Tackling spring cleaning can be a daunting task, but tackling the small and packed bedroom of two daughters who are self-proclaimed collectors can be downright terrifying. When those daughters are 6 years apart in age you can be assured that the collections are many and varied.
Clothing, dolls, books, yarn, tin cans, ponies, hats and yes, Christmas decorations......and that is only what I am looking at from the doorway. Dresser piled high, wall hooks so full that it only appears to be a wall of clothing, bags and jump ropes. Assorted tiny brushes, doll clothes, strings and many unnamed items lurk about on the floor.
After repeated unsuccessful attempts to get the sisters to work together on this chore, their mother finally steps in and begins a long overdue purge. I must say that one of the aforementioned sisters does try to maintain order, but the younger is a hard-nosed messy. The bedroom inevitably becomes a battleground. Please do not think that I am giving up on teaching my children to clean up after themselves. I am not; however, there are times when it is beneficial to stop issuing orders, roll up your sleeves and work with them.
I guess that time has come.
Some things are easy to handle.....well, maybe not easy.....the clothes that the younger is so quickly outgrowing SHOULD go directly into the bag headed for Goodwill again. But then.....this mother thinks of all the times her baby has worn that outfit, and mourns the inevitable changes that it signals.
It SHOULD be easy to quickly weed out the useless, cheap toys (i.e. happy meal prizes), but then I think of all the times I see them playing happily with the cheapo toys and not even noticing the more expensive, higher quality toys sitting close by. (I have given up trying to understand what will fascinate my children's imaginations.)
Okay. So maybe their mother has some issues too.
I weed. I sort. I throw....a little.
As I tackle the drawers of the dresser that they share I pull out clothing that I had forgotten about.
"What about this pair of pants?" I ask my older daughter.
"Oh yeah, I forgot about those," she replies sheepishly.
"I don't remember this outfit either," I say.
"I got that when I was in Maine, but I just didn't see them in my drawer so I forgot about them."
Half jokingly and half to show her that I do not want to hear that she has no clothes, I have her change into a pair of capris that still has tags on them. What do you know....they fit and they're cute.
"Its amazing what you can find when you actually look in the drawer, Daughter," I joke with the girl who is soon to be looking down at me.
Later I was thinking about the purging process and how so often it becomes about getting rid of the junk....a necessary task. But the exciting part of it is the treasures that you can find when the junk is moved.
Everyone has junk. We call it "baggage". No one really wants it, but it becomes part of who we think we are, so we hang on. The funny thing is that when we are finally persuaded to let go of some particular baggage, we quite often can find a piece of ourselves that we had forgotten was there. Many times it is a valuable piece.....of so much more value than the other that was hiding it.
Perhaps we look at it in surprise and say, "I thought that was just part of my past. I didn't even know it had a place in my present." Talents, hobbies and gifts of many kinds are kept safely by our Lord for a time when we will be ready to use them again. For there are no mistakes in His plan. The dreams he gave as a child, the talents that were nurtured for a time and then forgotten.....these are kept in Heavenly hands.
We have occupied our lives studying the "baggage" we have collected and have missed the treasures sitting close by. As we respond to His leading and remove or let go of the baggage we can begin to see all the treasures He has stored for us.
I imagine His gentle smile as He reveals the gifts of our past.
"See here, my child. Will you remember this gift I gave you so long ago? I have held it for you. You thought it was gone, but I did not give it, to take it away. Take it now and use it for me. I will multiply it and bless it, if you will only accept it back again with full understanding of where it has come from."
"And the LORD said unto him, 'What is that in thine hand?' And he said, 'A rod.'" (Ex. 4:2)
"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always have all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:" (II Cor. 9:7,8)