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

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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. 😊

Great Expectations

Don’t judge a blog post by it’s title because this has nothing to do with that story we read in high school- (or at least I think that’s where I heard the title). Instead I’m going to talk about us.

We, as humans, have great expectations when it comes to people.

Towards the end of last year I realized something huge: I expected WAY more from people than they could, would or even what I felt they should offer me.

It was actually a big turning point in my life. With this realization also came great peace.

I realized I had to lower my expectations for everyone else and raise them for myself. I’m not being sarcastic, hateful or vengeful- only truthful.

Did I have people placed up on a pedestal or was it my own self I had perched up there? Maybe both, but this changed the way I responded to disappointments.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are times when I forget this revelation, but shortly after, I am once again enlightened by the simple truth: people are just people, just like me.

For example- my husband is a pretty good guy. He pays the bills, goes to work, comes home, he’s a good dad to the kids, and the list goes on, but like me- he isn’t perfect.

I can focus on a minor imperfection so much that I can become a miserable person. He should do this, he shouldn’t do this, he should care about this… Blah blah blah.

You see what I’m saying? I expect something and when it’s not there I am let down and can continue to plunge into a pit of despair. OR I can remember who I am in Christ and go paint a piece of furniture, hang some wallpaper, clean the bathroom or wash the dishes.

I might bang a plate or two but then I remember the truth: it’s ok but I better get ok.

Am I holding up to my expectations of myself? It’s always much easier to lower that bar on my end. It gets heavy but doesn’t it get heavy for others as well?

Surely we’ve seen those quotes that say something like Expectations preceed disappointments. How true that is!

How often do we feel let down by someone? How often do we feel we deserve more than what we are given?

How many times are we really placing others, or ourselves, above God? Only He can supply our every need, yet sometimes we look to people to fill what only He can fill and then we wonder why we’re empty.

Us on the other hand? More is expected from us if we are followers of Christ. We should expect more from ourselves due to the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He is our Helper and He lives within us.

I don’t even want to walk around offended or feeling rejected. Why? Because then my focus is on me and not my Father. It’s a diversion from the enemy himself.

Psalm 62:5

My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him. NKJV

My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from him. KJV

Thanks for reading and God bless!

Good Steward

Someone asked me not long ago, “Why did you stop writing?” I think I gave the best answer yet- “Which excuse do you want to hear?”

So, why haven’t I written in months until recently? Do you want an excuse or the truth? I’m going to go with the truth because in the latter part of verse 32 in the book of John, chapter 8 (NKJV), Jesus says, “…the truth shall make you free.”

Truth is I haven’t been a good steward of what God has given me. Monetarily? Not necessarily. Thoughts, ideas, words? Most definitely.

A little less than a month ago, out of the blue, I received a message from a complete stranger. She told me she knew my mother-in-law, she’d actually led her to Christ many years ago. She said she’d stumbled upon my blog and that the Lord has used it to help her. I thanked her for the encouragement and for letting me know. I also told her it had been a while since I’d written due to lack of obedience. A few minutes later she sent a response:

“Yes Sis. You have a calling.. follow it closely. People are hurting…looking.. longing…”

It pierced my heart. It wasn’t this stranger, it was my Father speaking through her.

I actually started writing this particular post weeks ago and never finished it. I’ve worked on it here and there and have had to go back and change yesterdays to the other day, as days have passed by.

After I talked with a friend the other day, I decided to pick up where I left off. She told me she was enjoying reading my posts recently. I told her how it had been a long time since I’d written and how it didn’t really make sense that I wouldn’t continue doing what I love to do, which is write, but there is much more to this writing that I do. It’s obedience. It’s using a gift I’ve been given to serve the Lord.

That night as I lay in the bed, I opened up the website I use here but I couldn’t think of what to write. There are thoughts that go through my mind many times a day but a lot of times I won’t write the idea down. Again- not being a good steward of what He’s given me.

I have a radio in the kitchen and when it picks up, it’s tuned in on a station that plays Christian music. I often jot things down that I hear that seem to speak to my soul. A few mornings ago I walked into the room to fix a cup of water to take to work with me and I looked over at my dry-erase calendar hanging on the wall. There, written on the top was, “Be graceful stewards of the gift God has given you.”

1 Peter 4:10 NKJV says, “As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

It was the same topic I’d began to write on a couple of weeks ago but never finished.

Please understand this. Is this something I can do apart from God? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Can I receive the glory for words I type? ABSOLUTELY NOT. It is a gift (that I just happen to love) and it is to be used for HIS glory, not my own. If I don’t use it properly, or even at all, it is taken away.

It is my prayer that these little happenings, thoughts, lessons or whatever they may be will help you draw near to Him just as it does me.

And one more time with that good advice- if you are a child of God, you have a calling.. follow it closely. People are hurting…looking.. longing…

Thank you for reading. Good night.

Air Hockey

Back when I was a teenager, my best friend and I played air hockey fairly often. No matter who won, we always had a great time. As years have passed, I haven’t played as much as I used to, but I did have the chance to play a game with my daughter and also with my stepson the other day. Leah and I had a pretty calm game, but Eric on the other hand, played, well, like a maniac.

I watched as he hit the puck off the table several times and it flew through the air. I just laughed at him, becoming even more amused afterwards as I watched him and his dad play with up to three pucks at once. I told my daughter that’s what boys become when they grow up 😂.

As I played that wild game with Eric he said, “You can’t just keep your paddle sitting right there the whole time.” He didn’t want me guarding my goal (or whatever you call it). He was hitting that puck and it was bouncing off my end, his end, the sides, every which a way but I stood calmly, guarding.

After a while I did give in and move my paddle around and a few times it allowed him to score. Of course there were a few other times he got one past me when I was on guard. I just wasn’t fast enough to block the puck.

As I stood there I thought of Leah.

By no means am I a Bible scholar. I’ve never even read in the New International Version (NIV) until last week but for some reason I’ve been telling my daughter lately- “Guard your heart.” As I searched, I found those words in that very version.

A few different versions of Proverbs 4:23 are listed below.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it [are] the issues of life.  (KJV)

Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life. (NKJV)

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. (NIV)

My daughter’s heart is tender, always has been. The older she gets and the more hurt she endures, the more of an impact it could have on her character. It doesn’t mean it can’t be positive, but we all know life tends to leave scars. The choice will ultimately be hers, just as it is ours, as to how we care for those wounds.

I know I can’t save her from hurt. That is part of living. I can’t save her when hurt tries to take the defense and turn into bitterness, anger and any other negative emotions that are really just gaining the enemy points on the scoreboard.

Thankfully our guide book, the Bible, offers the most sound advice we can possibly receive. We can freely ask our Father for assistance in guarding our hearts from those pucks that are coming towards our goal, whether aimed straight at it or ricocheting off of something else. It doesn’t mean they won’t get through from time to time, but if we are guarding our hearts we’ll be able to respond in a healthy manner and better deal with the issues of life before they cause us to throw our hands up and leave the table.

Thank you for reading. Good night.

But When?

Sunday before last Leah and I went to a morning worship service. The preacher kept saying how important fellowship was. That familiar hungering in my heart could not be satisfied any other way. I knew what I needed so I went up to a peaceful spot I’ve gone to for years and had fellowship with my Father.

My daughter went somewhere with a friend and my husband slept in so I knew the time alone was allotted for just this. The wind was blowing quite a bit, the sun was shining down. The humidity was low and the temperature was comfortable. It was a beautiful day.

I pulled up and put the car in park, got out and hopped up on the hood. I sat there looking out over the hills at His creation. Then I looked down and about 2 1/2 feet from me was a snake. I hopped down off the hood of the car and jumped inside (super fast).When I see a snake I immediately think of the ole serpent in the book of Genesis. I sat there for a moment and debated on leaving. I mean I could talk to the Lord anywhere, right? Sure I could have but there’s always been something about that place. We’ve worked through many things there so I decided to stay.

I focused on Him and not what the devil wanted but then I caught myself looking back at the enemy and what he was doing. I’d focus again, the wind would blow and I’d become consumed once again with His Spirit and then I heard, “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 KJV)

I watched the tall grass blow in the wind right past the snake. I didn’t even worry about him. I was in awe of my Father and His creation. How He made the wind blow. How the leaves shook. The beautiful hills covered with grass. The gift of senses. The beauty of that fellowship with Him. The love and patience He has for me and my honesty towards Him.

After a few minutes I looked down and the snake was gone. I thanked the Lord and continued to sit with my head propped on my arm out the window. “That was quick,” I thought.

I stayed for a while, talked and listened, read in His Word and was grateful for all that had happened there.

I guess it was about a week or so after this and I’d stepped out onto the porch. I was talking to my mom on the phone and actually heard some leaves rustling around the porch. The thought crossed my mind that I should look but I didn’t. After a few minutes I looked down and there was a snake about 4 feet from me on the ground. My dad came to my rescue as soon as my mom told him what was going on.We didn’t know if he’d stay close until my dad got to my house but he did. He saw him and told me it was a chicken snake. He let him go because he posed no danger. The snake slithered right under my dad’s arm when he’d crouched down looking at him.

This snake didn’t go away as fast as the last one I’d seen.

It reminded me of a conversation I had with a Christian sister, my mother-in-law, early in my walk with Christ. I remember quoting James 4:7 followed by a question- “but when?” She said “bless your heart” and that’s all I remember.

I realized that sometimes it takes time for the devil to flee and sometimes he goes away just as quickly as he came. He’s always busy trying to get at someone. We have to remember- “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4 KJV [b])

God bless and good night.