Okay. This is difficult to post. Because I'm putting some really difficult things out here in cyberspace - making them public - for all the world to see. But it needs to be done, because it's cathartic and part of the healing process. So here goes...
Anyone who knows me well, would know that my desire is to have a neat and orderly house. My house was, at one time, very neat and orderly. We hosted weekly church home group meetings in our home. The floors were always swept, the dishes were done, the kitchen counters were clean, the laundry was folded and put away, my desk was clear, my bed was made (well - no, my bed wasn't made - ever - that was my one "sin" as far as housekeeping. I mean, why make the bed when you're just going to crawl back into it in a few hours? Besides, my husband's health issues cause him the need to stretch out on the bed to relieve the pressure on his spine several times throughout the day - therefore - unmade bed - always.)
Over the past three years, my health has deteriorated. I don't move as well as I wish I could. It takes me at least three times as long to accomplish something as it once did. And it's frustrating. As a result - my house has some areas which could be featured in that show about the people who are hoarders. The piles of stuff have gotten completely out of control - and, my perfectionistic personality won't let me clean them because in my mind, if I start something I must finish it - and knowing I would never have the energy to finish what I began in one sitting due to my MS - 90% of the time, I just don't ever start.
Enter: The Volunteers.
We were blessed to have a busload (I kid you not - they arrived in a bus (or so I'm told - I never actually poked my head out the door to see the actual bus, however, I have no reason to doubt the bus did, in fact, exist) of people swarm down upon our home to help organize and clean. Wow. Amazing. How blessed we were. God is good. ....almost.
For I, in the midst of all the chaos (and there was a lot a chaos) of having 12 strangers descend upon our home to sort, organize, and clean, was COMPLETELY OVERWHELMED.
Five hours of moving furniture, sorting through closets and pantries, packing things to be donated to the mission, etc, and after the dust settled there is still so much to be done. That same day, a social worker appeared at my door to meet with me for an hour in order to discuss the possibility of qualifying for someone to come into our home on a weekly basis so hopefully, the hoarder piles don't begin to grow again. She is fairly sure, due do my disability, that I will qualify for some help in this area. I should be thrilled. I am not.
The reason I'm not? Because in the five hours of chaos, my entire world was turned upside down. This morning, I was in a good mood, until my husband brought in a ten pound bag of sugar from the garage - where it was placed after we rescued it from the bags of food which someone thought should be tossed. I was reminded in an instant of the upheaval of this past week. The "cleaning crew" threw away hundreds of dollars of (perfectly good) food. They discarded things I asked them to keep and kept things I asked them to throw away. They moved things and placed them in God only knows where places. I can't find anything. Over a dozen times I've looked for something where it was or where I think they may have put it only to find it's missing in action. I listened to a woman who doesn't even know me whisper to my husband, hoping I wouldn't hear her, that I just need to spend 15 minutes a day and clean this house up when she doesn't HAVE A CLUE about my physical condition or what we go through on a daily basis in this house. A $38 Tupperware brand new container lid was probably pitched - the can lids which I was so excited to finally have a place to use them in an upcoming art show, lids which I've been collecting and saving for two years - pitched. A wooden shelf from the garage - another piece I was thinking would be great in the art show - painted all snazzy and awesome - I also discover is gone - and a palm tree - a gift from my aunt which I have had for over 35 years was stuck outside and left for dead in the cold. I thought they had moved it behind the bookcase and it was simply obstructed from my view (until the bookcase will be moved next week when my son-in-law comes to help my husband move it.) Last night, I learned the palm tree has been outside for five days in the freezing temperatures.
Needless to say - I'm frustrated. Yes- they helped us. But they did a lot of harm. And I guess I just want to have someone validate my feelings of frustration rather than every time I bring it up, I hear my husband say he's trying to look at the positive. Okay. Good. He's a better person than I.
So, after seeing the bag of sugar, and allowing all these frustrating thoughts about the missing things and dead palm tree all flood my mind again this morning...I snapped at my husband about something stupid. Why? Because he's here - and he gets to be the recipient of all my frustration, anger, and hurt.I snapped at him...and he retreated to his man cave while I sat at my desk in tears, crying out to God as I tried to sort out all the feelings in my head.
I prayed, "God, where are you in all of this? Why can't I just be content that I had a bus full of friendly strangers come in to help me? Why am I so full of animosity? Why am I so overwhelmed?"
Then I thought about the friends who came to visit last night. We shared an evening of conversation about the Lord. We prayed for each other. We enjoyed a meal together; none of which would have happened had the busload of strangers hadn't helped me unearth my kitchen counters.
With tears streaming down my face, I began to praise God for the cleaning crew. Randy emerged from his man cave and we went to a quiet place in the house and talked. We held hands as we prayed together. He asked the Lord to soften our hearts in order that we would not make a big deal over ridiculous things. Through all the mess and confusion, and chaos and misunderstanding; through the sharp words and the tears, God was using it for His glory.
Randy then retreated to his man cave to continue studying for his class as I sat down at my desk to check my email. I opened the email account only to read this verse - the "encouraging verse of the day" from my favorite Christian radio station, KLove:
"Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ." Philippians 3:8
Sigh....there He is...in the midst of the garbage - in the midst of the chaos - in the midst of the pain - I finally see Him; Emmanuel.