a balm to the wounded, and I want You to shine through me so bright that when I enter a room, the darkness has to flee. I love You Lord. Thank You for reminding me that it’s not about me or my feelings, it’s about You. Thank You for changing my heart and changing my life, and thank You for allowing me to be Your hands and feet in this world. I pray all things in Jesus name.

Amen

The Wood-Pile

BY ROBERT FROST

Out walking in the frozen swamp one gray day,
I paused and said, ‘I will turn back from here.
No, I will go on farther—and we shall see.’
The hard snow held me, save where now and then
One foot went through. The view was all in lines
Straight up and down of tall slim trees
Too much alike to mark or name a place by
So as to say for certain I was here
Or somewhere else: I was just far from home.
A small bird flew before me. He was careful
To put a tree between us when he lighted,
And say no word to tell me who he was
Who was so foolish as to think what he thought.
He thought that I was after him for a feather—
The white one in his tail; like one who takes
Everything said as personal to himself.
One flight out sideways would have undeceived him.
And then there was a pile of wood for which
I forgot him and let his little fear
Carry him off the way I might have gone,
Without so much as wishing him good-night.
He went behind it to make his last stand.
It was a cord of maple, cut and split
And piled—and measured, four by four by eight.
And not another like it could I see.
No runner tracks in this year’s snow looped near it.
And it was older sure than this year’s cutting,
Or even last year’s or the year’s before.
The wood was gray and the bark warping off it
And the pile somewhat sunken. Clematis
Had wound strings round and round it like a bundle.
What held it though on one side was a tree
Still growing, and on one a stake and prop,
These latter about to fall. I thought that only
Someone who lived in turning to fresh tasks
Could so forget his handiwork on which
He spent himself, the labor of his ax,
And leave it there far from a useful fireplace
To warm the frozen swamp as best it could
With the slow smokeless burning of decay.

I’m not sure if I’d be the speaker in this poem, off on a journey I’m not even sure is a good idea, or if I’d be the one who left the woodpile behind because I moved on and forgot about it. I mean life gets pretty hectic at times, and I am easily distracted from tasks. I don’t remember leaving a woodpile neatly stacked in the woods, but I can’t swear I didn’t. I’ve found that when I’m not intentional about life, things have a way of getting left unfinished, and the way I pile up clutter can be quite architectural; not in that it looks beautiful by design, but in that it seems structurally sound. Sometimes, however, there are structural issues and an impending avalanche is waiting for the first sign of stress on the delicate structure. Clutter is not only unattractive, I believe it can also be dangerous. Allowing things to pile up creates snares, or self-made traps. At times, I’m late because I can’t readily find the things I need in the midst of the clutter, and being late can cause all manner of stress. It’s a chain reaction, causing me to drive too fast putting myself and others in danger, or causing me to trip over things in my way causing personal harm, and making me feel bad about myself and my home.

What is your stumbling block? In this life, we all have time vampires that act as stumbling blocks. For me, the main one is the Internet. I can get lost on a rabbit trail for hours; it’s like the Land of the Lotus eaters, where time slips away unnoticed. I’m a former English teacher, turned librarian, so research seems justifiable in my work, but SQUIRREL… I’m off topic, and what should have been an hours worth of work turns into three because I followed a YouTube link I came across in my reading, and that caused me to either watch several more videos on the topic, or go off in search of information about something I tripped over in the video. Yes time management has been a struggle for most of my adult life. I’m fully aware of the list of things that need to be done, I just go off course and before I know it, I’ve wasted so much time, that I don’t have enough left to get to the things I’d planned for that day.

My prayer has been, “God help me keep my eyes on You.” I know I keep talking about focus, but for me focus is the biggest problem. Life itself is noisy, and it is so easy to get off task if I don’t set some parameters for my day. I used to think people who made lists were just silly, but God has shown me that because I’m so easily distracted, lists can serve as a daily goal sheet, and can give me the parameters I so desperately need. He is the change. I’ve started moving anything I didn’t finish today, to tomorrow’s list. I don’t make long lists that are overwhelming, I make a new list of things I can reasonably get done in the time I’ll have to do it, and if I get off track and some of it doesn’t get done, I’m bummed, but I forgive myself, and just add it to tomorrow’s list. I don’t make tomorrow’s list the day before. I can only focus on one day at a time. I make my list each morning after I’ve had my quiet time with the Lord, because I want to give my day to Him, and if He has things for me to do, I want to make sure I put those on the list, and I want to make sure I get to them on that day. The days I don’t take the time to make a list are far less productive than the days I make and follow a list.

The way I’ve started to conquer clutter is to focus in on one area at a time. I fully deep clean that area, throwing out anything that is not useful, and donating things I don’t use, but others could use. I’ve learned to let go of things I don’t need; I’ve not perfected this art yet, but I’m working on it. Once an area is fully cleaned, I focus on another area, but try to continue to maintain the areas I’ve already cleaned. This is the only way I’ve determined to keep the clutter under control, because my family and I actually live in our home. God has been showing me that cleaning my house and cleaning up my spiritual life can use the same process. In cleaning up my spiritual life, my thoughts, and my actions, I have to maintain the areas that God has gotten into the cracks and crevices of, and continue to allow Him access to deep cleaning all of me. The cleaning is a process, and once I’ve gotten an area of my life cleaned up, I can’t let the devil creep in and make a mess of it again. Just like house cleaning, spiritual cleaning is not a one and done; it is a continual battle with my flesh, and I have to be committed to continually being open to allowing God to work in me and through me. In this battle, I’ve learned that praise is a weapon. Music is powerful, and I listen to music that reminds me of who God is and of His promises; worship music has become a great weapon in my life. Perhaps the most powerful weapon God has show me is guarding my mind, which can be tricky because I’m exposed to so many people and opinions each day. So no thoughts about clutter would be complete without pondering the people in my life. Jesus commands us to love one another, but He does not command us to spend our time with just anyone who comes along. People can be a stumbling block, and sometimes it is wise to take the time to evaluate relationships. Those people who try to suck the fun out of everything with their perpetual negative monologue, those who plant seeds of corruption, and those who lie cheat and steel, do not have to be allowed into my friend circle. It’s certainly not kind or loving to dump people for making a mistake, none of us are perfect, but if a person always leaves me feeling irritated, angry, or tempted to do things I know are wrong, I need to pray for that person, and I need to ask God to help me evaluate that relationship. Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” The world is full of clutter and people who would love to see others fall. I know this is true because I’ve seen it too many times, and I know I must be diligent in my walk, and in my quiet time with God. I’ll close with Philippians 4:8-9 “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.”

Pray with me. Father I am so thankful for all the good in my life, and I pray that You will help me to keep an attitude of gratitude. I pray that You will keep my quiver full of weapons to fight off the plans the devil has for my life. I pray against every evil plan he has for me, and I pray that You will help me to meditate on every good thing that comes from You. I am open to You oh Lord, shake me and cleanse me, and give me strength and guidance to maintain my clean heart and right relationship with You. I love You Lord, and I am committed to following Jesus all the days of my life. I pray in the holy name of Jesus. Amen and amen.

Made To Shine

We were made to SHINE, to be a holy example of God’s love for mankind, but how can we shine and be that light in the world if the cracks and crevices of our heart are filled with hidden yuck. One thing that hurts my heart right now, is that so many people who need love, are being indoctrinated to believe that Christianity is a religion of hate, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. However, if that’s the way the world perceives us, then it’s time for us to do some deep cleaning of our inner most parts. Surface cleaning takes effort, but deep cleaning takes real commitment.

I have walked this earth for hmmm hmmm years, and on my journey, I’ve ended up with a lot of yuck getting into the cracks and crevices of my core being. The ideals of this world are hard to avoid, and everyone is ready to share their opinions with anyone who will listen. It’s really hard not to get the stink of the world on you when you are here in the midst of it, but God tells us in Romans 12:2 “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Sometimes, we get comfortable with our lives, and we embrace our hidden yuck because we deem the sins of others far worse than our own. I’ve found that when I’m comfortable thinking at least I’m not as bad as that one, God will let me step into a metaphorical steaming pile of poo and remind me that I’m not so high and mighty as I think, and to be honest, I love Him all the more for keeping me humble.

But I digress… The point I was getting to is about asking God to search our hearts for the hidden yuck, and get deep into the cracks and crevices so we can shine. This cleaning is not an act of your own hand, it is an act of surrender that says, “here I am Lord, (Psalm 51:10) Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. This kind of deep cleaning can only be done if you surrender your hidden hate, pain, desires, idolatry, etc. etc.. Only when you are willing to lay it all at the foot of the cross, will God dig in deep and clean the cracks and crevices of your heart. Of course, He can change anyone in an instant just like He did with Paul on the Roman road, but he gave us free will, and He wants us to choose Him above all else. He wants to be our first choice every time. He created this world, set it in motion, breathed life into us, and gave us free will to choose Him, or to reject Him. I can’t even begin to imagine how His heart must break when we reject Him when He wants nothing more than to dry our tears and give us beauty for ashes.

If you are tired of running, tired of being a mess, tired of trying to be better using your own strength, then pray with me now.

Father, you are faithful and good, and your mercy endures forever. I love you Lord. Forgive me for my foolish pride, for holding onto (insert whatever your hidden yuck is here), I trust you Lord, and I surrender it all to you Lord. I lay it all at the foot of the cross, and ask you to create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Make me shine for You Lord. In Jesus precious name I pray, Amen.

Pretty is as Pretty Does

If I heard it one time, I heard it a thousand. Through my whole childhood, my mama reminded me repeatedly that, “Pretty is as pretty does.” From a very young age she was teaching me that inner beauty if far more valuable than outer beauty. I Peter 3:3-4 illustrates this point exactly, “Whose adorning let it not be outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on on apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” Unfortunately, society is so focused on what’s on the outside, that even the most physically beautiful females feel as insecure as those of us who are not built like a swimsuit model. I wrote a poem a while back titled, “I Love This Body”, and in it I chronicled all of the amazing things my body has done. It was liberating to think of my body in a positive light, and to thank it for all of the amazing things it has accomplished, and I made up my mind then and there to stop hating on my own body. Now my journey has taken me to this place of internal cleansing, and getting rid of the hidden yuck as I’ve said.

I totally hijacked this balloon arch from a ladies conference at church.

What are the qualities that make a person beautiful on the inside? A person who is beautiful on the inside has love in their heart and shares that love with others, they have a joy inside that lifts others up, they have peace in their heart and make peace with others, they are longsuffering towards those who continually wrong them, they exhibit gentleness in their dealings with others, they always choose kindness, and they have these qualities because they have faith in God. These are the very qualities that Galatians 5:22 calls the fruits of the spirit. In my own power, I can’t consistently have any of those qualities. Today for example, I wanted to be mad at a lady who just didn’t show any kindness towards people who were trying to help her, but the Holy Spirit reminded me that I am forgiven, and I knew I couldn’t be angry with her. I had had a catching all the greenlights kind of day and this one person showed up at the end with her bad attitude; without the Holy Spirit’s prompting, I might have been irritated all evening and rehashing the incident with my people, but because I’m sensitive to the Holy Spirit, I was quickly able to recognize that I myself am forgiven, so why would I be mad over something so silly as a rude person. The journey of internal cleaning has caused me to be quicker at putting on the breaks when outside forces try to steal my joy. There are so many things that are beyond our control each day, and as Christians to keep our joy, we must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We will be a much more powerful example of the love of Jesus if we remember to have love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, kindness, and faith. Lets set our resolve to be all that God has created us to be and remember 2 Corinthians 5:21 “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Giving it to God

For the space I have, it seems like I have a lot of stuff. In fact, there is so much stuff that I don’t even know where to put it all. There is stuff behind stuff, and stuff on top of stuff, and it’s really quite overwhelming.

This book shelf in my “treehouse” is a prime example of the type of clutter I’ve let pile up. There are things on that shelf that I haven’t even looked at in years; things that honestly need to either be donated or thrown away. I think I even see a notebook from college (I graduated in 1997). The clutter up here is the very reason I don’t invite people into my treehouse very often. I love my treehouse and I’d love to sit and visit with friends up there, but this clutter is holding me back. Thankfully, deep cleaning is a work in progress and this bookshelf, and any other clutter in my home doesn’t have to stay like that; I just have to commit in my heart to take the time to do something about it, and make the room what I want it to be.

The same can be said about our relationships with God. When our hearts and minds are so full of clutter that we can’t even make room for Him, it’s time to commit in our hearts to do some deep internal cleansing. I pray and say, “I want more of You God”, but if I ‘m not willing to give Him my problems, to lay it all at His feet, if I’m still trying to work things out in my own strength, then my heart is just as cluttered as this messy bookshelf. In order to make room for God, we have to let go of our hidden yuck. Hidden yuck is simply the hidden things your are clinging to so tightly, like the hidden worry about your family or finances or health, whatever you are worrying about that consumes your thoughts and keeps you occupied; hidden insecurities that cripple you and prevent you from fulfilling your destiny because you listen to the wrong voices; hidden unforgiveness that you are holding onto because you are not ready to let go and move on from the pain; hidden sin in the form of that little something you do that you know God has convicted you about, but you just haven’t made yourself turn away from it yet. God wants you to trust Him with all of it so you can stop fighting battles, and just rest in His peace. Only then can you truly be open to hear God’s voice, and open to fulfilling your destiny.

This morning that bookshelf was a hot mess, but I committed in my heart that I would clean that one set of shelves today. I was tired when I came home, it has been a long week and I would have loved to have plopped down on the sofa and watch TV, but I remembered that I had committed in my heart to clean that set of shelves, so I drug myself upstairs and worked until it was done.

I threw some things away, I set some things aside to donate, and I sent the trophies and plaques that didn’t even belong to me out. My bookshelf was loaded down with things that didn’t even belong to me. This makes me wonder how much of my heart is loaded down with burdens that don’t belong to me. How many battles are you fighting because you aren’t willing to let go and trust God. When we give it to God, He fights our battles for us. I’m letting go of all the internal clutter; I’m giving it to God so He can fight my battles while I rest in His peace. Tomorrow I’m going to work on my treehouse some more, and God is going to help me continue with the process of deep cleaning me. What an exciting journey.

My Treehouse

This is my “treehouse”. Okay, it’s not really a treehouse, it’s a loft above our gameroom, but it’s my personal treehouse in that it offers an escape from the rest of the world. I come up here to write, to sew, to pray, to read, and sometimes just to sit in silence. I’m sharing a picture of my treehouse because it’s the perfect place to begin with hidden yuck.

This room is the only room up this flight of stairs; it’s tucked away and hidden, and I’m basically the only person who uses it. Anyone looking up this flight of stairs in passing sees what looks like a nice tidy room. Everything that can be seen from the bottom of the stairs looks clean and orderly, but anyone who walks up the stairs and into my treehouse need only to look to the right and to the back, to quickly spy some of the hidden yuck. I say some of the hidden yuck because there is hidden yuck behind the hidden yuck, things I’ve forgotten are even there. Because no one else uses this room, I don’t take much care in actually deep cleaning it.

Have you ever decided to deep clean and the more you cleaned, the more you realized how much hidden yuck there is? Behind every item there is dust and sometimes even a dead bug or two. Is it even worth the effort to deep clean? I mean who is ever going to see any deeper than what’s on the surface anyway? All that matters it that when people see your home is that it looks and smells clean; nobody is going to look in your closets or under your bed or behind your sofa right? The problem with just surface cleaning is that even if no one else is looking in those hidden places, you know there is hidden yuck and this hidden yuck affects how you feel about your place. When people come over, you say something like, “Please excuse the mess.” and they say, “What mess?” You know what mess and you fell self conscious about it, and in your mind, it devalues your place.

It’s the same with our person. We shower, comb our hair, brush our teeth, put on nice clothes, and maybe even some make up or perfume before we face the world. On the surface, we look fresh and clean, and when people see us they say, “Oh, you look so nice today.” Complements on our outward appearance are always nice, but if we have hidden yuck on the inside, that hidden yuck makes it difficult to see our own value.

Deep cleaning is hard, and it’s a never ending process, and if you don’t set your resolve, you may just give up and live with your mess, and never feel your true worth. Truly though, you are worth the effort, and I am worth the effort, so lets dive into the spiritual value of deep cleaning, of getting into the hidden places in our hearts and finding the hidden pain, the hidden lies we’ve believed, the hidden self doubt, the hidden sin, and any other hidden yuck that may be lurking deep inside making us feel we are not enough.

This is Me

People say God works in mysterious ways, and I’m here to tell you He really does. Recently I prayed and asked God to shake me and essentially clean me on the inside, and remove any hidden yuck. Oddly enough, God has used cleaning to speak to me about the importance of finding the hidden yuck, getting rid of it, and keeping it from infiltrating my life again. The idea of hidden yuck was sparked when my niece Soleil was little. She saw a man she didn’t want to be around, and she said to my brother, “He’s yucky Daddy.” Small children don’t make those judgments based on outward appearance; she saw the yuck that was on the inside. This phrase has stuck with me for years, and I often tell God that I don’t want to be yucky. God is continually working on me, and He is showing me the hidden yuck, and teaching me about deep cleaning. The purpose of this blog is to dive into the spiritual value of deep cleaning, of getting into the hidden places and finding the hidden pain, hidden lies, hidden self doubt, hidden sin, and any other hidden yuck that may be lurking deep inside making us feel like we’re are not enough.

Beginning The Dream

You name it and I have been there. Hot and cold, on and off, up and down, this is the story of my relationship with the Lord. It reads like a bad romance novel; one minute I’m madly in love praising and praying all day long, can’t wait to get in the word, telling everyone about my Jesus, and the next minute I’m letting my selfish nature take over forgetting all about my quiet time, losing the sincerity behind my praise, forgetting to pray for others, not even knowing where I left my Bible. No matter how many times I get distracted by lesser things (not bad things, just lesser things that eat up my time and attention) my Jesus ALWAYS loves me, forgives me, reminds me, and pulls me back into His presence. When I feel that love and forgiveness, and the welcoming arms of my Jesus, I ALWAYS tell Him how sorry I am for forgetting my first love, and that I won’t let anything distract my attention from Him again. I know I can’t do the things He has for me to do without Him, and this time I’m going to keep my eyes on Him. I’ll be better, and then I am, until I get distracted by life again.

So I found myself in this hot and cold cycle, and I was on the cold side for a long time. I stood in a prophetic conference and listened as the pastor said, “Look at these four things and determine which one you need.” I looked at the choices: 1. Create in me a clean heart, 2. Renew a right spirit, 3. Keep me in your presence, and 4. Renew the joy of my salvation. I needed all four because even though I’d been reading my Bible pretty regularly, and listening to Christian music almost exclusively (which at that point just seemed to be background noise), I was not feeling the love and joy that a Christian should be feeling, I was just going through the motions. I wasn’t about to stand for all four things because the pastor said pick one. I decided that if the joy of my salvation was restored, everything else would fall into place, so I sat as he prayed, “create in me a clean heart.” even though I desperately needed that reset. I continued to sit as he prayed, “renew a right spirit within me.” I just stubbornly sat there and waited for him to pray over people who needed God to restore the joy of their salvation like that was all I needed. Joy is a wonderful thing; it’s what protects new Christians and draws them closer to Jesus and makes them never want to let go, but I am not a new Christian. I’ve known the lord for forty years, and I’ve been hot then cold, on then off, up then down for all these years. Every time I get distracted by life, Jesus starts reminding me of who I am, so I set my eyes on Him, and I get that Jesus high, that feeling only He can give, that joy.

I love that feeling and I want it back. This time was different though. This time I prayed for that joy, that Jesus high, and nothing happened. In fact, I became particularly grumpy all week. It weighed on me all week that I’d somehow missed the baptism of joy that the pastor said was coming. I knew I was not alone, I knew that my Father is ALWAYS with me, working in me and through me, but that Jesus high was nowhere to be found, and I desperately wanted it. So I had a very brief conversation with the Lord about it, and as soon as I said something about the joy I longed for, He spoke the word OBEDIENCE to me. I’m always amazed by how God can say so much with one word.

OBEDIENCE: Read your Bible daily, get into the word, it’s how we know our Father more. I was working on a 365 day Bible reading that has turned into a two year process instead of a one year process. None of that matters now, it’s time to make it a daily priority.

OBEDIENCE: Make your quiet time, your time alone with God a priority. Set an alarm, make it happen. No one can do the Father’s work without talking to Him. He gave us free will, and He wants us to willingly spend time in His presence.

OBEDIENCE: Attend church regularly. Christians need each other because we are brothers and sisters, and we’ve all been on the cold side at times with a real need for encouragement. God has given me friends who love Jesus and I need them and more amazingly, they need me.

OBEDIENCE: Praise Him. Let go of your pride and lift your hands to Jesus, or fall on your face, or dance before the Lord. Just praise Him. Praise is our greatest weapon, and the pride that keeps us from praising our savior is our greatest weakness. There is a whole lot to be said for an attitude of gratitude. Praise Him in the small things and in the big. When you get the good parking spot say, “Thank you Father.” When you see a lost family member get saved, say, “Thank you Father.”

Great or small, He is in control of it ALL. Remember that, and be OBEDIENT because JOY IS COMING!!!