Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Squeaky Clean

Yes, it's officially Spring, and you know what that means, of course. No, I'm not thinking of baseball, birds in their nests, or warm weather right around the corner. I'm talkin' about Spring Cleaning! That's when we knot a kerchief around our hair, tie an apron around our waist, and carry the a feather duster like a torch in our right hand. Wait ... that's a past generation I'm thinking of. Lucille Ball, June Cleaver, and their friends.

But that's the kind of deep-cleaning I need to do this year, sans the kerchief and apron. We want to get the house on the market by the end of this month. Time is scampering away from us like a two-year-old trying to escape their mother's clutch at bedtime.

Yesterday I spent most of my energy whipping the house into shape. With just John and me living in it, it really doesn't get too out-of-control. But I'd been sick over the weekend and a few things needed my attention. Plus, I don't usually clean with Q-tips. A feather duster, maybe, but not their Mini Me cousin, the Q-tip.

I know those cute little things were designed to clean the outer aspects of my ear, but I must confess I love to dig a little deeper. There's something so satisfying about being able to reach an itch that's just beyond where the tip of my pinkie will reach. Those swabs got a big workout yesterday, as I used them to clean the tracks in our sliding windows, reach into small corners and dig out accumulated dirt, as well as to scratch inside my ear. I even dug out the putty knife to remove extra caulk and plaster around some of the windows. Things I should have done three years ago when we passed our final inspection.

Why is it I've waited until some stranger is going to buy the house before tending to the little details that make it perfect? When we moved here, I told myself I would always keep it in ready-to-sell condition. But my human-ness crept in and here I am doing the nitty-gritty cleaning for someone else to enjoy. I'm sure there's more I could say about this phenomenon, but if you'll excuse me, I've got an itchy ear to attend to!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

When the Roof Caves In

Have you ever been through a major building project or remodel at your home? You know, it always takes longer than estimated and something unexpected is sure to happen along the way. One wrong move and the whole structure of the house is changed, leading to cracked walls and a falling ceiling. The same thing can happen in our personal lives. So, what do you do when life as you know it takes a U-turn? When you’re hit in the gut with devastating news that impacts every aspect of your existence?

During the past month I’ve had to deal with these questions. I’ve gone to places and feelings that I never dreamed would be part of my life.

My initial reaction was to cling. To cling to the Loving Heavenly Father with Whom I’ve developed a relationship and deep trust through the past decades. It’s been a time of realizing that though the circumstances of life are changing in ways I wouldn’t have chosen, the Giver of Life remains the same. God is good all the time. All the time, God is good. I remembered that this incident didn’t take Him by surprise. That there are lessons He desires me to learn as I walk through it, and character traits He wants to develop. The worst thing I can do is to waste this experience—to be the same a year from now as I was before the roof caved in.

I don’t know what challenge you’re facing right now, but know that you don’t have to go through it alone. Cling to the Lord and remember His promises. Turn to Christian friends for prayer and support. Be honest about how you feel. Expect to hurt, but also expect to grow. Accept the peace God offers. And remember He is the one who can put your house back together, even when shingles blow off and beams collapse.

“God will strengthen you with His own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient.” Colossians 1:11