Sunday, March 14, 2010

Cleaning up the Messes

"...for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Years ago, I listened on Christmas Eve as our beloved pastor spoke quietly in a darkened sanctuary. He began his message, "It was a mess. It was not a clean and tidy evening. It was a mess." He went on to describe what a barn birth must have been like.

Animals. Manger. Baby. Precious Baby.

I vividly remember that message, the way he began, "It was a mess." So often I feel like a mess. I rush and scurry, moving place to place and juggling the schedule of an active seven year old with the constant motion of an active three year old. Definitely do-able, but sometimes a mess.

I looked in my purse today to find a mess, receipts from grocery shopping, several penned notes needing to be mailed, stamps, my calendar and address book, dried out from a drop in a puddle as the snow melted, delicately scribbled with the artistry of the seven year old and the three year old. I thought briefly about tossing the address/date book in the garbage, the pages were stuck together, ink had run down the pages, nothing legible. It is worth keeping, but it is a mess.

I salvaged a coupon or two. I gathered up pens and batteries and savings cards. I replaced all the contents of my wallet, where they belong. I was busily cleaning up the mess.

And then I found it. A small notebook. In it were several pages filled with notes. One had pictures of Jesus turning water into wine, one had notes on love and forgiveness. One had the name Hannah written six or seven times and a heart with the words "for mommy". I did not recognize the little notebook. My mother must have handed it to the girls during church one Sunday. And amongst the mess, I discovered a precious treasure. Inside that messy purse was a golden nugget, a gift that I will keep to give our daughters. Definitely worth keeping!

My mother often says that there should be order in your sanctuary, where you spend your quiet time, there needs to be order. I have quiet time in our bedroom. But I glanced around the bedroom this evening to see the wall that was torn down over two years ago, still a mess. There was a laundry basket with some whites that needed to be folded, my laptop, a dog toy or two, a basket of bills...a mess. I could not do anything with the wall, so I accepted the thing I could not change and began to change the things I could. And as good as that felt, the reality is I still have the mess of my heart to clean up. SO many things worth keeping, but most certainly a mess. Like what God does with our hearts; we are worth keeping, but we come to Him a mess.

It is ongoing...that mess. Our hearts. We need to clean them daily. Searching them for broken pieces and proud moments, kneading them like clay and allowing God to work in them. Drywall and trashcans won't heal the messes of our hearts but the Word of the Lord will.

Come quiet time at night, I will be more committed to cleaning not just the physical space, but the cobwebs and muddy places in my heart.

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

Are there places in your heart God is just waiting to spring clean?


Michelle said...

You are the real deal, Heather, and I just love you for it!! You are a special woman and a special friend.


Sharon Sloan said...

Hello.....I have a HUGE bucket with Pine Sol, Clorox Wipes, etc that I just carry around with me. :)

Actually, I am just thankful for His Word that renews my mind and my heart. My heart needs daily renewing.

Thankful for friends who don't throw the baby (me) out with the bath water (my sin).

Thankful for friends who are "Merry Maids" team with me!

Love you,

Football & Fried Rice said...

Sage advice from your Momma! I love this post! I love the reminder that God will take us AS we come to Him - dirty, messy & full of sin! ANd He WILL create a new hear in us - all we need to do is be willing to SPRING CLEAN.

Perfect message, Heather - I have missed you.


Jodee Leader said...

I also love this post! I always feel like a complete mess too! It's time to spring clean the house and my heart!

Mom to 9 Blessings! said...


Beautiful post!

I can't thank God enough for taking us just as we are - banging up, bruised, a complete mess...all by His love and awesome power He makes us new. I praise Him that His mercies are new every morning and we get a fresh start. Thank You Jesus!

I loved hearing that your girls "rocked" out to El Shaddai. How precious! There is power in His names and the children are learning them right along with me and loving it.

Blessings sweet friend - we love you!

MacMui Mom said...

A beautiful post that I really needed tp read this morning especially after looking at the piles. Thanks for sharing in such an elegant way.

Lisa R

TanyaLea said...

Oh Heather,

I REALLY needed this post today. It was more of a 'devotion' of sorts, and filled with words of Wisdom and a reminder of His grace and unfailing love! The analogy you used here couldn't have fit my life more perfectly. My life is filled with little messes. When one is cleaned up, it doesn't take long to discover another that needs some tidying...and in some cases, a complete overhaul! I am just grateful that God takes us as we are, and that HIS mercies are NEW EVERY MORNING! He is Good!! <><

Blessings and Hugs,
~ Tanya

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