Tents of glory…

WARNING. READER DISCRETION ADVISED: The following, while humorous in overall nature, contains gross details that may be too nauseating for those who have weak stomachs or haven’t spent a lot of time with children.

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This past week, my family took on a nasty stomach bug.  It started with the youngest and worked it’s way all the way up…(sparing one). Mid-week, when we experienced the height of the germ’s ambush, we were awakened in the middle of the night by calls for  “Momma”.   Upon our arrival, we found someone’s dinner had made it’s way all the way up.

The scene was impressive…like, “Oh my goodness, I can’t even imagine how it got under the bed,” kind of impressive.  It was prize-winning, physics-defying, terror-inducing work.  Well done, germ.  Well done.

Having a virus like this strike is never fun or convenient.  However, dealing with this kind of illness when you’ve got your house on the market–puts on a whole extra layer of crazy.  (Second least desirable time to catch a bug like this is when your whole family is in a friend’s wedding party, the day of the wedding…Been there.  Done that.)

All the extra sheets: packed.  All the old extra towels: packed.  All the bedroom trashcans: garage.  In fact, the closets had been so stripped of “non-necessities”, that some things had been discretely stored…

Under the bed.

I pulled out pop-up tents that had been stuffed under the bed and were now drenched and sticky.  (Yes, I went there.)  Seeing as it was the middle of the night, and there was much carpet to be scrubbed, I made a nighttime-dazed still-in-awe-of-mere-physics decision influenced by the soon-to-be-moving “purge-it-all” phenomenon.  I walked the tents straight out the back door to the trash.  No hose.  No Lysol. No nothin’.  I simply didn’t have it in me.

On went the indoor cleaning and purging (so to speak) until the alarm would have normally sounded for school.

And the week continued, as up the Goeke line the virus took on it’s victims.

The trash came.  The trash went.

Finally on Saturday, the last child was recovering.  Thankfully, the kids and I didn’t have any plans, except to maybe check out our neighborhood’s annual community-wide garage sale.  The house smelled of air-purifying essential oils (mixed with Lysol and Clorox bleach.)  We set out to have a Toy Story 1,2, and 3 marathon while I folded every sheet and towel from every bed and closet that had passed through the hottest setting on the washing machine.

My husband was driving down our street to head to a funeral when he texted me:

Our stack of tents…for sale…a few houses down.

I was tempted to walk down the street with a can of Lysol, and without saying a word just start spraying at random.  But I didn’t have it me.

I was tempted to send one of the kids down there, wait for a large group of potential buyers, and have them laugh loudly and proclaim, “Hey, my little brother puked all over those tents the other night!”  But I didn’t have it in me.

I figured I’d just have to trust the good Lord with this one.

Now, you may be thinking:

that’s gross…she should have cleaned it before putting in the trash…

that’s gross…I hope those people cleaned the tents before they sold them…

that’s gross…those neighbors had it coming to them for stealing someone’s trash and then turning around and selling it down the street…

that’s gross…she should have told them…she should have fixed it…

You’re right.  It is gross.  And I agree, someone should have fixed it.  But it was NOT going to be me.

Even more foul and unbearable for me to think about is someone else cleaning those tents.  After all, I was the mom…and I didn’t even have it in me to clean what was mine, what I had at one time spent good money on, that had been soiled by my own flesh and blood.  I can’t imagine someone cleaning a complete stranger’s vomit off of something in which they had put little to no investment.

And what about the person who bought the tents?  They spent hard earned cash on throw-up trash.  Did they get it home and clean it?  Or did they show off their bargain buy still riddled with funk?

In the middle of the night–I didn’t have it in me.   In the middle of Toy Story 2–I didn’t have it in me.  Right now, as I type…I will never have it in me.

When sin and pride go on a brutal rampage in the wee hours of the night, taking me as their victim, I am left dirty, soiled, and ready for disposal.  I don’t have it in me to wash myself…I can’t.  None of us can.  I can even be determined in these moments to stay filthy, to only share word of my failure, to define myself as mere trash, to consider all my value lost.

This is what we do, right?  Especially those of us ‘mommy-bloggers’ who boast about our failures, weaknesses, and screaming matches with our children.

We want to be real about our vulgarity and mayhem, our fatigue and our tragedy, but we are not doing anyone a favor by selling ourselves still covered in the vomit of life.Tweet: Only sharing our vulgarity & mayhem, our fatigue & tragedy doesn't help. We r selling ourselves still covered in the vomit of life. #blogger

Someone wants me.

Someone wants you.

Even when we are covered in our worst, He’s ready to take us, to steal us, to take captive our hearts.

However, He washes us.  He renews us.  He cleans us up and makes us whole.  He restores our value…and then some.  Why?  Because He is invested in us.  He’s all in.

It’s amazing because it is a gross thing He does…it’s not His vomit.  He does the thing we can’t.  He does the impossible.Tweet: It's amazing because it is a gross thing He does. It's not HIS vomit.  He does the cleaning we can't.  He does the impossible. #glorytents

And He doesn’t just stop there.  He gets us ready to show.

He wants us to tell our whole stories: the sin we are symptomatic of AND the forgiveness and redemption we gain by His love.Tweet: He wants us to tell our whole stories:the sin we r symptomatic of AND the forgiveness & redemption we gain by His love. #blogger #glorytents

He didn’t do the gross job of removing our grime so that we can deem being a “hot mess” socially acceptable and repeatedly vomit on ourselves over and over, day after day.  He wants us to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,” and tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1).  He asks us to move forward, to desire better, and (perhaps the trickiest of all) to trust Him to do it.  He asks us to use our rags-to-riches stories as a display of His glory…as a part of His treasure.

He pulls us out into the driveway, redeemed and smelling fresh, and proudly stands next to us, claims us as His own, and then encourages us to offer our renewed selves to be tents that house His glory.

Let Him clean you up.  Let Him breath a purifying wind upon you.  Let Him tell the whole story through you…your pain AND your healing.

Let’s be fresh tents of glory.

 

Breaking the Silence…

What better time to end my hiatus than Easter?  Easter: A rising from the dead…a coming out of hiding…a great return…a breaking of the silence.

Silence…?

My short time away from my computer-key-therapy was spent in busyness and mayhem.  I’ve been sorting, packing, and cleaning in order to get our house on the market.  Our desire is to move closer to our church community and family.  This, however, requires the kids to switch schools, yet again, and with that, comes all kinds of thoughts to process and forms to fill out.  All of these decisions required a stepping away so that I could be intentionally focused on the choices and tasks at hand.

So here I am.  Struggling to keep the house clean while on the market, still two months left of this school year, and the calendar steadily filling with weddings, graduations, and celebrations of all kinds.  I almost feel premature in my return.  Soon (hopefully), I will have to pack more boxes, make some out-of-town trips, and in general, be too busy for my own good.  I might find myself stepping back once again, in need of another break, in need of some silence.

But what better time to break silence than Easter?

Have you ever thought about silence?  Have you ever been quiet enough to truly experience it?  And then when your words have stopped, have you ever been still enough that your thoughts stop?

Me either.  

When I try to be silent, other sounds intrude…it’s never completely silent:

Distant birds chirping.

Cars humming two streets over.

The dog’s breathing gaining weight as she falls asleep under my desk.

Dang, I forgot to start the crockpot…

I wonder if the realtor will call today…

I really should get a hair cut.

The silence is never completely silent…unless your lying breathless in a tomb. Tweet: The silence is never completely silent, unless your lying breathless in a tomb. #EASTER #BreakingTheSilence

When I consider my return to blogging, my breaking of silence…I know nothing of the topic.  I not only wonder if this is the right time to start writing again, but I also question if I’ve even taken a true break.  If I’m honest, I don’t know true quiet, true rest…because even in my portrayed absence, I’m still busy.  Again, if I’m honest,  I don’t know true sacrifice, true death, or true breathlessness.  I’m always clinging to self-interests, comforts, or lung-filled gasps for control.

Perhaps I don’t know true silence, because I don’t know how to truly surrender.Tweet: Perhaps I don't know true silence, because I don't know how to truly surrender. #EASTER #BreakingTheSilence

Jesus, while seemingly absent as His body lay in that tomb, was hard at work.  He was waging a war.  He was busy going to the place of mayhem, defeating death, conquering sin, paying off the debt of mankind.  His hiatus wasn’t a vacation.  His purposeful silence redefines the understanding of my own rest.

His silence had motive.  His stillness acted in extremes.  His body slumped over, but His Spirit ran into battle.Tweet: His silence had motive. His stillness acted in extremes. His body slumped over, but His Spirit ran into battle. #EASTER #BreakingTheSilence

Perhaps, I need apply a new silence to my lips, or to my keyboard.  One that requires a laying down of my own comforts and opinions.  One that only speaks through actions of sacrifice and words of mercy.

As I come back from my blogging hiatus, I consider how Jesus broke His silence.  The earth shook and He appeared to many, making sure they knew the only news that mattered: they were loved and redeemed.

At first, my own breaking of silence seems pretty insignificant compared to all that Jesus has accomplished.  (Plus, His ground-shaking-bit…no one will even notice when I’m back!)

But, I see that His breaking of silence tells me all I need to know about re-engaing my own voice:Tweet: His breaking of silence tells me all I need to know about re-engaing my own voice. #EASTER #BreakingTheSilence

He loves me. (John 3:16) (Romans 8:35)

He has won me. (1 Corinthians 6:11) (1 Corinthians 6:20)

He has equipped me. (2 Corinthians 3:5) (Ephesians 1:3)

He has empowered me. (Ephesians 1:19) (Ephesians 6:10) (Romans 8:37)

He has sent me. (Matthew 5:13-14) (Matthew 28:19) (John 13:34-35) (2 Corinthians 5:20)

What better way to break silence than with the example of Jesus’s own ground-shattering return from the quiet tomb…to proclaim the only news that really matters.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” 

Galatians 2:20