Sunday, October 11, 2009

The junk drawer

Friday night Dan tucked Delaney in and she started a conversation with him about a discussion between her classmates at the lunch table about "the middle finger". We have always encouraged her to come to us with anything that she sees or hears that she doesn't understand or makes her feel uncomfortable. She attends a Christian school so the second graders knew this was a bad gesture but didn't know what it meant really and someone had suggested there was a bad word that went along with it. Delaney wanted to know the word. Dan came in our room to ask me what I thought the best decision was and together we both decided that she should just know it was a very yucky word and a bad hand gesture and although someday she would probably hear the word we didn't want it in her head right now.

So yesterday Delaney spent the day at my parents house because her cousin Avery was visiting, and I guess this was still weighing on her heart so she brought it up to my mom. My mom decided to tell her the word--the "F" word. Without getting into her reasoning, etc. let me just tell you I was livid. I wasn't just a little mad but the kind of mad where you think you are going to explode. After I had it out with her about why this wasn't her choice to make and what in the world was she thinking, I began to stew inside. When I got home I had to tell Dan and this got me all riled up again. As I tried to fall asleep it kept coming back to my mind.

This morning I felt pretty far from God and was home from church with strep throat. My heart was just stewing in this lack of forgiveness. I sat down in a puddle of God's sunshine and a moment of household peace and read a devotional from "The Sacred Ordinary" by Leigh McLeroy titled "Inside the Junk Drawer." She begins the devotional by describing the junk drawer in her kitchen (which sounds a lot like mine) and how it finally was so crammed with stuff it got stuck. She then goes on to write:

My heart has a junk drawer too. And I wish it would get stuck more often. I visit it when I’m searching for reasons why God shouldn’t love me. When I’m feeling lonely or useless or discouraged. And in it I find odd pieces of my own history that shouldn’t matter anymore but still do—some far older than a few candy pieces gone bad. This heart-drawer holds secret sins, confessed—forgiven!—but not yet removed from my memory’s outtake reel. Words I wish I’d never spoken. Words I wish I had. Failures. Lapses in ordinary kindness. Moments of misplaced shame. Old hurts I still pick the scabs from. Scars I like too much. This junk has been forgiven, or redeemed, or transformed—but still I hold on. It’s trash. All of it. So the next time this drawer hesitates to open, I mean to let it stay shut. If God has
forgotten its contents, then by his mercy I can too.

Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those
who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or
rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back
to those weak and miserable principles? Do you wish to be
enslaved by them all over again?
Galatians 4:8–9 NIV

If your heart’s junk drawer is crammed full too, wouldn’t this be
a fine day to begin to empty it out completely? Where would you
choose to start?

Today I am starting with a piece of junk I threw in there just yesterday. Real love--God's love--does not harbor any wrongdoing. It is forgiving. Can I sit at the foot of the cross where every one of my sins is forgiven and hold this little hurt in my heart? I'm taking inventory of the rest of my stuff too. Making a list and really cleaning this junk drawer.

Thank you God that I do not have to be enslaved by bitterness and hurt when I feel I have been wronged. Teach me more about Your amazing sacrifice of forgiveness and grace so I can live free to love like You do.

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