Letting God clean up our Messes

It’s amazing how God uses our difficulties to teach us things.  I experienced this yet again a little over a year ago and wrote about it.  Just now posting……

April 2018-  My house has recently been inundated with cats- a momma cat who had kittens.

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I should preface this to say that I’m not a cat person, but most of my family is, so I’m having to deal.  We have them inside while the kittens are small and until we can have momma cat fixed.

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Since they are inside I am experiencing litter boxes for the first time.

I have gotten most of my cat information from online and I read that the box needs to be emptied about every week and the litter changed out.  

Saturday it had been a little over a week, so it was time for the big change.

We have a larger size litter box so the cat won’t make such a mess by scattering the litter everywhere.  I thought this was really smart until I went to empty it.

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I took it outside so the dust wouldn’t get everywhere.  I thought, I’ll just empty it into a trash bag and toss it in the big garbage can outside and be done.

Carefully I  worked half the litter box into the trash bag on the ground,  lifted the box and it smoothly dumped all the litter into the bag.  

Easy peasy! I thought this won’t be so bad….

I should really learn that when that thought comes to mind I should be extra careful because things are about to go wrong.

I started to pick up the trash bag and take it the 2-3 steps to the big garbage can to throw it away when I realized how heavy kitty litter actually can be.  

I picked up the bag easy enough, but lifting it over the half fence to put it in the garbage can was proving to be a little harder. I got it to the top of the fence.

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Ok, I thought, almost there. The bag was sitting on the ledge of the fence, but was spilling through the cracks and on the other side of the fence. I attempted to pick up one section and it created  a hole in the bag, causing a stream of litter to cascade to the ground.

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I said, “No, no ,no,no” like the bag was going to hear me and stop splitting open. I quickly covered the hole with my hand and stopped the flow of litter. This is when I knew I might be in trouble.

While covering the hole with one hand, I picked up the bag and pushed another overflowing side up and over the top of the fence.  This created another, bigger hole in the bag, causing another stream of litter to cascade to the ground.

I clapped my other hand over that hole, stopping the flow of litter, but now I was out of hands.

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This is the point where Lucy would be screaming for Ethel. 

The door to the house was closed and the only person downstairs had headphones on and could not of heard me if I yelled. I thought about texting someone inside, but I couldn’t let go of the bag or I would lose more litter and make a bigger mess.

So I just stood there,

outside,

leaning on the fence,

holding a bursting trash bag of used kitty litter with two hands,

attempting to not make a bigger mess.

 

As I stood there contemplating what I could do, I thought, the only option is to just let go and put the bag back on the ground and scoop it  inside another bag to stop the holes from leaking and support the rest of the bag so it would not break.

Moving it to the ground meant letting go and making a little mess so I could avoid a bigger mess.

Resigning myself to the mess that was about to be made, I took my hands off the of the holes and dropped the bag to the ground.

More litter did fall out, but once the bag was on the ground, it stopped.

I proceeded to get the torn bag into a new one and eventually got it in the big garbage can. I then cleaned up the mess that was made, washed out the kitty litter box and was drying it off when a family member stepped outside and asked if I needed help.

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I swallowed the urge to go off on that unsuspecting person and just said, “For future reference, use two garbage bags to empty the litter box.  

It wasn’t until later that day that I felt God metaphorically tap me on the  shoulder.

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“Remember this afternoon when you were trying to take care of the litter box all by yourself and you got stuck.  One hole, then two holes opening up and litter began pouring out? Did you think about how much easier it would have been if you had asked someone for help before you started?”

I truly felt like He said, “Can you see where I’m going with this?” and laughed.

Our lives can be like that. We try to handle a big problem on our own and things can start to fall apart.  Holes can come up in our lives where things start spilling out and we end up with a mess. The more we try to fix it ourselves, the bigger mess we can make.  When that happens and we see no way out, we have to lay it at the feet of Jesus and let Him help us through.

When I finally laid the torn bag down on the ground, the mess stopped. 

 When I laid the second, perfect bag, with no holes, on the ground to envelop the bag with holes to help get it to the trash can, it was a picture of  laying our problems down, our messes, at the feet of Jesus and allowing Him to take our mess and clean it up.  

He will envelop us, wrap His arms around us and our mess  and He can help us through them.

Yes there might still be a mess from where we tried to do it ourselves, but God can give us the patience we need to clean it up and make it through.

Holy Spirit in Me

Proverbs 4:23,” Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (NIV)

As I was reading my Jesus Always this morning, a particular sentence stood out to me.

“Since you belong to Me, My own Life flows through you!”

This is like one of those things that you’ve heard preached all your life, but then one day, it hits home with your heart.

That was me this morning.

As I thought about my day, my family, my struggles, it was if God leaned down and whispered in my ear,” Don’t forget, you have My Power flowing through you.  I’ve got you.  Let me be what comes out of you today.”

Wow. Just wow.  What more can I add?  Let God be what comes out of you today.

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Photo by Rachel Baskin Photography on Pexels.com

 

A drop of water

Who would have thought that I could hear from God while I brushed my teeth before bed?

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Sometimes it’s the little things  that make the most impact.

As I brushed my teeth, I looked down in the sink and saw a small piece of straw from who knows where in the sink.  I tried to kind of splash it away down the sink.  When I did, I noticed that it got caught in a drop of water.

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At that point I could no longer splash it away by itself.  It was so attached to the water droplet that it  could only be moved if the droplet moved.

To accomplish that, it took more water.

 

Ok, you are saying how in the world can a piece of straw and a drop of water teach a lesson?

Here’s what God reminded me of that night.

When we are stuck in a situation, sometimes it is hard see a way out of it.  It may feel like there is no solution or way to change what we are experiencing. I know for me, my first reaction is to try to change it myself.  I will rack my brain to try to come up with a way or a plan to make happen what I want to happen, or what I think needs to happen.

That is when, on more than one occasion, I tend to cement my feet to the floor.  But in doing this I am limited in my movement.  It also seems that when I do this, God is orchestrating it to where nothing I do or try seems to get the desired result.

Then when I am at the end of my rope from trying to figure it out on my own….

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Along comes God.

Like the water droplet in the bathroom sink, He comes along, attaches Himself to me (or so it seems.  He’s been there all along) and moves me in the direction He has for me to go.  I have to let go,  un-cement my feet and be willing to be moved.  Once I allow God to pick me up, it is so much easier to be moved.

It is also hard to remove the straw from the water droplet once it becomes attached.  Even if you do separate it, the straw is wet from being attached to the water.

And if the straw stays attached to the water for a long time, it becomes soft and pliable as it soaks in the water.

So it is with God.  The more time we spend attached to him, being surrounded by His presence, the more we look like or feel like Him.  We get wet with His presence.  The longer we stay in His presence, the easier it is for Him to mold us and take us where He has for us to go.

I pray I get good and wet with His presence.

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My own kind of Christmas.

As I scroll through my Facebook feed and see everyone’s Christmas time pictures, I struggle with feeling like my Christmas won’t measure up.

I don’t have a bunch of siblings and nieces and nephews that all get together and take pictures.

I don’t plan on cooking a big Christmas dinner with all the trimmings surrounded by a table full of relatives.

We don’t have a bunch of presents under our tree to be opened.

All of this can make one feel lacking.

Until I realize what I do have.

I have a family that loves me. A husband and 2 adult children who love me and will be here for the holidays.

A wonderful sister and her husband who I will see later today.

I have a dad nearby with whom I will be blessed to spend the next few days with.

I have a wonderful bunch of aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews, who I will miss seeing this Christmas.

I have an awesome family-in-love who, even though I will not see this season, I’m so blessed to be part of their family for over 30 years.

I have a mom, dad-in-law, aunts and uncles, and all my grandparents who will be spending this Christmas with my Savior.

And above all- most importantly- I have a Savior- Jesus Christ- who makes this season possible- who is the Reason for this season.

I am blessed.

Merry Christmas!

Thanks for giving …

There are so many reasons to give thanks. As I scrolled through Facebook this morning, I saw my own generic “Happy Thanksgiving ” along with so many others similar greetings. I’m sure all were as heartfelt as mine was.

Then I looked at the word Thanksgiving.

Thanks

Giving

Thanks for giving….

Then I began to ponder….

Am I really thankful, or do I complain about what I don’t have?

Am I really thankful, or do I look at others lives with envy?

Am I really thankful, or am I more focused on my shortcomings than on the gifts God gave me?

Do I assume that I’ll have tomorrow and forget to be thankful for today?

Even after the loss of my mom, do I still live like I’ll have my family and friends tomorrow to tell them how thankful I am for them?

Do I take my salvation for granted and forget the price that was paid for me?

Dear Precious Father, help me to be truly thankful today for every one and every thing you have blessed me with in my life.

Getting Older

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As I continue to lose loved ones and friends from my parents’ generation, I slowly realize that I am getting close to being the older generation, and in some instances, I’m already there.

 

Getting older is not for the faint of heart.  There are things that you lose and things that you gain physically that make it hard to recognize the person in the mirror every morning.

Wrinkles, dry skin where it used to be oily, love handles and sometimes really big love handles on parts of your body that really shouldn’t have handles.

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Getting old is hard on your body… and mind.

Things get forgotten that you once remembered without trying.

Names get lost in what is left of your mind.

It gets harder to remember lists or why you walked into a room, or where you left your keys or phone, or glasses, or what you needed from the store that you didn’t write  down because you would remember. (This list gets longer as I remember things….get it?….as I remember…..)

 

People also expect you to know and have experienced everything in history.  Kids will ask you, “Were there dinosaurs around when you were born?”  Some young people will come to you for wisdom just because of your age.  Age does tend to make us wiser, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have wisdom.

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Getting old is also hard on your heart.  Yes, your physical heart, but also your emotional heart.  Seeing loved ones go through hard times.  Death taking grandparents, parents, friends, and something even children.  The pain that one endures takes a toll on your heart.

 

I could go on about the downfalls of ageing.

But there are some advantages to getting older.

 

When you body physically can’t do what it used to do, you can get away with asking people for help and actually getting it. Some people will allow you to go first or give you their seat if you are older.  At least that’s how I was raised.  And there are a few young people still out there like that.  You will never have to carry a heavy box or package again, as long as there is someone younger around.   Young people will believe  you when you say, ”I’m just too tired to do that right now.”

 

Another benefit is the experience you gain and the lessons you learned.  As a Christian, the lessons the Lord has taught me through my 52+ years are invaluable and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

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God has taught me patience when waiting for an answer from Him.  (Something I learned a long time ago not to ask for – patience. God tends to help you learn it by having you endure something that requires it.  So- yeah- not asking for that again).

God has taught me compassion.  Helping a friend in need or being in need myself and being helped by someone has taught me to have compassion.  I grew up going to funerals of every distant relative who died.  So I was used to them when I started losing my grandparents.  My husband first attending a funeral with me when my grandmother passed away.  He had not been to many since then and never really understood the importance of attending the visitation before the funeral.  When my mom died, the number of people and friends who came to visitation and the funeral really surprised him and meant so much more to him than he ever would have imagined.  Since then, he has really learned the value of those brief moments spent with someone at a funeral home as they lay their love ones to rest.    My husband has always been compassionate, but God used this to take his compassion to a whole new level, and He has reminded me to show compassion to those who are in need.

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God has taught me to love. His love for me is the greatest example of how to love- especially someone who is hard to love.  I recall a conversation I shared just a few days ago with a former student as we ooed and awed ov

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er her newborn.  I told her when I was expecting my first child, I wondered about the love of a mother.  When would I get it?  Is it something I have to learn and practice?  But the minute I heard the cries of my baby girl, a love washed over me that no one can explain.  Then , having experienced that love and the magnitude of it, I was concerned about having another child.  How could I possibly have this much love for another child?  Where would I take it from?  But God, (I love that phrase) in His infinite wisdom and grace, showed me.  The minute I found out I was expecting again, that wave of love was there for that little child growing inside me.   My love instantly multiplied; it multiplied enough for both of my children.

 

I could go on about everything that God has taught me, but then this would be really long and you would have stopped reading by now. 🙂

 

It’s Been Awhile…..

I set out on this journey with the mindset that I would not let this become a diary of sorts.  I wanted this to be a place where I shared what God was doing or speaking into my life that I felt would benefit those who read it.  (Trying to stick to Ephesians 4:29 here…)

The reason that I have not posted in a while is not that God has not been working in my life.  The honest truth is that it is one of those times where He is working, but I don’t like it.

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It’s not fun.

There are no warm fuzzies to share and make you feel all good inside.

Life has been good, but not easy.

I know by this point some are thinking, or maybe even saying out loud, “So what’s been happening?”

Well, honestly, that is between me and God.  My bet is that someone just thought to themselves, so why are you writing this?

My firm belief is that God can teach us just as much and probably more during the hard times of our lives.  Not the kind of hard times that end up like the end of a Hallmark movie.

But the hard times that when you are going through them they are just kind of messy.

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A yucky, not good feeling that leaves me asking God, “Ok when are we going to get through this?”

I hope one day, the other side of Heaven, to better understand God’s timing.

There has been more than one occasion lately that I felt I had moved out of the “yucky” time.  Finally, I would think, the weight is lifted. I am able to move past this and move on.  Until I was thrust back under another wave of heaviness.

The song with the line, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” just popped into my head.

Wonder who did that?(insert smirk on face here)

God is so good.  He loves me despite myself.  He loves me enough to have me go through the yuck to come out the other side, hopefully, a little closer to what He wants me to become.

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If you are going through a yucky time in your life, hang in there my friend.

God has a plan.  Even for a time such as this.

So cling to Him and He will see you through.

He promises.

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