I was raised in what most people would consider to be an upper-middle-class home. We always had more than enough and really never knew what it meant to want.
My mother and father had grown up in the Depression and always tried to foster a heart of gratefulness within us. I remember there were times when my father would take us to a poor side of town and show us how others lived.
This was in no way meant to make us feel superior to anyone else; quite the opposite. It was to make sure we knew we had more than many others did and to develop a heart of gratefulness that ran deep.
Any of you who have read my blog for any length of time will know how much I appreciate all the little things in life. I love to enjoy nature because I’m thankful as I realize it is a wonderful gift from our heavenly Father.
That spirit of thankfulness within me has been reinforced throughout the years because God has always shown Himself faithful to take care of our needs.
I remember when we were first married, Dave and I very often got to the end of the money way before the end of the month when the paycheck came. In the Navy, our pay was pretty low compared to others around us in society and we very often went without things we wanted. I became very good at making hamburger different everyday. Top Ramen or Mac and cheese was a frequent dinner and sometimes it was just a baked potato.
But I never lost my thankful heart and make sure I continue to thank God for everything that He has done and for all that He has given me. It may seem silly, but I very often will even thank the Lord for the hot water in my shower and simple indoor plumbing!
We have camped throughout our marriage, so I know how to “rough it.” I’ve had to use a bush for a bathroom more times than I care to recall!
I now live in a home my in-laws own which is next door to their granny cottage. We jokingly call ours “the big house” even though it’s only 1300 square feet. It is more than sufficient for our needs, so I am not complaining at all. Besides, the discount we get on rent would astound most of you.
Last week I was getting ready to go out of town for the weekend and jumped in the shower only to find I had tepid water. It turns out the pilot light was not staying lit on the water heater. Upon later inspection, it would work on and off for a little while.
I am very grateful that I discovered this before we left for the weekend since we might have had a serious gas leak and could have had much bigger problems.
In fact, there was a big fire recently in a nearby area and 49 homes were destroyed. This made me realize how God protected us from what might have been a tragic loss.
Yesterday my father-in-law brought the plumber over to determine what was needed. The end result was they needed to replace the water heater. When the plumber found out that we’d had this water heater for 13 years he commented, “Wow, you really got your money’s worth out of this one!”
Once the old unit was removed I had just enough time to get into the closet and wipe out the floor where it had been mounted. The house was built in 1948 and the water heater had been moved into an interior closet from the garage, probably in the seventies.
At one point in time a water heater had scorched the floor of the closet and after 13 years of this unit sitting in the same place, a considerable amount of damage, dirt and grime covered the floor.
I pulled pieces of the charred flooring up but was only able to get out most of the dust and dirt in a cursory manner before the guys came back with the new water heater. Once they got everything installed and I had my hot water back, I went into the closet to finish cleaning.
There were cobwebs on the walls and a mountain of dust on the rest of the floor. The rag I used to clean with was pretty disgusting by the time I was finished.
While I was at the kitchen sink rinsing out the dirty rag, the Holy Spirit began to speak to me about something I hadn’t really thought about for a while.
What He showed me is that many times in our lives, we go about our daily routines and never notice the things that may be collecting in the secret closets of our lives.
There may be hidden places where wounds or scars have occurred and we don’t even know it until something causes us to look deeper. Sometimes it takes a drastic failure to reveal those hidden things.
What I believe God wants us to see today is that when something disastrous happens, it forces us to look at what has been long covered. It makes us dig deep and come in with the necessary cleaning to get rid of the grime and filth that has been left neglected in our hearts for so long.
I’m not the best housekeeper in the world so I haven’t gone in to clean that closet thoroughly since we moved in. I keep a relatively tidy house but I acknowledge that the deep cleaning doesn’t often get done in a timely manner.
I pray today that you will not delay, but will take time with the Lord and ask Him what it is that you may have neglected over the years. Ask Him if there are some wounds or some destruction that haven’t been properly dealt with. It may be completely hidden from your conscious mind.
Something so complicated as a deep wound or deeply embedded filth in our hearts can be removed so quickly by surrendering to the Savior’s cleaning touch.
Pray that He will show you the things that have been left untended and have gathered dust and dirt that need to be spiritually cleaned.
The good news is, He is more than willing to reveal these things to you and getting them cleaned is even simpler than the hot soapy rag I used to clean the water heater closet floor.
Most of the time the solution is a simple heart of repentance. We simply bring these things out into the open like that damaged floor was when we removed the water heater. He is so faithful to come into those places and clean what needs to be cleaned, removing damaged places, erasing what needs to be erased and making everything new. In the process, He brings a heart of gratefulness to replace them.
Let this picture of the dirty and damaged floor remind you not to leave things in your heart that are not dealt with for long periods of time. It may be anger or bitterness, a deep wound or brokenness. It may be simply something you have not wanted to face.
Whatever it might be, I pray that you will allow Jesus access to that dark closet in your heart today. He doesn’t come in with His soapy rag to hurt you, even though He might allow a big failure to reveal it. He comes, instead, to make all things new after He reveals what is hiding in the closet!
Revelation 21:5 “And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
Matthew 6:6 “But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.“
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Always in Jesus,
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