April 10, 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
This month my focus is on getting our house ready to sell. We plan to put it on the market sometime in the near future, so now is the time to sort, clean, and purge! Our storage area is one of my greatest challenges, and actually has been for years because I keep many things "for sentimental reasons" - like textbooks from my favorite classes in college! One day I stood in this room and I thought, "There are so many parallels that can be made between maintaining the organization of this area in our home and growing spiritually. Some of my insights are as follows:
1) The storage area is a place in our home that usually stays hidden from visitors. I try to hide the sin in my heart by pretending I have it all together, by isolating myself or keeping a safe emotional distance from people, and by rationalizing how my sin is small compared to others.
2) When I take steps to manage the disorganization of our storage area, I initially experience stress and feel overwhelmed. Then, as I face the problem and continue to take steps, I experience a sense of freedom and relief. When I choose to see the sin in my heart, I feel uncomfortable and it is often painful. When I invite God to search my heart and show me what He sees, I experience a sense of freedom and relief. I also experience Him as "the God who sees me".
3) This past year God led me to ask a friend from church to help me organize our home. This was a risk for me, as I needed to admit that I was weak in this area and needed help. I'm learning that I grow spiritually when I admit my weaknesses and limitations (to God and others), ask for help (from God and others), and am willing to take steps of faith (risks). As a result, the fertile soil of humility and teachability are cultivated.
4) I've noticed that I cannot just organize our storage area once and be done. It is an ongoing process and one that needs consistent attention and action. Likewise, spiritual growth is not a project that is completed in this lifetime. It is an ongoing process and requires consistent attention and action.
There was a specific time in the past 6 years when I began to experience God's love through the conviction of my sin. Since that time, I've been learning how to live a much more transparent and increasingly less defensive (hidden) life. One of the things that I am trying to remember is that my audience is made up of only one - my patient, loving, and wise heavenly Father. It is Him that I live to honor and bring glory to. Life is so much more simple and there is such incredible freedom in this. Lord, teach us to be honest with you, with others, and with ourselves. Increase our desire to become more like your Son as we invite you and others to sort through our "hidden" stuff.
As I clean and sort and purge this month, I will also be reflecting on these spiritual parallels and other insights as God leads. Will you join me?
1) As mentioned in our last email, Dan and I will be going to Nicaragua for a week long visit to get better acquainted with the people, school, and country. We have the trip arranged and will leave on May 1 and return to Iowa on May 8. We are excited about going and look forward to learning more about what God is doing there. We will take lots of pictures!!!!!
2) Nicaragua Christian Academy sent us a contract and World Missions continues to give us positive feedback. "Official appointment" will likely happen when all of the details are taken care of.
3) Dan is doing well with his busy work schedule - is getting home in time to help put the kids to bed which is really important to them. He is leading our family well, and enjoying many conversations with people at work about this adventure.
1) Please pray for my dad. For the past two months, he has been experiencing severe headaches and is working with doctors and chiropractors to find relief. He's had a history of chronic pain, but 8 years ago had several back surgeries and has been doing well until now. He is also battling high blood pressure.
2) Would you pray for me as I attend to our house. I am not a "task person". I am thinking that I will call people to help me as people energize me! If you are interested in helping with cleaning carpets and deep cleaning our house, please let me know! Thank you!