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.