Ok. That may be the longest title ever. But it’s necessary. On this journey of heart work, I’ve learned that vulnerability and transparency are incredibly healing. So, today I’m going to share a look at how I process all the heart clutter and my biggest heart matter of all.
Let’s start with the easy part. Some pictures of my system for clearing heart clutter.
So, what’s in these pictures?
- My beautiful cover. We’re all about simple here. I thought about printing something really beautiful, but this blog is about me being real and not a perfectionist. So, you’re seeing my new cover. It’s been blank for about two years.
- Tabs. These are how I organize my journal entries. I don’t always move between every tab, but I do try to switch topics when there’s a lot on my heart. It helps me to go back and review.
- More tabs. The tabs are Praise & Promises, Confessions, Family, Children, Church, Writing, Friends, Cursillo, The World, Goals and Marriage.
- Notecards and t0-be-filed entries. I keep a little pile of notecards and a bit of a to-be-filed section in the front of my binder. The cards are for people I’m praying for. I like to send a card to them. And I try to write hubby a card of encouragement each week. This is a game changer in marriage. Being intentional and really honest is hard face-t0-face, but there’s something about putting it down on a note that makes it a little easier. And he carries them around in his glove box (Swoon.)
Ok. So now for the hard part…
I’m sharing part of two of my journal entries because I cleared up some heart clutter this morning. Some big heart clutter.
I’m not afraid to share my faith with people. But one thing that sets me off on a mini panic attack is the question of “When did you get saved?”
I’ve struggled with this question for a long time. And it made me stay up nights about a year ago. So, I started praying about it periodically. I sought some counsel on it. And I finally have an answer. That’s what I’m going to share with you today. It took the removal of self-doubt (a favorite weapon of our enemy) and some real gut honesty to come to this answer.
Here’s what I wrote a year ago when I really began struggling with this question:
Dear Heavenly Father,
Thank you for leading my heart back to you. Thank you for your spirit of conviction. Thank you for calling my name and that leads me back to my thought. Why do I doubt my salvation so much in the church? I don’t want to be wrong about this. I know you are the guiding force in my life. I know you are near always. I know you provide everything for us. I know your son died on that cross for me. I KNOW these things, but I often feel uncertain in the presence of preachers and others who are sure of a date.
I gave it all up to you right after we got married and I joined your church. I believe it was a gradual process and my low moment was when I asked you to deliver me from my destructive decisions. You gave me my beautiful daughter. I know that was one of the greatest blessings on my life. But then I think back to the time I prayed for a man in my life who would not hurt me and protection from that destructive road of giving my heart away. Maybe it’s not important that I know a date. I know that you’ve been at my side through so much.
I remember a conversation in high school with a guy about a party spot. He said, “This isn’t a Bible thumper’s place.” I wanted so badly to be accepted, but you set me apart. I made a lot of wrong choices. I said a lot of wrong things and I felt wretched.
I didn’t know how to pray. I didn’t know what to do so often. I was so persecuted at school, but you led me through it without my knowledge. You led me through with no lasting wounds. You led me through a fire and brought me out refined.
You brought me through some tough times in college. It always seemed that when I stepped off the path, your conviction led me right back to your ways.
You gave me a lot of grace and protection and showed me mercy when I didn’t deserve it. You put a lot of people in my life to build bridges and renewal.
So, if I look at it, it’s not that important to know THE DATE. I know you are here and Lord of my life.
This struggle with the heart clutter shows me that I was doubting the beginning point. But that’s all that it was – a beginning point. The journey is the real story.
Here’s another passage from my journal that appeared about three months agoThis entry describes one of the hardest things I’ve ever walked through. It happened just six weeks after I rededicated my life to Christ on July 29, 2011.
Father, when I went looking for an escape from watching my husband fall short of his own pride, really both of us, your Spirit led me to Philippians 2. I wanted to figure out how to be humble. I wanted to know who Jesus is and what model to follow if I were going to follow Him. I guess the writer in me wanted a character sketch of Him. I wanted to know how to love someone how Jesus loves them.
And it’s radical to think you let me continue to fall before I found that love. After we lost the baby, I hated Warren. He didn’t feel loss and at the end of himself the way I thought he should. He was quick to say, “Ok, let’s move along and work the plan.”
Father, I didn’t want to work the plan. I wanted to fall apart. I wanted to be raw and in the valley. I wanted to drag a broken ankle along behind me and I wanted him to shoulder the burden of my injury. I wanted his heart to be cracked like mine. I wanted him to swoop in and heal it. I wanted him to fill in all those tiny fractures, but he just kept on moving. I realized from reading Philippians that he and I were not on the same page. You had humbling and cracking to do for both of us.
You wanted to fill in those cracks, not him.
You wanted me to depend on you. You wanted my heart to be filled with your love and to empty it of all its worldly notions of what marriage should look like.
Father, I learned so much about trusting you in that hard place five years ago. I learned what you wanted for my life. I learned that you had a small place of service for me to head – four souls. You gave me eternal work to do. You knew that I possessed an addictive mentality with work. You knew work and home is an obstacle for me. Thank you for showing me the humility and joy in pain.
Father, in many ways, I’m in the valley again. But healing happens in the valleys. You help us add strength when we feel like we can’t move forward one step. But you do move us forward or give us a good place to camp until we regain our strength. You are the one who walks for us when the ankle is broken. You are the cabin with fresh water and food – the kindness of a stranger.
Thank you for showing me that a tiny care package for someone else is good enough for eternity. You don’t want us (your children) to be the eternal resting place for others. You don’t want us to be the ones to climb out of the valleys with the travelers on our backs. You want us to give them a splint and supplies so they can continue on their journey. ~
So after all that clearing of heart clutter, here’s what I know.
Faith is a journey. We can make a declaration that we are sinners and invite Jesus into our hearts, which I did when I joined the church. But it’s bigger than that. That’s just the play button.
Faith builds upon faith. And it’s staying faithful in that journey that’s our testimony.
It’s believing every day with our whole hearts that Jesus died to remove sin from us forever so that we can enter into the presence of the holy God. A moment in time is just a dot, but our eternity under God’s wing is much bigger.
Thank you for joining me on my heart work journey today. I hope this story blesses you.
Today’s Heart Work Question: Is heart clutter hiding your testimony?
Today’s Heart Work Truth: Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (Psalm 86:11 NIV)