"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matt. 6:19-20
We returned home this past Thursday from a ski trip to New Mexico. The week before we went skiing, I was in North Carolina for the weekend visiting my sister and her new baby. I came home to a houseful of sick children and a rather sad and disturbing episode with one of our Longhorn cows that ended in her having to be put down. We spent the week with each person in the family eventually catching the stomach virus, and everyone (including my husband and myself) feeling miserable for a couple of days at a time. When I left for the Wholehearted Mothers conference that Friday, two children were still sick and the house looked like a tornado had struck! I was filled up and refreshed at the conference, however, which was much-needed! Upon my return Saturday evening, I had less than 10 hours to sleep and re-pack for myself and our 3 youngest children so we would be ready to leave early Sunday morning for our ski trip. Needless to say, our house was not the cleanest place when we left for our trip. I was just glad to have managed to pack in time and that everyone seemed to finally be healthy!
Upon our arrival home on Thursday, I determined that I was going to "disinfect" the house and get things back in order. The problem is that with 8 children, the farm, and the business of life and homeschooling, it can be difficult to feel like I accomplish much at all towards the goal of cleaning and organizing our home.
We moved to our little "ranch" 4.5 years ago, from a 3500 SF house into what was planned to eventually be our garage. This place is 1800 SF with very little storage/closet space. You realize when you remove the contents of a large home, place everything in storage and then try to cram it all into a home almost half the size just how much clutter you have! We thought we were getting rid of things when we moved out, but in reality, much of our stuff is still in boxes in the storage shed we built or in the new garage we built when we decided we would wait on building the "dream home." So, God has been teaching me a LOT about clutter and the hold it has on my life. Almost everywhere I turn, there is something I feel I need to clear out of our home and our lives to make things more peaceful. Clutter and messes are distracting, and I believe they can be used by Satan to defeat us in this life. Friday, while I was cleaning and disinfecting our house to rid us of the germs of our "sick week," I decided we were going to really dig into getting exess STUFF out of our home so we can focus and live more peacefully day by day. We cleaned out the girls' closet upstairs, and took out a whole slew of dolls and doll clothes that no one really plays with anymore. When we were finished, their closet was actually very neat and organized! I kept hearing these verses in my head:
"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith..." Hebrews 12:1-2
The clutter in our homes is so much like the clutter in our spiritual lives--sin and distractions that keep us from living a life focused on God. Cleaning my home and ridding it of the clutter and piles of unnecessary distractions has become almost a spiritual mission for me in light of this revelation this past weekend. I am not beating myself up over it, but I am praying that the Lord will help me be less of a hoarder and more of a GIVER, blessing others with the things I am holding onto that simply entangle and trap me instead of blessing our family. Likewise, I pray that God will help me rid myself of the clutter of comparisons, discontent, and self-focus that keep me from fixing my eyes on Him and living my life in Joy before my family.
We sang this familiar song in church yesterday, and it blessed me so much in keeping with these thoughts:
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace..."
May you have a Jesus-focused day!