by Melissa Buckbee, Set Me Free Ministries Team Member
Epiphany this morning while cleaning the kitchen: I am a strong believer in living my life open and honest about life's problems. I'm not talking about airing the details my dirty draw's to all the world, but I am very serious about the investment of representing myself as a woman, mom, and wife who STRUGGLES with the tough things of life: I'm not a perfect wife. I am not a perfect mom. I am not a perfect daughter and sister. Holding tight to this reality holds me in the GRACE of Christ that is real that—I DON'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT—or even try to look that way. Whether you look it or not, no one is perfect. Appearances are nothing more than what they are—appearances. We all struggle with this God-guaranteed battle inside and out from the crib to the grave, and this struggle is best done TOGETHER. This is the Truth that keeps me sane in the midst of the insanity of everyday life.
That said, here's what I've learned today while I was sweeping the kitchen floor: I'm thinking this (very insane and illogical) thought: "HOW?! How does this floor get so filthy?! I KNOW that those crumbs were not from any meal we've had recently. Who is coming in, DUMPING this CRAP on my floor?! I didn't SEE all this mess happen! How did it get so dirty, so FAST … AGAIN?! Ahh!" Then … God, in His immeasurable, grace spoke to me: "It doesn't matter how the mess got there, what the mess is, who put it there, or when it was put there. All that matters is that it's CLEANED UP!" And then I realized the crap on the floor in my life and in the lives of all I love and care about (and, of course, want to clean for them) needs to be cleaned up, or everyone will continue to step on it. But here's the thing: We can't clean each other's floors. We can only clean our own and make sure that when people come into the home of our hearts it's a comfortable experience and leave as little mess as we can on the floors of EVERY person we come in contact with.
I may or may not have made the mess on my floor, but it is MY responsibility to clean it up. I may or may not have made the mess on my husband's floor or my kid's floor, but saying "I'm sorry" and changing my behavior, attitude, etc. are cleaning up MY floor when I wrong another. The most difficult side of this is that the damage I've done to others is already on THEIR floors. I can't clean it up. What I (or anyone else, for that matter) have inadvertently left in their houses is something I can't clean up. I don't think there is ANYTHING, this side of heaven, more painful than the reality that the damage I've done to another intrinsically is nothing I can do ANYTHING about. All we can do is pray.
This is where our amazing Creator comes in. He knocks on the doors of our soul and asks to come in to help us clean up our messes. The messes in ALL of our houses are too big to clean up ourselves and would take a literal act of God to make right for any of us—from the Pope to the prostitute. This is the scandelous nature of God's grace pushing through the brick wall of the cliches and labels man has numbed God's grace down to be over the course of history. God can never change, and that includes His (beyond) amazing grace.
So praise the Lord I am NOT my own god. Praise the Lord HE is the Comforter, Healer, Savior, Redeemer, Provider of EVERY good thing, and the"Hound of Heaven" that never gives up, always keeps, never turns away, and always loves with a Love that never ends, even through our rejection and rebellion. This is the only thing we take with us in the midst of this struggle from the crib to the grave—when the struggle is over, when we can look back and smile long into eternity, and just … say… Thank You! How can we ask for anything more once we have THIS?