Beneath the Surface

Most people have a junk drawer in their kitchen.  I have a junk room.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m not exaggerating when I say that room is a colossal mess.  At least it was a few hours ago and if we’re being honest, it will be again.  It’s just the way the cookie crumbles.

Occupying the left side of our 1912 colonial, our dining room is pretty isolated from the remainder of the house with only two doorways keeping it from being completely closed off.  It’s proximity to the kitchen and the front hall just makes it too easy to be a dumping spot. Add in the fact that we rarely use the room for actual dining, and well, you’ve got a recipe for disorder and disgrace.

Since Christmas, the giant dining room table has been home to a few of the girls k’nex projects (among other things) so we’ve made the room a no go area for the many littles who accompany their mama’s (my coffee pals) on occasion.  The rest of the downstairs is fair game, but the dining room?  Off limits.  Naturally this has all the littles scrambling right to it.  They just can’t resist it. Including the little guy who came over yesterday.

And so this little post begins.

You see, I’ve been avoiding that room.  I’ll occasionally stand in the doorway and stare at it, but only for a moment.  I can’t begin to describe the emotions that race through me at the sight of the six foot table covered in papers, toys, and decor.  Decor of holidays gone by that should, for all intents and purposes, be down in the basement in their respective storage containers; not mingling with the trash.  Literally.

I try to glance over the pile of discarded clothing and jackets that have begun to call the window seat home.  To say nothing of the overflowing “art box” that’s been shoved into a corner.  The list of atrocities goes on my friends but I will spare you the rest, if only for the sake of my own humility.

I keep saying “I really need to clean this up”, yet I never do.  I just feel so overwhelmed.  Where do I even start?   Besides, I tell myself each time, it’s really not dirty it’s just cluttered.  When I do finally take the time to fix it up, it’ll only be a matter of  minutes, so why bother doing it now?  Funny how the justifications and thoughts can circle around and around ending up in a neat little box with a pretty little bow.

This has been my routine so to speak until today.  I stepped in there armed with a trash bag, a broom and dustpan, and determination- all fueled by good old fashioned embarrassment.  That embarrassment quickly turned into downright mortification and shame.  It was bad.  Worse than I’d thought.  Because beneath the surface of that “clutter” was …well, it was bad.   Let’s leave it at that. So I swept through like a mighty tornado determined to never feel that way again when someone has to chase their little through there.  (As was the case yesterday- the motivation for today’s cleaning spree.)

As I stood in the doorway an hour later, my goal accomplished, I couldn’t help but think about how my dining room is a lot like myself.  Sometimes I seem like I’m all put together, other times I’m a downright mess.  Either way, there’s always more than meets the eye.  There’s so much more beneath the surface that needs to be straightened up, cleaned, and repaired.

I am so beyond blessed that God’s cleaning skills are better than mine.  Daily he’s dealing with me- through prayer, my bible reading, church sermons, and even through the friends he sends my way.  He goes beyond what the human eye can see and he looks upon the heart.  He cleans me up from the inside out.  He doesn’t get overwhelmed.  Doesn’t take shortcuts.  He doesn’t ever, ever give up on me, even when I’ve given up on myself.  My God looks beyond the surface and none are too dirty, too messy, or too far gone.


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