this weekend i had the opportunity to help someone. my friend austin works for CPS, and while shadowing a new employee this past week, he met a single mom who was being threatened with eviction if she did not clean her house. or at least the outside.

we knew ahead of time that we would have to move some furniture around…out of the back porch and help her throw out some old boxes of things in the carport. but nothing prepared us for what we found.

i’ve heard the term ‘hoarder’ before and i’ve even watched tv shows like ‘clean house’ that help people like this. it wasn’t that the mess was so bad or the smell was so thick–what struck me was the utter slavery this woman was to things like broken chairs, old medical equipment, and large pieces of broken glass.

one of the first things our team attacked upon our arrival was just throwing away trash. there were bags of rotten food, rusted cans, and empty boxes that we immediatley bagged up and threw in the back of austin’s truck, that would later that day be making a trip to the dumpster. when she saw how full the truck bed was getting, she was driven to tears as she pulled each bag out, one by one, emptied them and sorted through the TRASH SHE WANTED TO KEEP. plastic bottles. plastic bags. tiny bits of newspaper…she physically, mentally and emotionally could not let them go.

ultimately, we were unable to help her solve her problem. the furniture remains an eyesore and problem and we are praying she finds favor and grace from her landlord. about the only good we did was we emptied a room that was 4 feet deep in trash, only to box it up in uhaul boxes, in a more orderly fashion. floor to ceiling we stacked boxes filled with moldy clothes, stained blankets…she even wanted to save a chocolate easter bunny that had the ears bitten off.

the whole day was very overwhelming and…i’ll be honest. it was a continuous choice to choose this woman and not myself. God is faithful and granted me compassion for her and most definitely for her son, who i ache for.

the fact is, many of us experience this every day in our own lives. it may not be physical trash, but rather emotional garbage we let fill our hearts. we lay in bondage to ‘desire’ and ‘fear’ paralyzed to get well, or walk in Truth. we believe the lies that we can absolutley not, under any circumstances, take our bag of trash to the dumpster because it’s going to hurt if our irrationally comforting old food and newspapers are thrown away forever. even if we can picture a meticulously clean, happy, healthy and safe home that we KNOW is going to benefit us–some of us can even remember a time when our house was clean. we KNOW cleanliness will be a lot of work but–for many reasons—we just can’t let go of our trash and continue to choose garbage. like pigs. for me? sometimes i believe i don’t deserve a clean house. i deserve to sit in a dump.

me and Jesus are working on this.

Jesus died for this stuff. He died for my trash and for yours. God sent His one and only son into the world so that He could live a perfect and blameless life so that His blood poured out would serve as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. so that we are a new creation and we can have communion with our Father for eternity. when Jesus died on the cross, he said, “it is finished.” i believe Him, and find rest in Him. i am praying you do, too.

thanks for reading.

8 thoughts on “trash.

  1. Kelly Bee says:

    Purging our junk and choosing God, choosing life, over the the bondage we’ve created is a messy, complicated, difficult process. There are so many steps to freedom from the yoke of this slavery that comes in the form of all our “trash”. For me personally, in the past, there have been times when I felt like I was making progress, but when it came down to it, there were things I still just could not force myself to let go of. I couldn’t throw away the chocolate bunny.

    I’m so glad that you’re listening to Jesus on this, and being obedient and faithful as He leads you through your own steps to freedom from your junk.

    I love you!
    ~Kelly B

  2. jacquelyn says:

    wow. i can only imagine the control it took to not just scream “this is all worthless” but, its so great how God can use us to see things through others perspectives, maybe not understand it… but at least use others to tell us “you’re not the only one with stuff, and I”M big enough for EVERYONES stuff.”

    loved the post, mushhh love– T.P.O.

  3. blanca says:

    wow…thanks for putting this in perspective. at first I found myself sad for her in a “I can’t imagine being like that” kind of way. but then as I read on, I felt convicted that yes…I, too, have my own truckload of junk. And I, too, have a hard time letting it go.

    Thanks for the reminder that we are made new, and because of Christ we don’t have to live in bondage to our moldy junk any longer.

  4. emily b. says:

    i was talking with a friend tonight who reminded me that when you proclaim Christ…acknowledging your sin is only half of it. the other half is repentance. taking this example further–i have been meditating on the times i do allow Jesus to take my trash, or i do throw it away–but then either take it back out or create new trash. i guess until we are in Heaven, there’s always going to be trash in some form or another…but man. if i move forward with the lack of repentance, the lack of change…all is vain.

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