My husband and I (well ok…I did) decided that this weekend would be spent purging our house of all of the clutter that has accumulated over the years. I wanted to purge and clean every room so it would not be hard to maintain. I knew it was going to be a hard job, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be…
Sometimes God has to purge our lives. He takes us through the fire, like gold and silver when they are refined. The process can be hard and painful, but when it is done the results are beautiful!
In the process of purging my house, I found a box of things I had saved from an extremely difficult time in my life. Next to the death of my daughter, this period in my life was the worst. I cried and ached as I went through each piece I found in the box, especially a journal my sister had written for me when she was taking care of my kids. My heart ached over the level of sin I stooped to, and I don’t say that with pride, like how could I do it. Apart from the grace of God, I’m capable of any sin. In 2005, when God called me out of that sin…quite literally actually, I knew the cost could be great. Relationships would suffer greatly, or even be lost. That all happened, and it was EXCRUCIATING…some of them the dearest of relationships to me. That purging and refining HURT. But I knew that if I was sincere about my repentance, and truly wanted God to change my life, I needed to take all of the steps necessary for Him to do that. It about killed me…but I had to be obedient. There were consequences for my sin, and in my case one was the loss of a relationship I treasured…a best friend.
My pastor quoted yesterday that “if God permits consequences for forgiven sin, they are NEVER proportionate to the sin committed”. Isn’t that GREAT news? I haven’t been able to get that out of my head. If they were, I’d be in BIG trouble! I’m so grateful that God doesn’t work that way.
I’m also grateful that what God took away, He has replaced a hundred fold. I had a very difficult relationship with a person that is now my dearest friend and sister in life. We have been through so many similar circumstances, and never knew it. A really painful situation brought us together again, and now we are “sisters” for life. I truly adore her, and I’m so grateful to God for her in my life. We share the same first name, and for many years had the same last name.
Nearly eight years after the refining, we are watching God “restore the years the swarming locusts have eaten”. It’s been amazing to watch it all unfold, and our family has tightened our grip on each other, and on God. There are no three people I love more and enjoy spending time with, than my people right here. We have all recovered from the painfully difficult years, and are stronger for having gone through it as a family. We have learned to hold loosely to “things”, and hold onto each other with all that is in us. We’ve learned the grace of God, and his forgiveness in ways others haven’t, and we wouldn’t trade it for ANYTHING.
So many lessons have been learned in the purging, and I reflected on those lessons this weekend as I purged my house and “refined” it. It was hard, tiring, painful in some ways, and a LOT of work. But it is nearing the end, and I feel like I have a new house. That is such a joyful feeling to me I can’t express it. And the “painful box” was thrown into one of the bags of garbage, never to be brought to my mind again. 12 bags of trash later, and nearly the same amount going to goodwill, I’m a happy lady!
To save myself the embarrassment, I won’t be showing before pictures, because they would be horrendous. But, two of the rooms that needed a major amount of purging were my kids rooms, and I’m proud to show pictures of them!
Morgan’s room now…
And Parker’s room…
Every closet in the house was purged, and I know were everything is now. It is such a great feeling to get everything purged, cleaned up and organized. I’m so glad my husband was willing to humor me this weekend, and help me get it done. It’s a hard process for him, but he knew how much it meant to me. I’m so proud of him, and grateful for his help!
I leave you with the words to this song that have been running through my mind all weekend. Steve Green sang it, and it was always a favorite…
There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze, and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by their sufferings
On the anvil of His will
The Refiner's fire
Has now become my soul’s desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner's fire
I'm learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire's embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I'm not sure that I'll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive