Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Night My Bathroom Floor Taught Me a Lesson

Today is probably the most transparent I will ever be with anyone outside of my family. I’m a fairly open person, but when it comes to my own failures, I'm basically like a steal trap. If you don't admit it, it's not really there right?

Anyway. I'm working on that. Back to my story.

Recently I allowed my bathroom floor to get really, really dirty. The worse it got, the more I put off cleaning it, knowing it would take me forever. There’s a rug in my bathroom floor, and I used to it cover up the dirtiest part of the floor so I wouldn’t have to see it, and just lived my life around it.

And then one day, as I was driving home from work with my windows down, a bug flew in my window and burrowed into my ear and began mixing up all the neurons in my brain, and suddenly I became a cleaning machine. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the cleaning bug found me!

I got home that night and tore apart my kitchen. I pulled every single thing out of my refrigerator, including the drawers and shelves. I washed and wiped and washed and wiped. I pulled up the top of the stove (thanks, honey), and cleaned beneath it, on the sides, and on top of it. I pulled out each of the burners and re-foiled the burner dish things that they sit in (again, thanks, honey). I cleaned the dishwasher, having learned how on a nifty blog I found. I washed and sanitized the counters and small appliances. And, I scrubbed the floor. Twice, in fact. And when I was done, I felt so good about how my kitchen looked.

The next night I was going to go to the gym with my husband, but I had to run some errands first. I found two pieces of clothing I was desperate for: a new black skirt (my current one looked like a cat had used it for a scratching post. And I do not own a cat.), and a dress for a wedding I was singing in. I then popped into my favorite shoe store and found TWO pairs of shoes that would go with my new dress, and some other pieces I already had at home. Jazzed about my purchases I went home, ready for the gym when I realized, I really should clean the bathroom tonight. The kitchen looked so good, and I just wanted that feeling of euphoria again. So I told my husband, “I’m staying home to clean the bathroom!” Knowing what a clean kitchen had done for me, he encouraged me to do what I needed to do.

So, in I went. I started with my dreaded task: The Floor. I went square by square on our ecru colored linoleum flooring with a steel wool and scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. I literally scrubbed my bathroom floor for over and hour. And then I washed it, twice. While on my aching knees scrubbing my woefully dirty floor, it hit me: Why is it that we allow things in our lives to get so filthy, so complicated, so gross before we do something about it? How come we cover up the things we aren’t proud of with “rugs” and try to ignore them? The lesson I learned that night was that the longer you wait, the harder it is to clean up the mess, the longer it takes, and the grosser you feel when you’re done. When we cover up our failures we make it harder for ourselves when we actually do decide to clean it up. It can be painful to strip away all those layers (just ask my knees) and often you lose something valuable in the process. After scrubbing my floor, I had to clip my fingernails off and they had just started to get pretty. Trivial in the grand scheme of things, but a good example none the less.

Maybe I was just scrubbing my floor, but I’m pretty sure I learned a valuable lesson too. I realized (again) that you have to keep cleaning the floor on a regular basis so that it doesn’t get to that awful place again. And that’s how life is. You have to keep dealing with our failures and mistakes as they come, and not cover them up or ignore them. Sooner or later they will somehow get uncovered and be there glaring at you, mocking you and making you feel the pain of failure all over again. Wouldn’t it be easier to just deal with it, correct the wrong, apologize, or forgive and release the grudge, so that you can experience healing and restoration? Isn’t it easier to clean up a little mess, rather than a huge one?

The Bible says that if we confess our sins, Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. You see, He wants to have an open and honest relationship with us, but he won’t force us to uncover our mess. He waits patiently for us to cover it, and then He can begin the process of healing us, and making us clean again. There’s a song I keep hearing on the radio called “Never Beyond Repair” by Everfound. My favorite line says “Grace meets you anywhere, and the mess of your heart is where Love’s gonna start.” How true is that? When we uncover our mess to Jesus, He doesn’t hesitate one bit, but instead He pours in His love, adds a little bit of grace to give it an extra umph and scrubs and scrubs and scrubs until our hearts are clean and sparkling. We are never beyond the reach of His grace.

And that is the story of how my bathroom floor reminded me to keep my heart clean.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Birthday Blessings

It's amazing what our hearts feel. Today my heart is full. Full of happiness, full of love, full of hope and promise for the future.

I am in love with the most amazing man God ever created. This man is my wonderful husband, my shepherd, my leader, my darling love. He leads me with his passion for God and the things of God. His servant's heart is my example and my guide. He loves me unconditionally and without bias. He forgives me when I'm wrong and makes sure I know he still loves me when I mess up. His soul bares a love for God and a faith that allows him to trust no matter what.

I was blessed with forever with this (im)perfect man on a warm day in April nearly two years ago, and I have felt the beauty if his love for more than three years.

August, 2009

Wading through the packed hallways of the arena that was host to National Youth Congress, I saw some friends I knew. I stopped and hugged them, and shook the hand of a tall handsome man that smiled a sweet smile at me. And the next night I sat in an empty chair, next to him. And in that moment I knew forever had just begun.

January, 2010

Four months later he was my fella and I was his girl.

April, 2011

Fourteen months after that I was his wifey, and he was my hubs.

And nearly two years later we have weathered poverty and plenty, pain and joy, disappointment and triumph, the dark and the light, all the while side by side, hand in hand.

In our lives and our work for God we stand for good, speak words of truth in love, and strive to interpret the dreams of our pastor who dares to dream big dreams for us.

We've come a long way in two years. And baby, if I had to do it over, I'd pick you every time.

This weekend we celebrated you, and for me, it was a celebration of how God has blessed me with you. What an incomplete person I would be without you, my love. You complete me. You make me better. You make us who we are. And I love you for it.

Happy birthday my love. :)