Maid to be Still

Yesterday morning started out a little different than most mornings have lately. I woke up with some heartache from the night before so I talked to the LORD about it and saw He gave me more peace than the day before- probably because I asked.

I’m trying to become more dependent on Him instead of anyone else, looking to Him to be the primary supplier of my needs in every area of my life.

I grabbed my phone after praying and tried to read a devotion I’ve had saved on my phone for months now, but my eyes weren’t ready to focus just yet. Luckily there is an option to have it read to me so I opted for that. Afterwards I got out of bed.

I brushed my teeth and put on my pants. Not long after, I went into the bathroom. I remember making the choice to sort of bend to do something instead of leaning over and I coughed at the same time. It seems I heard a snap. I can’t exactly remember if I heard it or just felt it inside my lower back but there was intense pain that came along with it. I couldn’t move.

Thankfully my husband is on vacation and hadn’t left the house yet so I yelled for him. He helped me to the floor, per my request. I forced myself to move forward and I put my face on the side of the cold iron bathtub. It was as if something flashed before my eyes. Not necessarily my life but the thought of not being able to get up and walk again.

I’ve pulled a muscle or two in my day but nothing like this. My lower back has hurt before, putting me in tears at work, but nothing like this.

I was able to back myself out of the bathroom on my hands and knees and crawl into the bedroom. I painfully made my way down onto the floor and just layed there. My husband was there beside me but there was nothing he could do.

As I lay there in pain, silent tears began to roll down my face. After a few minutes, Jason helped me stand up and walk to the couch. He told me to straighten my body up and walk upright.

A trip to the Dr, some hours, shots and x-rays later, I was relieved to be told it was muscle strain.

When we got back home Jason had some business to tend to so my daughter stayed with me. She ended up falling asleep and I didn’t want to wake her so I got up on my own when I had to.

Some movements still cause great pain but I understand sometimes you just have to press on, be tough and suffer through it.

In these past 24 hours, I’ve been made to be still and know that God is God. He is the Great Physician and Mighty Healer – not just of our bodies, but of our hearts.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past month or so struggling to overcome deep hurt in my heart. Many nights of lying in bed with a lump in my throat that made it nearly impossible to even swallow. There is a saying about life being a bitter pill, sometimes hard to swallow. Maybe that is what the person that first said it was talking about.

Even though certain pain is seemingly unbearable, I believe the times we struggle, alone, is God’s way of wanting us to run into the arms of a (or another) man: Jesus Christ.

As humans we long for that tangible someone to care and be there, to heal our hearts from the hurt and pain we feel. The LORD longs for us to seek Him. He is the only One who can truly satisfy the heart and soul and help us more than anyone or anything else the world can offer.

The last time I laid in bed with silent tears, I noticed the lump wasn’t there. I paid attention to that and wondered, is the lump in your throat really you fighting the tears off? It’s hard to be vulnerable but that is what the LORD desires. I believe we often fight tears because it causes is to be aware and come face to face with our emotions and pain.

It’s easier to turn hurt into anger. We think of it as being strong, unshakable, but it really turns in to bitterness and hardness of heart. Anger gives a foothold to the devil. He’s then able to grab hold of us by the foot and lead us further in to sin.

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil.”

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:26-27‬ ‭KJV‬‬

I’ve passed by a church sign several times lately that says, “Humble yourselves and pray.” So many times things happen in our lives that show us we need to humble ourselves and so many times we choose to not. I hear a still small voice say

“…for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:5(b)-7‬ ‭KJV‬‬

The LORD has been bringing it to my attention how much pride I really have. He’s reminding me there is nothing I can do without His help. He’s allowed me to be broken in so many ways lately, but I understand why. He wants to put me back together properly.

Maybe it had to become physical for me as well. Maybe I had to become completely vulnerable, helpless, on my knees in all aspects- to the point of total reliance.

It doesn’t mean it’s easy to combine spiritual truths with my own life and current circumstances. It isn’t easy to walk upright when you’re in so much pain. Other ways are so much easier, but again, the Word says,

“He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭14:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

When the chips are down and no one else is around, by choice or not, our faithful Friend is still there.

“And the LORD, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.””
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

All too often we chase a love we want to have that really isn’t there. We search for unfailing love in all the wrong places. We run away from that good and perfect love that God is the supplier of. Sometimes it feels like He hurts us but we really hurt ourselves. Sometimes I think God allows us to feel the hurt so we may draw nearer to Him.

He is there in the midst of our pain and He doesn’t walk away. When the pain is more bearable, He still doesn’t walk away. He stays and helps us.

With the covid, many have had to be secluded. Many have been made to be still, no matter what the case may be. I hope if people haven’t, they will search Him out to fill the lonely void in their hearts, taking this opportunity He is allowing to know that He is God.

Dear Lord, help us to give you all the glory. Help us to place no one or no thing before you. Help us feel your living, loving presence in our lives at all times. Help us to give others the same mercy and grace you give us. Help us to remember You are near to the broken hearted. Please forgive us where we fail You. Help us to walk upright in the midst of our pain. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Tasting that Rainbow

It’s hard to want to do things the way God would have you do them. It’s hard to lay your pride down and it’s hard to reap what you sow.

I cleaned a new house the other day. When I walked in I saw something I never want to see: the dreaded Rainbow vacuum cleaner. I personally do not like to use a Rainbow. At this point I am used to using a canister vacuum. With each passing day, I get better at maneuvering one around because several of my clients have them at their houses. I use my leg to pull it around corners and can pull the bottom attachment off in a split second. Anything you get fast at is a great accomplishment when you want to get your job done as quickly as possible. A Rainbow is different because of the different hoses and attachments. In my opinion, it wasn’t built for speed or ease of use.

The older models have hoses you have to attach to the base. They don’t attach at the head- you have to change the whole hose. Since I’m not used to using one, it makes changing up different heads you use cumbersome. If you want to make the vacuum shorter you have to unhook a cord that powers the attachment as well. When you want to go back to the attachments you can’t just click it back in to place, you have to plug in the cord also.

A couple of people asked me how my new house went and I was able to reply, “Overall, not bad. Except they had a Rainbow. It just isn’t practical when you want to go in and bust a move to get it done.”

The next day when I walked in to the home of a regular client what do you think I saw? Yep. A Rainbow. I took a picture and sent it to my friend with the caption, “Is this a cruel joke or something?”

There was a note on the counter that read, “The Rainbow is ready to use.” Thankfully day 2 had a newer model and I didn’t have to fight with removing the whole hose, but the heads came off instead. Normally I use her Shark upright vacuum. It’s easy and convenient with a lever you step on the release the hose for easy access when needed. It works pretty good on carpet, but the main thing is, it takes out a lot of bending down. There is plenty of that with dusting. I have one I was super excited to get for Christmas a couple of years ago. I actually take it with me to work sometimes. It’s not big and bulky so it fits under beds easily. The only thing is, it isn’t the best on hard floors.

As I took a break in the middle of day 2, I thought to myself about God’s will. It’s not so easy sometimes, especially if you want to do things your own way- which I have been doing. In many ways it does seem easier (but in a lot of ways it’s really not). It’s hard to want to do things the way God would have you do them. It’s hard to lay your pride down and it’s hard to reap what you sow. Sometimes we tend to forget we have consequences for the choices we make, even if it was sown so many years ago.

Doing what God would have us to do works out better but I’m seeing that He has to break me down for me to comply. He’s breaking my will down and it hurts. Even in the pain of cutting off the flesh, it’s happening and He’s making it easier as I spend more time with the One I know always, always has my best interests at heart. It’s a two-way relationship. I have to be honest with Him and I have to accept His honesty towards me.

After I jotted these main ideas down of what I felt being placed on my heart that day on my break, I decided I needed to read a little bit of Scripture. I opened my Bible app to where I’d read a few verses the night before with my devotion. There is was in plain view, the next verse:

1 Peter 3:17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing than for evil doing.

Verse 18 reminds us that Christ also once suffered for our sakes.

So the results of the Rainbow are better, and if that is what my employers choose for me to use, that is what I must do. The results of doing things the way the LORD wants me to do things is better, that is what I must do. I know He knows best.

Dear Lord, help me to not kick and scream the whole way, but to know there is suffering in doing what is right by You. In the end there is a reward-Heaven, and there I will be with the One who loves my soul for eternity. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I Didn’t Get the Job. Again.

If you’ve read my book In Every Situation, God is There you probably don’t remember Chapter 10. Why do I say you probably don’t remember? Because it’s probably something you read and then forgot but it’s a chapter in my life I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

I have to admit, I had to look at a copy of the book to see what chapter it really was but I remember the day, the emotions, the rain and the tears. I remember wanting something so much but I didn’t get it. I remember seeing the wall of rain come towards me from across the field as if the Lord almighty was crying with me even though He was the One who said no.

I remember trying to accept this answer and keep the faith- believing His promises for my life in spite of what I saw. The whole dying to the flesh and it’s desires seemed to be felt deep in my bones. What I wanted and what my Father wanted for me were two different things and that isn’t always easy to come to terms with.

After a while I realized and was shown why I didn’t get the job. Time heals some wounds better than others and eventually I was ok. Or maybe I really haven’t been. Maybe that is why when I think of all the chapters in that book, all the good things about Jesus in there, this one chapter still cuts me to the core.

In not getting that job, I was able to better care for my daughter as she struggled with a seizure disorder. I was able to be available for others. I was able to get chapter 10 and a hard lesson to learn:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NKJV

It’s funny that even until just now, as I make sure I’m getting the verse right, that I look at this passage of Scripture in a different light. I usually concentrate on the first part, the part before the comma. That focuses on my self. That feel-good stuff we want for ourselves. As I look at the second part of that verse I saw I had to italicize the word His. HIS purpose, not mine!

That is what this life, my life, is supposed to be about.

Another funny thing- I used the same verse in the book.

So why am I bringing up old stuff? Well, a while back someone told me of a job opening. I applied and said, “If the Lord wants me to have this job then I will get it. If I don’t, that’ll be ok too.” (Lie detector test determines that was a lie 😳.)

I counted up the hours I’d have to work and thought of being confined to one place every day. It almost made me suffocate, yet it wouldn’t be as strenuous as what I do now. I guess a piece of me also thought it’d be nice to be somewhat of a “professional” or a more glamorous title than house cleaner.

As I filled out the application I thought, “Who am I kidding! I’m struggling to fill this out. How do I think I can do this job!”

Days, then weeks passed by. I finally asked the woman who told me about the opening. She said they’d hired one and she hadn’t heard about the other position being filled. I blew it off as I thought those suffocating thoughts again.

Then there was yesterday. I opened the mailbox to find a letter addressed to me. It took me back to years ago. Same mailbox, less anticipation. It seemed I already knew the answer I’d come to terms with but it turns out this was just tearing off a scab.

There were the same familiar words I’d seen before:

The only thing I can figure out is that it’s a shot to my pride. I hear the words, “Better yourself” and, “Why are you satisfied with the mediocre life?” So when I try to “climb the ladder of success” I only seem to get shot down.

That is what I hear when I am thinking of myself. Over the years, after I was rejected that first time, I met some amazing people. The Lord has allowed me to be available to not only them, but to many family members, even friends, at different times. It’s not any glory for me to receive, but for the Lord alone. It is for HIS purpose.

I guess I wouldn’t have even realized this today if I wouldn’t have sat down and been obedient – blindly obedient. If I wouldn’t have heard that still small voice that said “Write.”

If I wouldn’t have gotten on Facebook to see someone that shared a post that I had shared. If I wouldn’t have opened a message of the sister of one that shared the post.

I worked for their mother for a few years. She passed away last summer. I’ve had a hard time with accepting her passing because it was sudden and unexpected. I didn’t get to say a proper goodbye.

Her daughter has held on to something of her mother’s that she is going to give to me. She messaged me this morning asking me if I wanted to meet her today so she could give it to me. It’s something I asked for- a white spatula I always used at her house. Silly thing to ask for maybe, but not really- not in my heart.

These things reminded me this morning of what is really important: ALL things work together for good, right? Of course they do when you love God and it’s according to His purpose.

The Lord doesn’t make mistakes. It’s not my desire to hold that position I applied for- both of them. That isn’t the main job I applied for that I really want. I want to serve God. I want to write. I love to write! So I did get the job I wanted. I am working right now and the pay- it blesses me more than anything else I can think of.

It purifies me. It encourages me. It sets me free! I hope it’ll do something for you too.

May God bless you and speak to you through His Living Word.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Hold the Tartar Sauce

Yesterday my daughter and I went through the drive-thru at a local fast food restaurant. We ordered fish sandwiches and, as always, I asked for extra tartar sauce. After we pulled out onto the road, I opened my box to find a ridiculous amount of tartar sauce. I took a couple of pictures, probably stated it was ridiculous, wiped some off into the box and started eating.

Later I posted the pictures on Facebook with the caption, “I guess extra tartar sauce means be a jerk”.

People commented and gave mad, sad and wow-face reactions. I’ve been told I should contact the manager about it by several people. To be honest, I just don’t want to mess with it.

Maybe that is part of the problem with the world. Maybe if we quit ignoring things we know are wrong, the world wouldn’t be in the shape it’s in today, but I guess there is another plan- you’re reading it.

After a while of receiving notifications on this particular post, I thought why did I post that? I often think it’s annoying to see people post the bad attitude stuff and then there I go doing it.

Why add to the madness of making other people irritated and aggravated? That’s just adding that much more “tartar sauce” to the world when we already have enough to make us angry and irritated.

A post I’d shared earlier that said, “God uses broken people like me and you to rescue broken people like me and you” didn’t get near as much attention. That post- that’s deep stuff. Way deeper than that pile of tartar sauce.

Well of course you know I’m going to relate this to Scripture so I thought this fit pretty good here.

19 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; 20 for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20 NKJV

Maybe the person in charge of the tartar sauce isn’t a brother (or sister) in the Lord, that’s irrelevant, but what if I would’ve gone inside calmly and said, “Dude, how do you even feel right about sending this out?” Maybe I should have, but again, I didn’t.

The thing is, we are probably two different people. That person is probably some kid with no self-control (tartar control, whatever you want to call it) and I’m a grown woman who is, over time, learning self-control. Apparently I haven’t mastered it yet since I made a post about it but I’m not going to get under the bus about that either. Why? Because I see growth. It is only because of the Lord that I didn’t storm in there like a raging lunatic, cause a scene and cuss the cook, the manager or anyone else that could’ve been in there. Thank God I’m not that person anymore!

Last week when we were out of town, I went out the entrance of a fast food place and a man rolled his window down and cussed at me. I hollered back, “Oh good grief stupid. It’s not like you couldn’t get through.”

That’s not OK. Right after that I told my husband and dad (who were with me) I shouldn’t have joined his anger game. I needed to exercise self-control.

I don’t want to be hot-headed anymore. It’s unacceptable. Big deal a lot of people don’t want to give grace anymore. That’s not my problem, that’s theirs. Sometimes I forget to give grace. Now that’s my problem, not theirs. I know I sure need it from the Lord, therefore I know I also need to give it.

If I caused you to get distracted from what’s really important, for that I apologize. In my mistakes there are many lessons and I have to make sure pride doesn’t get in the way of me fixing it. A chance to redeem myself from my actions? It’s called grace.

So…next time something comes up, I need to pause and remember: hold the tartar sauce.

Thanks for reading 🙂

The Mourning of Rejection

Just the other day I told my daughter it really meant a lot to me that she wasn’t embarrassed by me telling her goodbye with a hug and a kiss on the head in the morning when I dropped her off at school. Today was a sad morning. This cold Friday in November became a bit colder at the drop off line.

I pulled my daughter close towards me, as I always do, only this morning she pulled away. She looked at the kid getting out of the vehicle in front of us. I said, “Leah, you’re not going to let me give you a kiss this morning?” She didn’t respond. It ripped my heart out.

I guess she was like a lot of other teenagers this morning – too cool to let Mom say goodbye in the usual way. That’s not the way my daughter is supposed to be though; she’s supposed to be different from them! She isn’t supposed to be ashamed of her mother! I told her years ago I’m way cooler than she’ll ever think about being 😅. And another thing – I’m always there when no one else is and she knows this. It’s been proven time and again.

So she looked at the world this morning and worried what they’d think if they saw she loved her mother?

Let’s think about this from a spiritual perspective. You’re out in the world, not of it but in it, as we are called to be. As a child of God you’re feeling the pressure of walking the narrow way. It’s easier to push that away and take the broad path, right?

So you have an opportunity to share the love of your Father and the love you also have for Him, but instead you pass on it. After all, you don’t want people running from you when they see you coming. You don’t want people to laugh or talk about you, right? So you reject Him.

That’s not the best choice, and even when you feel that feeling of guilt inside, you can push it away but you can’t push the people away.

While it’s not the same as my daughter rejecting me this morning, it’s something relatable to the Word of God. A good reminder and a crucial warning from the mouth of our Savior Himself, Jesus Christ.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny be before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Matthew 10:32-33

Of course as children of God, we know how much He loves us. We should also know how much the world hates us. If we are His children, our hearts have been pierced with the reality of the sacrifices Jesus made for us throughout His life and with His death. (Not leaving out His resurrection which shows the power of God and the hope He brings.)

It shouldn’t matter what the world thinks of our relationship with our Father. We know He’s always faithful to us, never leaving us, always loving us, even when He knows us better than we know our own children. He’s more faithful than any human could ever be.

The world is always trying to draw our children away from us, while the enemy is always trying to draw us away from our heavenly Father.

I can’t say anything about my daughter when in a split second I can allow my mind, my heart, to wander away from the Lord. In the blink of an eye I can be enticed by something besides Him and pull away from His embrace. The embrace I always run back to when I come to my senses.

Dear Lord,

Thank You for Your love towards us. Help us to accept that great love You offer to us, whether anyone’s looking or not. Please forgive us for the times we don’t. Thank you for Your mercy and grace and for taking the time for us to catch just a glimpse of how You may feel when we reject You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Still a Maid

Every once in a while I get to the point where I don’t think I can take it anymore. Take what, you ask? Cleaning!

I know I’ve written about this before. Once in my book for sure. I remember as if it were yesterday- the disappointment, the tears: that day I found out I Didn’t Get the Job. Maybe I’ve written about it on this blog. It’s something that crosses my mind occasionally, only at the present time I feel I couldn’t despise it more.

When I go to work, I clean. When I get home, I clean. On a lot of my days off, I clean and if I don’t? Then later I really have to clean. I don’t get to enjoy it. All this cleaning I do and then I leave because the job’s done or I get home and it’s never ever “done”.

Now I’m not trying to be ungrateful. I’m thankful I can get out of the bed and walk in the morning- that I can do this cleaning biz every single day of my life. (OK, still sarcasm there but by the time I finish writing this it’ll be gone.)

I’ve gone back and forth with the “do what makes you happy” thing today. I know it isn’t about my happiness. You grin and bear it. You do it as you’re doing it unto the Lord, not men. (You’ll see the irony of this in a minute.)

These cleaning gigs have allowed me to be mom, wife, daughter, sister and aunt first. This line of work is flexible and gives me freedom. If anyone knows me well enough, they know that’s exactly what I need, yet I cringe at the very thought of cleaning one more thing!

So, as they say, I did a thing today. I got online at a job website, filled out an application and sent my resume in. Then I found a job that I’d just been thinking about 3 days ago!

I made passwords, reset passwords, set up an account along with a password for that. Later on I went back when I had more time and guess what? I can’t log in. Too many attempts. Email already used, other email already used, wrong password, enable Javascript. I don’t even know what Javascript is for goodness sake. I watched a video on how to enable it. Oh, you have to find how to enable it on Microsoft Edge with Windows 10. I give up! I gave up.

A few minutes before, I sent my daughter out to the car to get my Bible case that had my notebook in it. Surely to goodness my old email password would be in there. That’s a negative.

I sat in my recliner with tears in my eyes and looked at my Bible case. I pulled the Trusty Book out. The Lord knows when I’m desperate. I didn’t even pray my famous, “Lord, lead me to what You’d have for me to hear” prayer.

I opened and my eyes fell upon Colossians 4:17-18 (NKJ) 17 And say to Archippus, “Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” 18 This salutation by my own hand –Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.

OK. So right now I’m Archippus, I gather. I cried (of course). The question is, is this cleaning thing my ministry or does it allow me the time (I don’t always use wisely) to write? Or is it both?

In the meantime, that huge chunk of irony I spoke of earlier? It’s not irony at all- it’s the Lord. It is in the column right next to where my eyes fell first.

Colossians 3:23 (NKJ) And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.

Good ole Paul. Even in his chains he was encouraging others. Even all these years later his obedience to the Lord has made a huge difference in our lives. Maybe one day, many years from now, some of my words will have a positive impact on someone. Maybe even today.

Thank you for reading. Good night.

The Storage Unit

Over the past year I’ve significantly reduced the amount knickknacks and wall decorations in our home. There have been days I’ve come home from cleaning a house and just started taking things off the walls and getting rid of them, just for the plain and simple fact: I dust enough elsewhere. With that being said, I still have plenty to deal with- just not near as much.

One weekend, months ago, I decided I’d had enough. Again. I started pricing things and boxing them up. I was going to have a yard sale. A few weeks ago I set a date for this weekend. I still had items in the house that needed to go so I gathered them (well, some more of them) together.

Then, there’s the storage unit. I took a few trips there this week and dug through totes of this and that. I found so many things I haven’t seen in so long. Some brought a smile to my face, while other things brought back painful memories.

Just as I have so many times before, I wondered why I held on to so much. Maybe I will need this for something one day. Maybe I shouldn’t get rid of that because so-and-so gave it to me. Maybe this item would take me back to my youth, before I experienced the sting of life. Just as I have so many times before, I am doing a lot of soul-searching.

This year alone, so many things have come about to take me back in my mind to things that changed my life. Back then they were bad, but God has worked those things out for my good, just as His Word says:

Romans 8:28 (KJV) And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

I realize, not only do I still need to get rid of some things in my home and a lot of things in the storage unit, but also in my storage unit. That stuff I need to let go of in my mind- that stuff in my poorly guarded heart. The junk I need to properly deal with, and heal from- just me and the Lord. After all, that’s the only proper way.

Do you even know how many times I have written on this same topic? I know one thing, I can’t continue to be consumed with all this useless, worthless junk. It’s not worthy to be stored.

It constantly amazes me how patient my Father is with me, how He continually reminds me of what He’s said before and how caring He is that He wants me to have that peace that only He gives.

John 14:26-27 (KJV) 26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

I’m ever so grateful He allowed me the quiet time to sit still and write this out tonight. It’s been a while. Thanks for reading and may God bless ❤️.

Maid to Love

When I first started cleaning, it was buildings and businesses. I started my very first cleaning job on March 6, 2006. How do I remember the date? I guess because it was time to get serious and grow up. My daughter had just turned 2.

I was hired to clean a church building every week. At first it was just a job to help me take care of my child and our financial needs. After a while it became much more than a building where my in-laws attended worship services; I began attending there as well. Some time later, my sister, her kids and my mom started going there.

It was a blessing to me to be there. I could go to the altar and pray when it was impressed upon my heart to do so, or sit down, grab a hymnal and sing a few songs (alone or with my sister when she would come there and help me clean).

I would talk with members of the congregation that would come in to take care of maintenance issues, got to know the preacher and his wife as they would come in or bond with two different ladies that printed the bulletins throughout the years. Over the course of seven years, those people went from being strangers to being family, even some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

There were times my mother-in-law would come in to practice a song on the piano she planned to play or work on a song she planned to sing the following Sunday. I always loved those days.

During that time I started picking up other one-time cleaning jobs. As the years went by, I began to clean for individuals on a regular basis in addition to cleaning the church building. These clients were at work so I had a lot of time to commune with the Lord as I did my job at their homes.

Then, several years back, the Lord started giving me widows and elderly people. It was quite the change to begin cleaning for someone while they were at home.

It was then that my job became very personal. When someone invites you in to their home week after week, for hours at a time, you get to know those people.

You dust pictures of their families, they tell you stories of items in their homes or simply tell you stories about themselves, their family and their past.

They tell you of things they once did but can longer do. They begin to tell you of their health issues, seen and unseen. One couple was waiting on a call from a doctor the first time I went to clean for them. The next day I had to go back to finish up. The call they had anxiously awaited for the previous day brought bad news. Bonding time was cut extremely short, but it was there. The thing I like is with most older people, they want it to be there. I learned that client’s passions quickly as I listened to stories as I dusted.

The ladies, they tend talk about their husbands that have passed away and their eyes well up with tears as they tell you how they long to be in Heaven with them.

Not only have I cleaned their homes, I’ve put flowers on their spouses graves for them or held their hand to steady them while they did it themselves.

I’ve asked for a couple to pray with me and they have. I’ve asked if I could pray with some and we have. I’ve cried to a few and I’ve cried with a few. I’ve told most of them I’m not just there to work for them, but I am there to work for Him (the Lord).

These clients, they become more than just people I work for- they become people I love. They become another piece of my heart.

I believe He sends me to these places. No, I know He sends me to these places and it’s humbling. It’s not that I have so much to offer. It’s not always about what I give or do. I don’t walk away empty-handed. I learn so much from all the people I’ve been blessed to work for- past and present.

Of all the things I’ve learned, what comes to mind the most lately (aside from love) is this:

Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Romans 12:15 NKJV

The hard thing about the places the Lord has sent me the past several years is several people I’ve rejoiced with and wept with have gone on to be with the Lord (recently) and I wasn’t finished.

I wasn’t finished showing them pictures of my daughter growing up. I wasn’t finished hearing their laughs or joking around in our own special way. I wasn’t finished going to see them. I’m not finished with my life yet, there’s so much more to tell but I can’t tell them anymore.

I talked to another client of mine today that had called to let me know a lady I worked for for several years had passed away last night. I told her how many I’d lost within a year and she said, “My goodness. Bless your heart. You’re going to have to find some younger people to work for.”

After the past couple of weeks the thought did cross my mind that maybe I just needed to get out of the cleaning business. The selfish, childish part of me would rather not have to hurt with my job (with the exception of when arthritis begins to flare up). Although there’s great pain in my heart, I wouldn’t trade it for the world- the opportunity I’ve been given with these folks.

I know if these people were here, they would weep with me. Recently those family members I’ve seen week after week in those still photos have come to life and become the ones to take on the role of hugging me and weeping with me. For that I am grateful.

When someone I love passes away I say, “It’s not just that I lost someone I loved, I lost someone that loved me.” That is what hurts.

Thank You Father for teaching me how valuable time really is.

In loving memory of these special ladies and a fine gentleman:

Mr. H. Curtis 2/39-10/18

Mrs. Charlotte Breeden 2/34-3/19

Mrs. Betty Davis 5/41-7/19

Mrs. Roberta Robertson 7/26-7/19

I Got Her For Christmas…

Many years ago, I’d say 34-35 years ago, my siblings closest to me (my brother and sister) would occasionally grab an arm each and start pulling. One would pull an arm and say, “She’s mine. I got her for Christmas.” The other one would pull the other arm they had a hold of and say, “No, she’s mine. I got her for my birthday!” “No, I got her for Valentine’s day!”. “I got her for Thanksgiving!” And on and on and on. I was thankful when the holiday list would run out!

I began thinking of these memories last night when I found some old pictures of us when we were kids. The irony of it is, I feel so many things in my life are still playing tug-of-war with me. The past few days I’ve literally felt as if I’m being ripped to shreds. Actually it’s been more than a few days.

Division. Games. Manipulation. Hurt- past and present and I’m in the middle. The middle of right and wrong and to be quite honest, I’d just rather run. After all, I’m not 4 or 5 years old; I’m 39.

Then I think, there are no coincidences with the Lord. Why does he have me here? Do I have the ability to bridge the gap between hurt and healing? Is it even a choice to take the easy road and run or do I have to stay in the middle?

What words do I say, or do I say nothing and just listen? Do I offer a hand or is that enabling? Do I keep it in neutral, or do I put it in drive or even reverse? Was I born on this earth as a gift to be pulled apart at the seams?

One thing I do know is with all the pulling, nothing can separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39 NKJV

Not the real or the fake, not the love or the hate, not the terrible or the great.

Thank You Lord. Help me to listen. Help me to love. Help me die to myself because it’s not about me. Help me to obey You and no one else. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Light in My Eyes

I was so excited when I rearranged our bedroom several years ago. The way it was situated before didn’t allow room for me to have a nightstand on my side of the bed. I’d have to hand things over each night such as my watch, ponytail holder- things like that. I also had to climb over my husband to get in and out of bed.

I’d come to a point where I was tired of getting up on the wrong side of the bed, so this new arrangement was something to look forward to.

One thing I didn’t count on was the light that shines right in my eyes from another room. My husband wakes up earlier than I do so when he flips that switch on it hits right on my face.

What an aggravation it has been to wake up with a bright light shining right in my eyeballs first thing. I continue to deal with it because I’m happy with everything else the way it is. Plus, it’s a big job moving the bedroom furniture around.

As I stated above- this has been going on for several years but now there’s a new thing.

A while back I decided to rearrange our living room. Not long ago I asked my husband if we could swap our seating spots because the air conditioner blows right where I sit and he tends to want it on full blast.

We moved our recliners. Although I wasn’t in the Arctic air anymore, there, through the blinds covering the window was the sun shining right in my eyeballs! About 5 p.m. is the perfect time to not be sitting in that spot.

I couldn’t believe my eyes! Can I ever just relax for goodness sake! That thought does come to mind, but one morning when I awoke to the light in my eyes in the bedroom I thought about how Jesus is the light.

John 8:12

NKJV Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

KJV Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

So do I want to get irritated when the light appears, shining brightly in my eyes? No, I do not. Are there really coincidences with the Lord? I don’t think so.

He doesn’t want me to walk in darkness, but to have the light of life.

Does that mean He allows light to shine in my eyeballs because these ways are ways He speaks to me? Probably.

I guess all I should say is, “Shine on!”

Thank you for reading! Good night and God bless. And you can almost guarantee: I’ll wake in the morning with the light in my eyes- literally. I just need to make sure it’s also spiritually. 😊