Saturday, September 29, 2012

Empty Spaces

Whenever there is an empty space in our home, no matter where it is, a natural phenomenon occurs.  Various things begin to migrate to that empty space.  It usually doesn't take very long either.  I'll finally empty the coffee table to dust it, but when I turn my back, here comes a happy little three year old with all of his cars lined up for the "big race".  The dining room table will be emptied and cleaned directly after breakfast, only to fill up again hours before lunch.  Crayons, play dough, toys, school papers.  It's quite an interesting array of items to say the least.  The kitchen counters are a notorious place for miscellaneous things to appear.  Besides dirty dishes that I've run out of room in the sink for, we tend to allow unread mail, advertisements, more school papers, art work, stray Legos and other toys to make a home there.  An empty stool will attract clutter.  A box will arrive from the post office, but will instantly become another place to store things. The washing machine and even the dog's crate can be magnets for clutter.   The children will clean their rooms and within minutes the nice empty floor will return to its original state.  My room is no different.  It tends to be the place I throw things in a hurry.  Now that we have a real bed frame again, I can shove that junk right under the bed.   So, wherever there is empty space in my house, I can pretty much bet that it won't stay that way for long.

So, I wonder if it's that way with my heart.  What kinds of things clutter my heart?  Sin?  Definitely.  Some sins are quite noticeable and others have a way of creeping in and setting up house without my knowing it.  Soon, I become so used to the "little messes" and the disorganization that I don't realize that I need to do a little house cleaning.  When God makes me aware of these cluttered areas, He lovingly leads me to repentance.  It's not comfortable at first to go through this process of washing, but when I come out on the other side, it's a wonderful feeling to be clean again and to start with a clean space. 

 Sometimes, my empty spaces need to be filled.  Filled with more time spent with Him.  Times when I'm just quiet before the Lord.  Times when I'm not uttering any prayers.  Just resting in Him. 

I need to fill those empty spaces with more time with each of my children.  That may mean a one on one date with a child, sitting down to read yet another book, hugging, or simply looking into their eyes and telling them that I love them, that I think they are pretty special. 

When there's an empty space, I need to make time for my husband.  After the Lord, he should be next.  How often I forget that.  When I feel like I'm being pulled in eight different directions, when I'm filling those sippy cups with water, making sure the kids are fed or are in relatively clean clothes, settling another argument, or assigning jobs, too many times, I forget that my husband needs to know that he is loved.  It can be a gentle touch, a kiss, a cup of tea or just some time alone, but I need to keep some space open for him. 

And, when those spaces need to stay empty of clutter, I still need to remember that God is there.  No space is really empty.  I know that when people practice yoga, they are told to empty their minds, but God isn't asking us to do that.  He says, "whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things"(Phil.4:8).  We are to fill our minds with Truth, with good things, with Him.  So, in a home, an empty space may look pretty, but it can so very quickly become cluttered with junk and disarray.  The same thing happens in our hearts.  Instead of trying to keep our hearts empty of the junk, fill it with Him.  He will clean us from the inside out and our hearts will be beautiful places that He creates.

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Take, me, make me
All You want me to be
That's all I'm asking, all I'm asking

Welcome to this heart of mine
I've buried under prideful vines
Grown to hide the mess I've made
Inside of me
Come decorate, Lord
Open up the creaking door
And walk upon the dusty floor
Scrape away the guilty stains
Until no sin or shame remain
Spread Your love upon the walls
And occupy the empty halls
Until the man I am has faded
No more doors are barricaded

Chorus:
Come inside this heart of mine
It's not my own
Make it home
Come and take this heart and make it
All Your own
Welcome home

Take a seat, pull up a chair
Forgive me for the disrepair
And the souvenirs from floor to ceiling
Gathered on my search for meaning
Every closet's filled with clutter
Messes yet to be discovered
I'm overwhelmed, I understand
I can't make this place all that You can


I took the space that You placed in me
Redecorated in shades of greed
And I made sure every door stayed locked
Every window blocked, and still You knocked


Take me, make me
All You want me to be
That's all I'm asking, all I'm asking

(Shaun Groves/Welcome Home)