I don’t like clutter. And this is the time of year I take on my closet. I can be ruthless. (And I’m available for hire.) If it hasn’t been worn in one year, it gets donated, no matter how nice it is or expensive it was.
While knee deep in a pile, there it was… a glint of metal under a retired purse. Dang… the lost mailbox key. What a hassle it had been to replace it. More than the hassle, my heart sank as I recalled the ugly scene. Ian took the brunt of my anger and I showed no grace or understanding. “Why don’t you return it to the drawer,” I shouted indignantly. Of course he was to blame. And without short-term memory, he had no defense. Now, months later, feeling disgrace for myself and heavy remorse, I carried on with my project.
Then, back in an unreachable corner, only accessible with a ladder, I re-evaluated some dusty jeans that had apparently dodged my scrutiny from previous closet sessions. Clearly they were old, never been worn, but old. I shook them out, admired them, remembered their pricey purchase and felt the pang of disappointment. These jeans were the harsh reminder that I was just too fat I tell myself without kindness or empathy while adding them to the pile.
Get rid of it all
Finally, energized by shame, my pace quickened. I just want to be done. I want to get rid of the pile, spiff up the closet and move on. Most of all, I’ll need to clean up these messy emotions. I’m good at that I remind myself.
Then, on the final small shelf, I spot a small green beedy-eyed frog. I don’t recall who gave it to me, but I remember distinctly it’s intent. The FROG was to remind me to Fully Rely On God. It stopped me in my tracks. Can’t I even clean out a closet on my own I wonder, somewhat annoyed with wet eyes.
Thankful to be alone with time to gather myself, I wondered where the heck this was coming from. How is it possible that a mailbox key, some unworn jeans and a stupid beady frog could unravel me as they had? I felt just awful. Alone, shameful, weak and awful. Tempted to make some indulgent chocolate chip cookies, I didn’t. I went to my chair with a cup of tea and my favorite bible.
Hebrews 4:13 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight”
Does the truth that God knows everything in the deepest darkest crevices of your heart and mind unnerve you like it does me? There is no spiffing up ourselves before a holy God.
Consider your closest relationships… your sister, your spouse or your oldest-best girlfriend. What if they knew what God knows? Would they still love you? It begs the question, doesn’t it? As wonderful as they may be, they’re human.
God loves me perfectly even when I’m a bad mother who can no longer wear cute jeans. God loves me when I march off without Him thinking I’m capable and pridefully showing off my worth apart from Him.
When we’re in relationship with Jesus, at times He gets up close and uncomfortably personal for His purposes. He gets in our face to show us things — all because He loves us and wants the best for us.
What a relief!
But He doesn’t just point out the yuck. He offers what is needed for complete restoration. Grace, forgiveness, mercy, love, patience, kindness and more. It can feel uncomfortable to be known so intimately. But what a relief!
Is there a closet in your life that you’ve neglected? A relationship that needs tending or a conversation you’ve avoided? Is there a habit you’re embarrassed by or a dark secret that hasn’t seen the light? Don’t let any of them accumulate dust just because they are hard to face.
We’ve got an up close and personal Savior who sees, knows and loves us too much to let things fall into dis-repair. He notices what we can’t and offers real supernatural remedies for complete transformation.
The closet project ended days ago but the clean up process for my heart is still underway. I realize now that He wants to help me even and especially with that. He is saddened when I allow shame to bully me. I take added comfort in knowing that God is indeed for me. And I find affirmation from His word.
Psalm 56:8-9 8 You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book. 9 My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!
Romans 8:31 b “if God is for us, who is against us?
While the FROG was a cute and clever reminder, it is true. Only when we Fully Rely On God, can our closet actually smell sweet.
Dear Gracious God, Please grow this desire in me.
Psalm 139:23,24 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting!
Your shameful, but forgiven and loved daughter, Debbie Hucke
You may have heard the song, He Didn’t Throw Away the Clay. I hope this link will get you there, if not just put the title into YouTube. It is a perfect reminder of Christ’s love for us. They sang it in church here last Sunday and it speaks the Story of My Life. How imperfect we are and how forgiving Christ is. Praise God!
Thank you Terri. It is such reassurance.
Betsy Everett says
Oh my goodness Debbie! This one really hit home. As Randy and I read this for our devotion, I was struck by how much I identify with the message. My closet is full of sorrows that I bury until it surfaces at strange times. I feel so much regret for hurtful things I have said to family causing a break in the relationship. Then I berate myself and tell myself what a bad person I am. Until finally I hear Gods voice, read His word that reminds me of His Grace.
Shame can indeed bully us. That’s the truth I’m holding on to.
Karen Saatkamp says
Loved this … sharing to my Facebook posts!
Thank you Karen. Shame in some form is universal. Thankful it’s not the end of the story.
Anne Kole says
Oh Debbie! Your words today hit so close to home that I am almost speechless. Thank you for your honesty and for the scriptures . All I can say in response is Amen!
Right there with you Anne. AMEN.
Shame, regret, sadness, humiliations…thanks for reminding us how corrosive and powerful they are. Praise for a God that allows us grace and peace and rest.
So well said Dorma. Corrosive and debilitating. Only grace can handle it.
Dr. Ify Achusim says
Thank God that the reign of shame is over. Shame has been over throne by love, mercy and goodness of God. Now we’re under the reign of the grace of God. Amen.
You are an amazing writer. God has really blessed you with a talent to speak to all of us of these everyday occurrences when we realize that we need to “FROG” far more often than we actually do. God is amazing. So grateful I met you for lunch and you gave me the link to your blog.
Kind words Mary. So pleased you relate and benefit!