Monday, February 22, 2010

This is so not a pretty post...

Have you ever wondered about the name of my blog? Artfully arranged disarray... basically a mess, like a basket full of clutter with some pretty fabric on top to hide what's inside... that's me. I try to look good on the outside. If I know you are coming to visit, I will definitely be tidying up. On my blog, I try to be upbeat, encouraging, and write about pretty things. I always have a pretty picture or two. But this is definitely not a pretty post.

Ever since early adolescence, I have focused a good bit of time and attention on my hair. My hair is thick, and right now sort of long, and ends up everywhere in the bathroom when I brush it. I have found that I can't wash my hair more than two or three times a week. It just works better and looks better that way. I am somewhat fanatical about keeping my hairbrush clean and clear of hair. In the shower, I have this habit I developed some years ago. As I am washing and rinsing my hair, I gather all the loose hairs that end up on my hands and save them on the glass door. When my shower is done, I swirl them into a little bundle to throw away. I would rather dispose of them in the trash, than have them clogging up the drain. {I told you this was not a pretty post.}

Friday morning, I was reading my Bible, praying, and planning my day. I had ended my reading in Psalm 139...

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
~Psalm 139:23-24

I hadn't planned to wash my hair that day, but I felt led by the Lord to do so. I felt that He was telling me to "be cleansed". I cooperated and went to take a shower.

I was a little surprised, as I showered, that water began to build up around my ankles. I wondered why the shower was draining so slowly. Why was there a clog?

When I was done, I wiped down the shower walls. I decided to pull back the drain cover. I was suddenly, unexpectedly confronted by a black, slimy, smelly mess! I was shocked by what I pulled out of that drain. And disgusted. Handfuls of hair that over time had slipped, unnoticed, down the drain.

And I knew that I was looking at my own heart.

The stray hairs I capture during my shower as I run my hands through my hair, are like the little sins I confess as I go throughout my day. "Lord, forgive me for yelling at my kids." "Lord, I'm sorry I was weak and ate those cookies." "Forgive me, God, for being impatient with that clerk." I can feel good about myself because I am doing my best to live a godly life. Right?

Meanwhile, down the drain, over time those hairs that escaped were like the sins building up in my heart and putrifying in my soul. To a Holy God, sin is sin, and it's all bad. Being blind to sin doesn't erase it. The disgusting mess in the drain was like the unconfessed sins in my heart... judgement, pride, self-righteousness, laziness, fear, worry, unbelief, selfishness, unforgiveness... ugly and offensive.

In that moment, I thanked my Sovereign Lord for showing me the darkness of my heart, for bringing it into His glorious Light and Truth. I confessed. I repented. I rejoiced. And I put on gloves and cleaned the shower. I was cleansed.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
~1John 1:9

The same day, in another state, a sweet sister-in-Lord was overtaken by the darkness. She attempted to end her own life. I have no idea what pain, anguish, and circumstances led to her act. My heart is breaking for my friend and her family. I am praying because I don't know what else to do.

But I do know that our enemy wants us bound and defeated. He wants us to believe lies and turn away from the Truth of God's unfailing love. None of us is immune to his snares. In our own way, each of us is a mess. Any of us can fall into a pit.

So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!
~1Corinthians 10:12

I know that apart from Jesus, I can do nothing. I am thankful for His saving grace and His mercies that are new every morning. I am thankful that He loves me enough to show me my sin, and then He forgives me when I repent. This is comforting to know, because over time, my drain is bound to become clogged again. Because I am a mess.

Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afriad. The LORD, the LORD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.
~Isaiah 12:2

Each Tuesday, Emily at Chatting at the Sky unwraps the gifts of ordinary days. I am linking up with her this week.


dawn said...

hey terrie! i am so behind in reading blogs these days, wow! so i just spent some time catching up on yours!! what a praise about your hubby's job!! i am so excited how God worked in that situation for you and your family! i love your valentine's - they are awesome!!

and lastly, this post was not very pretty, but so open and so real! thank you for sharing from your heart! i was touched by what you wrote!

i am thankful for you, my real life and bloggy friend!!! have a great week!!

Bina said...

My first visit...unannounced as it was...and I can say that what was "unpretty" about this post is what made it so powerful!

Praise God for His amazing ability to take the disgusting clogs and turn them into lessons that resonate strongly enough to invoke change!

Was a pleasure to meet you and hang out at "your place"...and I never saw a mess, not even once. :)

Unknown said...

I beg to differ...I think this was a beautiful post. The cleansing made it so.

Having also been gifted with very thick hair, I can completely relate to the analogy....and it really got to me! Thank you for sharing it today.

(Visting from Tuesdays Unwrapped)

Southern Gal said...

I don't think I've ever visited you before. Can I say, "Wow!" Your description of the little sins that slip by made me suck in my breath. I have some cleaning to do myself. Thankful that you shared that.

dawn said...

wow. That was a disgusting (smile) and meaningful metaphor that will stick with me. My mom loves word I am going to send her over.

I have hair shedding issues in the shower too. :) And I have some examining to do of my clogged heart as well. Thanks!

Amy said...

I thank God everyday that he can take the "unpretty" and turn it into something beautiful. We are so blessed that He washes all our clogs away. Taking some time today to examine what I need to take to God for His cleansing.

miel & company said...

the hair in the drain is such an ugly thought and yet it really illustrates your point. thank you for not being afraid of the ugly so that you could keep it real for the rest of us.

Alyssa said...

Wow, this post spoke directly to my heart.
Thank you for being straightforward & honest - even if the truth is sometimes ugly!

God bless,

Anonymous said...

your story about your hair is incredible ~ really enjoyed reading it.

I am with you. Sometimes we just need to stop and listen to what God is telling us.

The other day on the way to work, I had left later than my normal time. I was a little anxious because I was going to move from home in with a family member in a few days. I leave very early in the morning so I don't get caught in the normal morning busy traffic.

As I am approaching the highway stack, to the right was the most amazing sunrise I have seen in a very long time. The sunrise was peeking through so bright between the cloudy sky and cityscape. Brighter than I ever remember on my drive before.I knew right then why my drive to work was delayed.

It brought tears to my eyes. The rest of the way I was thanking God for allowing me to see that spectacular view and thankful for the day that He gave me. I knew right then why my morning trip was delayed.

I will cherish that view for a very long time. When I got to work, before I went into the building, I prayed and thanked God for my delay. God wanted to let me know that everything would be ok. That He is always there.

The crazy part of this is, I am not an hourly employee, I don't have to punch in or out. As long as I do 8 hours it is all good. Normally I do way more than 8 hours in a day and way more than 40 hours in a week.

Big {{hugs}} to you Terri!..

Scooper said...

I am the same way with my hair so I could totally relate to your analogy. So true, so true. {From one "Mess" to another.}

Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home said...

Thank you! This is exactly what I needed to read today.

Richella Parham said...

"So not a pretty post." Amazing how we can get to thinking that we can just slap some pretty fabric on our lives and pretend that the mess isn't there, huh?

Thank God for the chance to be cleansed from the inside out. A striking metaphor, Terri.

Kimberly said...

We're all a mess aren't we? I think being aware of it makes me appreciate grace in a way that I never could before. Great post!

Lynn Cowell said...

Great post...He can speak to us any where in any way...for us two it's in the bathroom :)

Jenny said...

Hi Terrie,
That was a great post! I recently have realized that all I was confessing where my surface sins, not the underlining cause of them. Big, painful difference!


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