A couple of months ago, I decided that I wanted to set aside a special area of my house to pray, read scripture, work on my bible study, etc... I did not know that this idea was actually a common practice for those who have seen the movie, War Room. I have not. I was super excited to find my space and get it set up. Due to an odd design of our home, and by happy surprise to me, I realized that I could use one of the walk in closets in my bedroom. Yay me! I had figured out my space. I then quickly backtracked as I saw the mountain of stuff piled in that closet. This was my Christmas, Birthday, purses, jewelry, bags, odds and ends, closet. It was also the closet for all that stuff you have no idea what to do with closet.
A few days ago, I decided to go ahead and pull all of the stuff out of the closet and into my bedroom. I came to the conclusion that the stuff in the closet (now all over my bedroom floor) would need to be sorted, organized and put in a new location. The only suitable location was the small, smurf-door, side attic. Only one problem: the attic was filled with bins of old clothes, 16 years of bankers boxes stuffed full of receipts, tax returns, pay stubs, benefit explanations, etc... So the only logical thing to do, was to empty out the attic as well. I spent a second day unloading the attic. More stuff that I unloaded and piled into my bedroom floor, the upstairs hallway, the spare bedroom, and anywhere else the was a spot. We were seriously approaching hoarder status. You literally had to weave your way around, up and over piles of boxes, rubbermaid containers, trash bags and more. As of this writing, I am currently at half-hoarder status.
Today, I decided to tackle the umpteen bankers boxes. Upon opening each box, I had to decide what to keep, what to throw away, what to go to the shredder and what to sell. With each box came a new freedom as I made quick work of the throw away and shred and sell piles. Since I am not, in fact, a hoarder, it was easy for me to dump things that we no longer needed to hold onto. However, there was still plenty of memorabilia that I took my time reading, pondering, laughing over, tearing up over, and keeping.
One of the piles that I came upon, was from when I was the Women's Retreat Chair for our church. I was quickly flipping through the files when one of the lessons popped out at me. This particular retreat was built on really laying down our burdens, giving up our sin, asking for forgiveness, and coming boldly to the cross where Jesus is waiting. Suddenly, I remembered that retreat vividly. While I try to confront my mistakes and past discretions head on, there was a particular issue that I had been holding onto for years. I would ask forgiveness on my knees and then turn around and pick it up and carry it back into my everyday life. I simply could not let it go.
It was at this retreat that we talked about the story of David. David, "a man after Gods own heart". (Acts 13:22) David, hand chosen by God, a man that God hand picked and "God testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do." Well, David, being a man of free will, made some really really bad choices. He coveted his neighbors wife, he had an adulterous affair, he had the husband killed. David, selected by God, made these atrocious errors. In 2 Samuel 12:13 David confesses his sin: "David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has put away your sin; you shall not die." David, paid dear consequences for his sin. His sin was not without consequence, but even in the greatest of these sins, David was forgiven. He was forgiven!!
Back to me: I realized that my past mistakes were not anywhere near as grievous as Davids. It was in that moment that God spoke to my heart that INDEED ALL OF MY SINS were forgiven at the cross, when Jesus shed His blood to die for me. Romans 5:8 tells us: "But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners"!! My friends - GOD BROKE MY CHAINS that day. He reminded me of how loved I am. He reminded me that I am never too far away from him, to come home.
Just like the boxes I am going through, God wants us to put things in the "throw away" pile. He does not want us rooting through our trash and picking back up our sin, our mistakes, our past. He wants us to lay down the things that haunt us. He wants us to repent, to turn. He wants to break our chains and set us free.
Friends, if you are holding on to the mistakes of your past, won't you kneel down right now and pray for God to break those chains? Won't you, right now, ask for forgiveness and make the change to lay down your burden? Will you accept the forgiveness that was given to you and for you, when Jesus shed His blood at the cross?
Like tossing out tons of trash from these bankers boxes feels freeing, even more so when we throw out the trash from our past mistakes.
I love you, but more importantly so does the Lord!! I pray that you are set free today!!