Tuesday, December 9, 2014

deep cleaning and sold houses

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:4-5

When we decided to sell our house, we started a deep clean.

One Wednesday, while the kids were at school, I scrubbed the dirt out of the tiles down the hallway. I tried to imagine where all this filth came from as I worked. Four years of settled dust, crumbs from goldfish, soil from muddy football games, dirt from pet rolly polly habitats, and general grime bubbled up with the soap and then I wiped it away with an old, ratty beach towel.

This is the way it goes in life, isn't it? You live, you make messes, you clean them up.

I sprayed cleaner and scrubbed some more. I love a good monotonous chore in a quiet and empty house. My soul settled and I let my thoughts empty out into these rooms that shelter the people I love. Dark thoughts, cleverly stowed away long ago, tumbled out along with brighter memories.

I stopped scrubbing. The weight of my mind settled down into my hands and I sat back and closed my eyes, waiting for the moment to pass.

What do you do when the darkness comes? When it seems the lights have gone out, what makes sense of the silence? Where does light begin? How does time heal the old wounds that can't quite seem to get cleaned up no matter how many times we scrub and wipe?

I began to say what I know.

The Lord is my light and my salvationwhom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked advance against me to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me;
at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord.
(Psalm 27: 1-6)

Our firefly house, the magical home with tons of character requiring more work than we had anticipated, is now under contract. We will miss our big trees and fantastic location. We won't miss our big yard work days.

There is currently no house to move into, though. So much of our lives on earth is not in our own hands to hold and control. It isn't challenging to find new worries in this broken place.

And yet, we know that we are held by One who holds all things together by the power of His word. He holds us close by the mightiness of His grace and mercy that triumphs all our sin and sorrow. Worry is something we can drop at the foot of the cross.

The deep clean of my own soul continues as I box up books and linens, as Mr. Fantastic and I juggle decisions about where to live. We are the blessed ones, the children God leads beside quiet waters, the son and daughter of a Heavenly Father who has written our names on His heart. We are counted among all His creation, He has planned good things for our family.

The darkness is not dark to God. He is our light and our salvation. We choose thankfulness and faith and trust in all things.

Just beyond the dark horizon, a home full of songs of joy and triumph awaits us all. He will light the way for you and for me, and there is nothing left to fear.

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