When the kids were toddlers, I’d clean out the toys periodically. And like all extraordinary mothers, we do it when they are not around!! Haha. If they were, inevitably I’d get, “I play with that toy all the time.” when it’s been in the bottom of the toy box for months. Or “I love that truck!” It has 2 broken wheels, one barely hanging on and one slightly bent axle. Or, “Yeah, mom, I play with all 20 Barbies all the time!” So, the kids go spend a weekend with the grandparents to be spoiled, and I clean out their rooms and toys! With the toys cleaned up and rearranged a little, they never missed the toys that were cleaned out. Except this one time I got caught!! Haha. One of my kids asked if I knew where a specific toy was. I could honestly say I did not know the exact location of that toy. WIth hands on his 6 year old hips he looked at me and said, “You threw it away didn’t you?!” Smart little burger! I was caught!! Then it became the relentless joke whenever I started cleaning out toys, closets and cabinets.
My closets and cabinets are somewhat organized. Over time, new things get thrown in or things don’t get put up correctly and causes chaos in the cabinet or closet. I had a closet once that was off limits. If you dared to open it, you had to sneak a hand in to hold back whatever was getting ready to fall out. Needless to say, it got cleaned out and I can now open that door without fear of getting conked in the head! One other time, we were getting ready to move and I was packing up the kitchen pantry. Things got shoved to the back, forgotten. I came across a pyrex dish, still in its original box, that was a wedding gift. At that point, we’d been married 8 years. I decided it needed to find a different home. Because really, if you haven’t used a pyrex dish in 8 years, you’re probably not going to use it!! Just saying.
Purging makes a big mess. Everything gets pulled out, decided if it goes in the keep, trash, or donation pile. If my kids come find me during this process, it’s usually an “Oh, great! She’s reorganizing again!” As they spy around to see if there is something they want to keep!! Haha. The mess needs to happen so you can see what to keep and what to get rid of.
At Christmas, we were all at mom’s house. Mom pulled out 5 or 6 quilts she had in her closet that were made by someone in her family or in my father’s family. She said that she was cleaning out her closet and wondered if any of us would like to have some of the quilts? (So, I might have gotten that from my mother!) Anyway, we all jumped in and chose a quilt we wanted to take home. The one I brought home was hand quilted by my great-grandmother on my father’s side. It is now the quilt I use in the living room to cover up with in the evenings. I love that I can touch something that was made by my great-grandmother. The quilt is a part of her that I will always have with me. The quilts were meant to be passed on and not gotten rid of. They remind us of our heritage and the ones who paved that way for us.
Purging our hearts, minds and souls happen in the same manner. “Stuff” needs to be pulled out, spread out, decide what to keep, what to get rid of. It’s a messy, painful process, but much needed. Last week I shared how I was paralyzed by making decisions. I went back in time to get to the source. I kept the emotions and knowledge of being loved and cared for and got rid of the feelings of not being heard and valued. My emotions were all over the place. I had to look at it in the face and decide what I needed to keep and what to get rid of. It was cleansing, freeing. The sorrow showed me what was needed to make things right.
We don’t need to get rid of everything. Just like the quilts that my mom had. I may never have “known” my great-grandmother, but she knew my Papaw and my dad. She was a part of their lives that helped form them into the men that they were. In doing so, part of her is in me through my father. Now, the tricky part to that, is that we need to hold on the goldy characteristics of these people and let go of the worldly or negative characteristics. All families, to one degree or another, have skeletons in their closets. We don’t need to resurrect those skeletons. We need to let go, break that cycle, and draw upon the goodness of those who went before us. Breaking any cycle is an intentional mindset to “purge” what we don’t need anymore and hang on to His love and truths of who we are in HIm.
My mom is the oldest of 5 and my dad is the middle of 3. They were both raised in homes that were founded on the love of Christ. Even so, alcoholism was present among the extended families. Neither of my parents drank and impressed upon us to not drink. They saw what it did to their family and extended families and they didn’t want that for us. I have had a drink from time to time, but I never acquired a desire or taste for it. The times I did have one, was, for me, for the wrong reason. It had been a rough day, I needed to let go of some things, life was not what I wanted at the time and felt justified. Also, luckily, I’m a lightweight. A half a glass later and I’m done! One night, I was trying to be stealthy, I took a glass with ice up to my room. (I kept the good stuff in my cowboy boot in my closet!! Don’t worry, the boot is empty now! haha!) I closed my bedroom door, poured me a glass and sat in my chair to enjoy a little me time. It hit me as I’m sitting there, is this what I want me kids to see, be aware of, learn that it’s okay, to allow it into our family knowing the destruction it had on the generations before us? No, it is not. It was a cycle my parents worked hard to break and a cycle I did not want to start again. The cycle stayed broken.
Purging is hard, takes time, effort, intentionality. We have to be willing to admit that our “closet” is a disaster and it’s time to purge. We have to be willing to face what we don’t need anymore, and purposefully throw it out. It’s another clink in our chain that is broken and sets us free. On the bright side of cleaning out our “closet” is the reminder of the things we want to keep. The reminders of who we are, of whose we are. The reminders of our family before us, how they positively influenced us so we could do the same for the ones that come after us.
No need to delay. Open the door, start pulling stuff out, decide what to keep, what to pitch. Hang on to HIs love, His promises, HIs truths of who and whose your are.
Thanks for sharing a moment with me. We are purging together, in HIm.