Friday, August 28, 2009

Spilt Glow

We've all heard of split milk. Well, what about spilt glow. That is, Orange Glow the cleaner. A couple weeks ago, I walked out of my house via the laundry room and into the garage. I heard a bang when I closed the door but thought nothing of it. I assumed something had fallen from the laundry shelf onto the washer or dryer. As I returned, I saw it was not just nothing. A bottle of Orange Glow cleaner had fallen but it landed in just the right spot as to break the neck. (Much like our fragile bodies landing just in the wrong place causing fatalities.) So, I picked it up. The solution had not yet run out of the bottle, too much. I disposed of the sprayer top and neck and placed the bottle on the dryer. When I got time, I'd just buy an empty squirt bottle and transfer the solution. Great idea, huh?

Fast forward a few days and I'm doing laundry and somehow, some way, at some time the bottle tips over and splashes all over the dryer. Great. Lovely. I "just happened" to have a hand towel on the dryer. What better thing to use to clean it up. Next thing I know, I'm wiping down the both the washer and dryer. You know how that dust likes to collect. How often do we clean the control panel of our clothing machines? But, mine now sure looks good. I took this towel with the good smelling orange glow on it and proceeded to the master bathroom. I wiped down my gunky countertop.

I pondered on this. Many times (too many times, right?) our milk gets spilt, life happens, disasters come, pain infuses. God tells us we will incur trials and to be prepared. Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds. James 1:2 [emphasis mine]

Did you catch that? It says whenever, not if you face trials. And, it does not say when we face that one isolated trial over the span of our 80 years. No, it will be many trials and of different kinds. Financial, emotional, relational, physical. Game's on. Door's open. If we are breathing, we would be wise to expect trials and try as we might to embrace them. (Preaching to myself too.)

So, what do we do when our milk spills and we now have a mess? We scoop the milk into the cat's bowl. What do we do when our Orange Glow spills and we have a mess? We wipe down the washer and dryer and anything in sight dirty. What do we do when our life is a mess, our heart is breaking, and trials persist at every turn? We take heart...I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 [emphasis mine]

We make the best of our spilt milk or spilt glow. We use what we can of the spilt and make the mess somehow, some way worth while. Use the spilt milk, use the spilt glow, use the time waiting, use the pain, use the trials. Stretch, grow, glow.

Spilling that orange glow and then just instantly beginning to clean the washer and dryer, seemed so logical and natural to me. I thought how I wished it was that easy in my waiting, my pain, my trials, my life. I wish I could pick up the pieces more eloquently, more gracefully, more gratefully. I wish I seemed more useful, effective, and purposeful with my time and life while on this path. Living with intent....hmmm.

I'm trying with all my might. I think. I hope...God only knows that. There's a hole in my heart and my human flesh and spirit want and try to fill that hole. Yet at the same time, I try to enhance and focus on the areas surrounding the hole. Making use of my life and the orange glow and milk that did not spill and escape the container. Inevitably with every spill of milk, or orange glow, there should be some liquid remaining in the container. There is still life in my life. There is still purpose in my life. There is still reason in my life. There is still opportunity to grow for Him, in Him, and with Him.

Thank You, Lord, for my spilling my Orange Glow. Thank You for showing me the need and necessity to use it all...what's left in the container and what's spilt on the dryer. You are using my whole life, my whole heart. You are the one to fill my hole and use my hole. Keep me focused on You and the life still remaining in my bottle.

I don't know what those reading this rambling of my heart are experiencing. May you gleam from my spilt glow. May you recognize the glow and milk still in your bottle. May God grant you the ability, power, and desire to use the split glow in your life.

Trying to Glow and Grow from my Spills,

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Enjoy the picture of stolen day lillies.
(Mine didn't look as good so I snapped a picture of my neighobor's...just a few feet from me.)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

He Removed the Stump

One of my biggest landscaping pet peeves is to have large bushes or trees in front of windows. Hate it! My realtor can vouch that the first thing out of my mouth upon seeing my house was "if I buy this house, those bushes are gone!" A flowering bush in front of a burning bush in front of one of only two windows. Not happening with this chic.

After snipping on the bushes for a couple weeks in April, I could take it no more. I cut the flowering bush to the ground. (The mini flowering balls stuck like pee. Eek!)

With so many landscaping projects, removing that stump was last on my list. Plus, I paid $17.94 for 'stump remover' and that was going to solve that problem. Consider that project checked off. Fast forward several months to July. A couple times over the last month, I would use my shovel to see what I could do in removing this horrid thing. No luck. What to do? What a wonderful time to have a strong and able man around the house. But this is not the case for now. This last Friday I wanted to finish my front flower bed by laying mulch. The kicker: I really wanted that stump removed before laying mulch.

With my shovel in tow, I began. Shove, push, jump, jab, stab. Okay. This isn't going so well. I get out my hand clippers and might as well get the limb clippers too. Oh, get the hand shovel while I'm at it--I never know when it's sharp point and scooping ability will come in handy. I was trying to be systematic so as to accomplish my goal. Remove dirt, clip a root. Remove more dirt, cut another root. Shovel, push, jab. Sweat. The sweat rolled down my face and into my eyes burning. Oh, this seems so hard. What am I going to do? It's too late to call a pro as I want it done now. I'm determined to do this and have it finished. It's so hot and I retreat for a quick break. A big sip of water and a moment on the porch step. I must continue. I have to follow through. I have to get this done. I began again cutting each root that I could see, knowing with each detached root I was one step closer to being stump-free.

But, this was just not working. I switched gears. I had to step it up. With ALL (and I mean all) my might, I jabbed the shovel hard into the hole around the edge of the stump. I continued this while taking two or three more breaks between gushes of energy. I knew I could not fully stop. I allowed myself breaks which gave much needed rejuvenation. Yet, I knew stopping for the day would deplete all my desire to finish. I felt this approach was working with the intermittent breaks but I was running out of strength and energy. On the last water break, low and behold, I asked God to "help me get this done." What a revelation, asking God. Yes! I returned to jab that shovel with my all. Jab. Jab. Jab. Jab. And I felt it. I felt it was loose. Attached by only one root. The end was near. The end was within my sight. It still took time to maneuver the shovel and get to the very bottom of the stump to clip that last root. Aha! It's done! The stump is free. My goal is complete. My desire is fulfilled. Thank You, Lord, thank You, thank You, thank You!

As I thought about this experience and considered penning it to praise God, I reflected on this being much like my feelings for my true heart's desire: marriage restoration. What a very difficult, painful, and extremely draining journey. Only a handful of friends have traveled this road ahead of me and with me. I can so easily see the correlation between the stump experience and my journey. Simply reading over my words, I could easily see how my words and feelings about my stump aligned with the journey of my heart's desire. The fatigue...the determination...the weariness...the doubts at times...the need for rest and rejuvenation. This is what I felt with my stump and feel with the call on my heart.

The stump:
1. I didn't want to give up.
2. I was weary and tired, exhausted.
3. I saw no results.
4. I wanted a plan.
5. The sweat and pain felt good in an odd way. *
6. I didn't want to do this alone.
7. I knew the benefit of "following through".
8. I was intermittently encouraged.
* There is nothing better than being soaked with sweat, jumping into the shower, getting clean, and putting on fresh jammies

My heart's desire:
1. I don't want to give up or stop believing.
2. I am weary, tired, and exhausted from this journey.
3. I see no evidence of my desire being fulfilled.
4. I want to know HIS plan.
5. Knowing He has a plan and is growing me feels good.
6. I don't want be on this path alone nor live life alone.
7. I know there is great reward to following Him and believing this call.
8. I am encouraged by those who walk this path with me or have gone before me.

What does God say about this?
1. Don't give up.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. Hebrews 10:36 Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. James 1:12
2. I will give you rest.
Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
3. Keep believing without seeing.
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed. John 20:29
4. I have a plan for you.
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
5. Trust Me in the pain.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11
6. You are not alone.
I will never leave you nor forsake you. Joshua 1:5
7. I will reward your faith.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him. Hebrews 11:6
8. Be encouraged. "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.". John 16:33

Two scriptures that caught my attention while searching
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again. Psalm 71:20
Then the LORD your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you and gather you again from all the nations where he scattered you. Deuteronomy 30:3

© Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

Picture is of the stump.