Friday, January 29, 2010

Dust Bunnies

If you sweep my floor more than once with any attention to detail, you will notice that my larger than life dust bunnies accumulate in the same spaces continually. I know the secret spots they use to hide from my broom waiting to introduce themselves to any visitors that stop in for a minute. A quick sweep will get the most noticeable fur and the random clumps of play dough under the table. But a much deeper cleaning reveals these dust bunnies…no, more like dust monsters. Four years of sweeping the same house has offered me the chance to notice how they seem to tuck away under end tables and behind doorways repeatedly.

Once, a few weeks ago, I shared my observations about these dust monsters. He looked up from his iphone and said, “Thanks for telling me. Now I know where to look when I sweep next”. Back to the iphone he went.

His remarks got me thinking. Now, each time I defend my home against the attack of the dust demons, I think about how we tend to have things tucked away in our hearts and minds that require frequent removal too. In Hebrews, the writer says we should have a “sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed pure as snow”. (10:22) Similar to the corner behind my couch, sometimes we have sins that are easily hidden unless deep cleaning comes our way. During prayer, a quick rundown of our struggles gets rid of the careless remarks we made to the husband or the moments of irritation we had with the kids.

Ideally, frequent maintenance of our dust bunny collection, both in our homes and our hearts, is the best. However, sometimes we need more. Sometimes, we need to drag out the 12-vortex-power-with-no-loss-of-suction vacuum cleaner to find the bigger, meaner, dust monsters that a simple sweep won’t collect. For me, that overwhelming feeling I get is the signal for me to hang up the broom and take advantage of the afternoon nap hours in a more “eternal way”. When the dust bunnies in my heart grow to monstrous size, all has to stop in order for my defense to be accurate and complete. Usually, it requires some alone time with God and confession to a trusted friend.

My husband now knows where to look to find the toughest dust monsters in our house. To me, that’s powerful knowledge. It’s also powerful knowledge to know where the dust collects in our hearts and minds. Right now, my dust monsters hide behind the large couch called “pride” and inside the closet door called “too busy.” A rotten attitude and impatience with everyone are signs that my corners need a thorough cleaning. Sometimes our dust monsters get so big and serious, we need to allow time for deep cleaning

Where do the dust bunnies collect in your home? Where do they try to linger in your heart? What signs that reveal it’s time for a deep cleaning in your heart?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Promise of a Return

**This is an article from last spring. Forgot to post it.

Last fall, my husband brought home a sack full of bulbs to add to the tagless bunch someone else left on my front porch. Knowing that my gardening skills are definitely below par, I obediently hid my little onion looking treasures barely beneath the surface of the soil on either side of my porch- just as my instincts told me. I wasn’t sure how deep or far apart to dive my stout bulbs, so I guessed and hoped. (Don’t forget, I’m just following the guts of a gardening failure since my unidentifiable bulbs arrived without so much as a picture!)

During the last few weeks of a wet and mushy winter, I could tell spring was coming and my anticipation of my science experiment working began to build. I was forced to endure a bit longer to greet my little unknowns and learn if I had hidden this summer’s onion crop or a lovely bunch of colorful flowers of some sort. My daily check-in turned into a weekly glance and my excitement turned into boredom. I began to question my belief that such a ruddy looking thing could turn into something so brilliant.

Then one day, I saw it. I located the tiniest little bud of my still unidentifiable plant life breaking through the surface of the soil and pushing past the mulch. It was actually working! I couldn’t believe it.

Each spring reveals the hidden growth that occurred during the cold of winter. The warm and hydrating days allow concealed strengths to become apparent. I love anticipating the promise of a return of spring and little bulbs each year. I get excited when I see my annuals doubling in size while they dormantly slept veiled by winter. They sprout up stronger and broader each time they are allowed to rest and renew.

Just like my unidentifiable bulbs, we too can trust that God will reveal himself in us in due time. We can cling to the promise that he will protect and allow growth to occur during times of hiding or hardships. We can believe that a renewal is coming because we know what lies beneath the surface of our hearts. And since we are familiar with the good gardener, we can anticipate growth and beauty in ways we can’t imagine.

Renewal can be seen so clearly all across the Bible. In the Old Testament, David prayed for a heart renewal when he said, “Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10) and then thanked God when he wrote, “You send forth your Spirit…and renew the face of the earth.” (Ps.104:30) Isaiah recognized God’s make-over abilities when he wrote, “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength” (Is.40:31) And finally, my favorite renewing promise, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away...Behold, I make all things new.” (Rev.21:3-5)

So can that ruddy looking thing turn into something so brilliant and beautiful in us as well as my front flowerbed? Yes, with faith and in time, our “good gardener” is trustworthy and able. He has promised to renew us make all things new! Keep waiting. Keep resting and growing in your winter season. Keep clinging to the promise of renewal and replenishment. Soon, the time is coming when God will pull your buds through too and he will make all things new!

Rest is good.
Replenishment is good.
Renewal is good.
And a promise of a return is more than good.