Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Digging Through the Grime

Jason and I are in the middle of moving into our new home.  As we do this we are also participating in “A Journey Home” with our family at Crossroads.  I am sharing a little bit about how the physical and the spiritual are matching up in life right now as we do both.  I hope we will all grow in the midst of this journey home.  You can read the whole of this journey series here.


One thing Jason and I noticed as we began to prepare for the move to our new home was how dirty it was.  It is not unusual to clean before you move into a new home. I have done that several times.  However, this was certainly the least clean place we have planned to live.  I am not sure how the family who lived here before us made themselves step into the grime and mold and mildew that would have touched their body in the shower.  I don’t think I could do it.

Yet, I wonder.  Is it easier to just live in our grime?

This week, in our journey home, we were invited to explore some things as it related to our fathers and how we grew up.  We were asked to think about three or four descriptions of our fathers or the parent who raised us.  Then we were to think about how these characteristics affected us.  From here, we followed a trail from the way we responded in the midst of our parental relationship to how it might influence our relationship with authority figures and our view of God. 

It was really helpful to consider this.

As I sat in my seat during the Saturday night service writing in my guide, I was surprised by what I learned and remembered about myself.

It was as I was thinking about my dad leaving my mom and our family when I was a junior in high school that I remembered how I felt.  I remembered the night he told us he was leaving and how I was disappointed in his failure to do the right thing.  I considered the bitterness that I experienced during college and how it was prayer that took the sting away to leave me just sad for what had been lost. 

As I pushed through these memories I uncovered one more, the way it felt when he was gone. 

I didn’t feel safe anymore. 

I was unaware that I had felt safe until the safety was gone.  I imagine it was a lack of physical safety as my mom would go to work at the hospital for her night shift, despite my siblings being in the home.  I think it was probably a lack of emotional safety too.  If family wasn’t safe, what was?

As I considered how this affects my relationship with authority figures and God it seems to me that it left me with trust issues, which I already struggled with due to some bad experiences with friends in the past.  It left me wanting to take control in some situations and feeling helpless in others.  I think this pretty well describes some aspects of my relationship with God.  I find it difficult to surrender and let go of control.

I do not mean to suggest that all of my trust issues stem from this one event, important as it was in my life.  We all have trust issues. 

They stem from the enemy of God planting seeds of doubt in each of our lives, just as he did with Adam and Eve: “Did God really say you must not eat from any tree in the garden?” 

For us he might be asking any number of questions: "Are you sure you can trust God with your cares?", "Are you sure God isn't going to be angry when you tell him about the mistake you made?", "Are you sure that God will love you even though you failed?" or "Are you sure that God will not leave you stranded?"

As a result of the fall we are all spiritual orphans, looking for home.

In our small group this week, we were challenged to dig through that which has affected the way we relate to God to discover what is true about him.

I am considering how “God isn’t leaving.”

I am reading Psalm 9:10 over and over again trying to hide its truth in my heart.

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

As I do this, I am digging through the layers of grime in my own life coming from experiences and beliefs that I hold about God.  I am scrubbing through that which is false to claim what is true.

It is kind of like the hours I spent scrubbing the shower.  I rubbed through greens and browns and pinks to find the white solid surface underneath.  It took time to get through the grime, but a comfortable home, I want to live in, lay on the other side. 

This is true of seeking the truth about God.  His true character is worth discovering.  In Him, I find my real home.  I do not have to be an orphan.  I can claim my identity as adopted child.

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out “Abba, Father.”  So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”  Galatians 4:4-7

I’m seeking truth and running for home.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance as we consider how we relate to God and some of the ways we might have been affected by our experiences and past beliefs.  As we surrender these to the truth that God reveals to us in His word, may we find we come running home to him embracing sonship.

Jessica :)
P.S.  Thank you to my mother-in-law, Linda Holmes, for letting me use the photo she snapped while I was scrubbing down the tub in the bathroom :)

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