Elbow Grease

Reaching the mop far under the master bed yesterday, I cleaned away a year’s worth of dust and dog hair. Putting the stray shoes in their closet slots, one at a time, I felt a lesson coming on. Slowly, carefully, I dusted the top of our dressers, side tables, and windowsills, feeling grateful for the time to clean with such care. I put some nails in the walls that have been completely bare since we moved in, and I hung the wreath and embroidery art that seem to fit jusg right.

As I stood back and breathed, I observed that our room has never looked better. But it needed one last touch. I needed to polish my grandmother’s silver candelabra that sits on Andrew’s dresser. It was badly tarnished, and has been pretty much ignored since we moved in 2 years ago. I brought it downstairs, removed the candles, and got to work rubbing off the black.

Polishing silver is not a clean job. At least not the way I do it. It gets worse before it gets better. My fingers turn dark and greasy, coated with blackened polish.

Rubbing every tiny detail and nook of the silver takes time and care. As I rub, the lesson hits me in the face. All this care and attention I am suddenly giving my master bedroom. A room that has been all but ignored the past couple years. It’s tucked away upstairs, at the end of the hall, and often the last place I think to clean because of how little time I spend there. And it showed. The dust was bad. The walls were bare.

I suddenly felt that it somehow, paying attention to this silver was symbolic of my new life at home that gives me time to pay attention to the details. I polished that candlestick and prayed for my marriage, and for my husband – that we would care for our love, nourish it, protect it, attend to it like never before.

And finally I wiped away the polish, and buffed it until it shone. And it was radiant. A thing of beauty for sure.

Lord, polish our hearts – buff away the dull places till we shine of love.



Stripped Bare

For almost two weeks I have been a stay-at-home mom. That’s not very long.

I am reminding myself of this fact because already I’ve had fleeting thoughts of not being good enough at this new gig.  Pfft. Whatever.

I started prerequisites for the nursing program about TEN years ago. Ten! Being a student/nurse has been part of my identity for the last decade of my life . . . I have a lot of adjusting to do.

Now I sit here, stripped bare of the titles and identities that I once allowed to define me.

It’s a strange season.

For a moment this week, I was hit with a sudden wave of “Oh my gosh, what have you done?”  . . . I tumbled for a split second, under that crashing wave, feeling lost, not knowing which way was up. Who was I – if not a busy mom working as a nurse? What was my worth?  . . . The wave passed after a few breaths as I felt the strong voice of my Father reminding me of the truth.

The thing is, I cannot remember a time in my life where I have felt so happy, fulfilled, and free.  I cannot remember a time in my life when I have smiled more, sang more, laughed more.  The chronic stress and anxiety I have battled for so long is melted away in the sheer bliss of this new life.

The hard truth of it is that while being stripped like this isn’t necessarily fun, it is healing. We so often get caught up in being: wife, mom, volunteer, nurse, etc., that is easy to lose the knowledge of who we really are.  What if I lost it all tomorrow: lost my husband, my kids, my community, in one Book-of-Job moment? The only way to survive and move forward is to see ourselves through the eyes of the Creator. I am a child of the Living God; when He looks at me he sees an image of himself. He is pleased with me – just me. Not wife-me, not nurse-me, not mom-me. I was designed to add joy and light to this earth, just as I am. I am relishing in this thought. Pressing into it and squeezing out all it’s goodness.

Another wave hit me yesterday – this time it was a sudden wave of deep gratitude. Of course I was cleaning a bathroom when I was moved me to tears. (I’m telling you, the world in my head provides me with endless hours of fun…) Anyway, I called Andrew that moment to thank him for his hard work and for being willing to take this journey together.

My friend, I hope that today you can lift up your chin and know your true worth.

Far more than gold or any jewels on this earth, you were worth dying for.