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July 16, 2008

“…God meets every real sacrifice of every child of His. We surrender all and accept poverty; and He sends wealth.  We renounce a rich field of service; He sends us a richer one than we had dared to dream of.  We give up all our cherished hopes, and die unto self; He sends us the life more abundant, and tingling joy.  And the crown of it all is our Jesus Christ.”

-C.G. Trumbull

A year ago, God told me to stop cleaning my house. I struggled so deeply with controlling my home environment and I knew the Lord was asking me to give it up completely. For me, cleaning is not a scrubbed bathroom or swept floors – it is a deep organization that penetrates every part of my home. Labeled bins, a few select toys (the rest given to Goodwill  when my in-laws left a pile of new things for my eager children), and zero clutter – it was the only way I could feel relaxed.

It was an obsession for me. I would reorganize my children’s closets every four weeks, allowing them only a few outfits each – exactly what they needed but no more. I didn’t want anything extra. My greatest thrill was to open our closets and see everything lined up perfectly.

I would spend my evenings “tidying” – ignoring Hugh until everything was put away. I couldn’t leave the house until everything was put away. I would start to feel lightheaded and anxious if too many things were out on the counters.

God had been gently speaking to me about this for years. Years. I would ignore His voice each time I stayed up late to clean, knowing it meant a tired Mommy day tomorrow. Finally, He spoke so clearly that I knew I had to give up having a clean and organized house.

That may sound really strange. But that is what God led me to do – to refocus on my family and to give up control of my house. I guess it’s one of the things I love most about the Holy Spirit – how individual and personal He is – calling me to specifically do something that He may not ask most people to do.

Once I let go of controlling my house, I realized that I had so much more time in my day to spend with my family. Instead of cleaning my children’s room several times a day, I cleaned them up once every few weeks and the rest of the time was spent enjoying my kids. Also, my husband was so much more relaxed – he could put down his work papers without me coming over and throwing them in. the. trash. because. they. messed. up. my. counters. AHHH!

But here is the really wonderful thing about my Jesus. Nine days ago, my in-laws took my children to their farm. My kids have been picking cherries, playing with the barn animals, and staying up late – having a wonderful time. During this time, Hugh and I decided to do some projects around our house. We have painted, decorated several rooms, and cleaned out every room. All of these things are things we have not had the time to do in almost seven years of being in our house.

My house has never been so clean, well-decorated, or as organized. Ever. I never thought it would look this nice – I thought that having a beautiful home was something I had to surrender permanently to God, without looking back.

I did put my desire for beauty and organization on the altar – but God worked out this whole amazing plan and now my house looks better than it has ever looked! New paint! A new office for me! New children’s rooms!

I feel like Jesus wrapped up this nine days and this project and handed it to me as a gift. And, it may seem like a small thing – but He alone knows how much it means to me that my house is organized and pretty and that I am ready for the new school year.

Everything I give to Him, He restores – every single time. Even these little details are important to Him. He is such a good Father to me.

Thank you, God, for my home. I am so grateful for a house and a family and, most of all, my relationship with you. You have been with me when I had nothing, God – my beautifully organized home is just nice icing. But, today, Lord, thanks for the icing! I love you so much, Jesus. Amen.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. sumijoti permalink
    July 16, 2008 10:53 pm

    Oh Jess, I just love you and I love your blog. You feel like a ‘sister of the heart’ to me.

    Yup, gotta love that icing on the cake! Jesus is sooooo faithful. I am so glad your house is nice and organised for the school year. 🙂

  2. hkudla permalink
    July 17, 2008 12:19 am

    I am so glad that you got the icing on the cake. Amen that He is such a wonderful father to us!

    I love your writing, I love your transparency. Thank you for being real, and when you see where you have been off, being real with that too. It is good to see you so redirecting your focus when it gets off… (a couple of posts back) It helps me to see that I am not the only one who’s focus gets off at times.
    Love you, and praying for you..

  3. July 17, 2008 3:55 pm

    Similar story here, friend. 🙂

    I keep not wanting to ask… but does the fact that the kiddos are with the in-laws mean you are not coming up this way?? 😦

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