Spring Cleaning: Finding Treasures Among the Trash

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Now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. — Colossians 3:8–10

My mom was a fanatic about spring-cleaning. Each year in April or May, when the first string of sixty-degree days made its appearance in chilly Michigan, my brother and I would grab our brushes and buckets and help Mom spring-clean the house. She would open the windows to let in the crisp spring air. We washed walls and windows, cleaned carpets and closets. We took down, washed, and re-hung curtains. We beat rugs and straightened shelves, threw away broken toys, and donated too-small clothing.

We even had to de-junk and organize the garage — the most dreaded task. Even though my mom didn’t particularly enjoy this yearly routine, in our family, it wasn’t optional. She taught us that if we were consistent in keeping up with these nasty chores, they could be tackled before they reached the point of no return. It was hard enough to wash those walls with a year of accumulated residue from our oil-burning furnace on their surface. Just imagine how difficult the job would be after two or three years!

I will be honest and say it that even though I dreaded those few days each year, I also loved the feeling I got when spring-cleaning week was over. The house’s surfaces seemed to sparkle. The air smelled lemony fresh. The shelves, closets, and drawers looked neat and tidy.

And, as an added bonus, this spring-cleaning enterprise would often unearth some prized possession that I thought had long been lost. A treasure among the trash. Once it was a favorite Skipper doll. Another year, my bright red Etch A Sketch. Later, a cherished issue of Tiger Beat magazine. If I hadn’t participated in this annual ritual, I’d never have rediscovered these important items!

Our homes are not the only things in need of a good spring-cleaning. Often our hearts also require some purging. We must be in the habit of looking deep into ourselves to rid our hearts of any thoughts, habits, or feelings that are making us dingy and dull: envy, jealousy, hatred, discontentment, impatience, unkindness, or revenge. Though these reside in our hearts, they often manifest themselves on our tongues.

When we make the effort to bring our hearts to God, asking Him to do what only He can do, He will forgive our sinful attitudes and resulting actions and make our hearts new again. Then maybe we’ll be able to unearth some cherished treasures we thought were long lost: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Isn’t it time you gave your heart a good spring-cleaning?

Dear Lord, forgive me for sometimes paying more attention to cleaning my house than to cleaning my heart. Please rid my heart of anything that is displeasing to You. I give You the bucket and brushes. Make my heart fit for service to the King. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

  • What unhealthy emotion are you harboring in your heart today?
  • Now, what could you replace it with instead? Spend a few moments talking to God about this change of heart.

~ Karen

Excerpted with permission from Pressing Pause: 100 Quiet Moments For Moms To Meet With Jesus by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk, copyright Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk.

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Your Turn

Do you love spring cleaning as much as I do? There’s something so satisfying and healthy-feeling when we clean out the closets, get rid of the junk, scrub everything from floor to ceiling, and purge the garage. I just did this and my garage which once looked like a bomb had recently detonated now looks like a showroom. It’s so clean, I just want to hang out in there! Does the junk and muck we wash away in our homes make us feel ashamed? No. But, I think sometimes we avoid cleaning out our hearts because it means we have to look at junk that causes us feel embarrassment and shame. Jesus paid for our shame so we don’t have to wear it any more! Today, let’s do some spring cleaning, put on the new self, and make our hearts new again! Come join the conversation on our blog! We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full

Karen Ehman is a New York Times bestselling author, a Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker, and a writer for Encouragement for Today, an online devotional that reaches over four million women daily. She has written eleven books including KEEP IT SHUT: What to Say, How to Say It; When to Say Nothing at All, and Listen, Love, Repeat: Other-Centered Living in a Self-Centered World. Karen has been featured on numerous media outlets including FoxNews.com, Focus on the Family, Redbook.com, Crosswalk.com, and Home Life Magazine. Married to her college sweetheart, Todd, and the mother of three, she enjoys herb gardening, collecting vintage kitchenware, cheering for the Detroit Tigers, and feeding the many teens and young adults who gather around her kitchen island for a taste of Mama Karen's cooking.

Like you, Ruth wears many hats! She loves being the wife of a pastor, who is her best friend and love of her life. She is a grateful homeschooling mom of four beautiful children, and also a hopeful mom who looks forward to seeing her five miscarried children in heaven. Ruth is a graduate of The Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL. On August 1st, 2011, Ruth launched TheBetterMom.com, a site dedicated to moms who want to be better moms by sharing life and learning together, to the glory of God. In September 2013, her and her husband launched FortheFamily.org, dedicated to helping Christian families. Ruth’s passions include, loving God, leading worship, and inspiring others to have a God honoring family.

Follow Ruth Schwenk on:   Facebook   Twitter   Website

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