Monday, September 30, 2013

Good and Clean

Good and Clean
Peggy Mack
September 29, 2013

When I was a child, one of my weekly chores was cleaning my room.  Now, to all of us who will admit it, cleaning our room meant shoving toys, dirty clothes and whatever under the bed, in drawers and in the closet( if it would hold any more after piles had been repeatedly deposited there from weeks past).  We would stay in our rooms a "reasonable" amount of time to give the appearance of cleaning and then we would ask if we could go out to play. (Obviously, this was before tv remotes were in the hands of children and cell phones were, yet, to be discovered and ipads were only dreams of sci-fi writers.)
But, every once in awhile, the ax would fall, and mom would escort me back to my room.  While I sat on the bed she would go into a litany of Bible verses about cleanliness next to godliness and often ended in a weeping session connecting my total disregard for cleaning to my lack of love for her. While she ranted she slung everything from under the beds, the contents of the closet floor and emptied my drawers, too!  Oh the wounds were deep when inflicted, but well deserved!  There I sat in a mountain of messes and thinking to myself, I'll never dig out by suppertime!  As she departed, her final words were, "and this room better be GOOD and CLEAN because I am going to check every drawer, every corner, the closet AND under the bed!!"

I remembered those moments this morning when I was having my morning conversation and prayers with God.  We shared so many concerns I have and as I prayed and paused to let my thoughts catch up with me, I began thinking about some old wounds in my heart that I cannot seem to shake these twenty years later.  I failed my mother in all I could have and should have done for her and I accept that knowledge.  Memories come back to me from time to time of specific incidents and I feel sick inside my heart even though I know she forgave me and God has forgiven me.  I still feel the guilt of not doing all I could have and should have done. I have been cleansed of my sins by God's loving forgiveness, His grace, His peace, His understanding, I know I am forgiven.  But until this morning I did not understand the process of completly cleansing my sins.  There's a trite little saying floating around that we often say to each other, "forgive yourself!"  It's trite but true and there's a reason.  Unless and until you go through a quiet meditation process where you admit you have failed and admit you are truly contrite and understand, finally, that memories will continue to return of those mistakes but you accept forgiveness from yourself for being human and have truly, with God's help, become a better person; you are not GOOD and CLEAN. 

So this morning, I gave in.  I surrendered.  I opened up my mind, my heart, my soul and accepted those failings as part of my past and I forgave myself with God's help.  I read a wonderful devotional this morning in Jesus Calling that stated simply.  Today is here.  It's a gift from God and you have the chance to be a blessing to so many people today.  Yesterday is a closed book of forgiven acts of the past.  God does not want your mind on anything from the past that will slow down the blessings you could be giving to others today.  Tomorrow is in God's hands.  He will give it to you in the morning with a roadmap for you to follow.  All He is asking is for today but for you to give your all, you have to know how to face the guilt of the past.

Once you take the time to meditate with God about those memories of guilt that will not leave you AND you have said to yourself, "I forgive you!", then you have to have a plan for when the memories return.  Develop a statement that will work for you.  When I remember the time, for example, that I was impatient with mom and lacked any true empathy of what she was going through with aging, I get that sinking, crippling feeling all over,again and I sink into deep thought and revisit every moment.  God is telling me to stop it.  It serves no purpose other than one.  It takes away something positive I could be doing for someone today. Momma is in Heaven.  She is at peace and no longer in pain.  She has been in Heaven for 17 years.  Today is a gift from God.  So when the memories I come, I am going to say, "I forgive you. Go do something good today."

It has not been an easy morning for me.  Cleaning my room when mother went into one of her tirades and deposited all my messes on the bed for me to see accompanied by Bible verses and admonition that I must not love her very much was not easy, either.  But, I deserved the moment and it served a wonderful purpose.  I learned that there is only one way to get GOOD and CLEAN and that is to ask forgiveness from the one you have wronged, ask God for forgiveness and forgive yourself not because you have miraculously deserved it, but because God has given you today and He needs yesterday's chapters closed and  tomorrow's story to be left in His hands if we are going to be brilliant lights for Him.  So many people need us in their daily walks in life. 

If your silent voice has been saying to you, I cannot forgive myself.  Then maybe we have all been doing it for the wrong reason and it has not worked so well.  We cannot forgive ourselves because we know we do not deserve it.  Try forgiving yourself for God. Imagine all He has for you to do in your very special place in life with all the gifts He has given you.

Dear Heavenly Father,
Though this morning was not an easy one for me I have been rewarded with a sweet inner peace.  Finally, after years of battling with memories of failures, I am GOOD and CLEAN.  I have forgiven myself so that I can serve you better and make today an amazing blessing.  Use me Lord to touch others lives and to make their day a little brighter, a little easier.  Heal those who rest in my heart so they can live full lives to glorify your name.  I have accepted Your loving forgiveness and finally, I have forgiven myself.
In Jesus' Name,

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