Sometimes life just pulls us off our intended path providing time to take care of things we’ve procrastinated about for too long like the old saying says, “Get our ducks in a row.” I was in the writing mode, thoughts and ideas were perking like before Keurigs. Then one afternoon, while out planting a couple of rosemary plants, I dislocated my thumb, rupturing a ligament. MRI, surgery, cast, brace, therapy – on my right hand. Really? A gardening injury??
If you’ve ever been unable to use your thumb, you know its vital importance. Eating, cutting food, buttoning pants, doing hair, tying shoes, putting on mascara with the wrong hand, writing – just to name a few things which are thumb-centric. Because of this incidence, I’ve added to my thankful list; my thumb, stretchy waist pants, naturally straight hair, flip-flops, and Glad Press and Seal (for keeping it dry and covering the stink after a few weeks! Ew!)
I got a bright yellow/neon cast the day before leaving for Walt Disney World where I was meeting my sister. We were going to the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot, THE “happiest place on earth,” and I was going to get Disney characters to sign my cast. I could deal with this!
Immediately after my return, we began remodeling two bathrooms – one being the master bath and closet. We have been in our home for over 25 years, and it was way overdue. I mean mauve overdue. If you’ve ever replaced the tile or remodeled, you know the mess that’s created. Our bedroom looks ghostly due to the fine white layer of dust covering everything. Furniture, which I covered with plastic, has thick, white dust, formerly unseen spiderwebs hang around the windows, and powdery footsteps are all over the house. All very similar to Disney’s Tower of Terror. No amount of filter changing, fans, or closed doors and drawers can prevent the dusty powder from seeping into every crack and cranny. And of course, one new problem after another is being discovered, requiring more time and mess.
Selecting tile, granite, quartz, paint, toilet, tub, fixtures, faucets, etc. was time-consuming but nothing compared to the emptying of the closets and cabinets before the remodel could even begin. Still in a cast, Gary and I tackled 25 plus years of stuff pushed back into corners behind clothes that would never be worn again; Gary’s first set of golf clubs (from high school?!), our daughters’ full-size baby bed, ski clothes and boots at least 27 years old, my cedar chest, and suitcases. All of this had to be moved out which required me to empty TWO other closets! I donated at least ten black leaf bags full of clothes and household items to Arms of Hope (armsofhope.org) and probably threw away just as much.
Because of these interruptions, my writing and mosaics have temporarily been put on the back burner allowing me the opportunity to clean out the closets that I’ve put off for years. Now, I look forward to moving our things back into the master closet after the remodel because what remains is good and useful. And the other closets will be neat as well! I feel clean after the de-cluttering; refreshed after removing years of useless stuff that was just gathering dust and taking up space. My ducks are lining up!
In many ways, dealing with our personal history is like this. Baggage that sits gathering dust and taking up space in a dark spot is easy to trip over. But such relief and freedom come when it’s pulled out of the closet, brought into the light for a good look, and dealt with in the arena of God’s grace and mercy. He already knows what’s there. Why wait to get tripped up again?
God wants to redeem, make up for, replace, every one of our hurts, failures, and mistakes because of his overwhelming love for us. He wants to show us how He works good for us – especially through the terrible, ugly, pain-inducing episodes of our lives. He only sent Jesus to die to save us completely. Hebrews 7:25
Isaiah 61:3 says “He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, and praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”
If you have found yourself tripping up over and over, maybe it’s time to de-clutter, deal with your baggage and get your ducks in a row. Purge your past, bring into the light any guilt, shame, or anger and especially anything that assaults your worth and value. If you need to ask God’s forgiveness, do it, accept it and quit reminding God by bringing it up again and again. If you need to forgive someone for hurting you, do it – over and over until it’s true – God will deal with them. Romans 12:19, God says, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” Just remember same goes for you!
Free resources are available through many churches and nonprofits. You can talk to a counselor, join a support group, you can write your story down and burn it, or ask a trusted friend to pray for you to surrender and find healing, once and for all.
Don’t wait to take this opportunity! Allow our good, good Father to replace your hurts so you can live joyfully for Him!