[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
Something profound happened to me just before Christmas. I had one of those ‘Aha’ moments that come to people to help them in their decision process. As people were doing their last minute shopping for Christmas and starting to cook their Christmas lunches one could literally feel the excitement that can only be brought about by Christmas. There was much celebration in the air. My husband chose to do something that he has done countless times before but that was more significant for me and left a lasting impression this past Christmas Eve.
As in any family and house there are piles and piles of stuff that gather — mostly unwanted. They range from things that are no longer being used by the family because they are broken and unfixable to things that a family no longer wants but can be a blessing to other people. In my family we put these items as well as cut grass, leaves and fallen branches in black plastic bags. For weeks the sight of these black plastic bags behind our house and garage were a constant reminder that something had to be done to remove them. Well this particular Christmas Eve my husband organised a company to come with their truck to remove the stuff.
Like everybody else I was busying myself with Christmas preparations. I noticed men going back and forth to the back of my house. Some were literally carrying the black plastic bags and taking them to the truck that was parked just outside my kitchen. One of them passed my window and I noticed that he had put the unwanted rubble in a wheel barrow and was wheeling it away. For a split second I froze and stopped what I was doing as there was something profound about seeing that image — the image of my unwanted stuff being wheeled away. I literally felt relief about seeing those bags going…leaving our home.
As we are in the first days and weeks of this New Year there are things that need to be thrown away because they do not serve one anymore. They are fallen leaves and branches!
There is emotional drainage from anyone’s life that happens whenever you see a place with hoarded stuff. Behind my house where those black plastic bags were there is a washing line, so every time one goes there one was confronted by piles of unwanted things. It was refreshing for me after Christmas Eve when I went to that area and saw a clean space. It brought a different kind of energy to my soul. That is what is needed sometimes in our marriages…a clean slate. There is so much people are hoarding in their hearts. Years and years of pain and neglect, years and years of feeling rejection and disappointment at unfulfilled expectations!
Maybe you are hoarding a memory of a lost loved one. A person you loved so dearly in your life and you lost them through death, through divorce, or they left you for someone else or you are married to them but they don’t seem to love you anymore or seem to care much about what is happening to you or pleasing you.
You constantly relive what was but what is no more. You long for the laughter that used to fill your home. You long to see the loving stare from your spouse, the one that spoke volumes of his tender gentle love towards you. You long for his embrace, or you long to see the gentle woman that used to care for you so affectionately. Where have those days gone? What stopped and why did those things stop? What went wrong? You wonder if you will ever have that again or you will have to stay with the shadow of your once vibrant, loving marriage.
A clean slate
Won’t you let go of the pain; the rejection; the disappointment and the hurt? Give it to the One who will wheel it away. He is far more willing and able to take the “rubbish bags” of your past and give you a clean slate. He will give your marriage a fresh new beginning. God is always doing a new thing. You will need to have an honest talk with your spouse about what does not work in your marriage. If you leave the things the way they are they will never change. The things that were removed from our house on Christmas Eve were things that different members of my family had thrown there at different times. They didn’t land on that pile by themselves. They were also removed from our home by the removal truck because someone initiated that. For change to come to your relationship and to your home someone has to initiate the change. Decide that at the beginning of this year you will be the one who starts the process of healing. Be the one who brings about the process to “stuff being wheeled away”
There is particular item that caught my eye on that truck, maybe it was because it was on top of the other rubble. It was one of those inflatable pools. That pool used to bring such happiness to our children. We have memory after memory of the children playing in that pool. Memories filled with joy and laughter as they or their friends played and took turns enjoying the water. That pool became a welcomed friend to my kids in the Pretoria heat. This beloved pool, all shrivelled up, now a pitiful shadow of its once glorious self was on top of a truck about to be taken away! Why? Someone had pricked a hole so it could no longer hold the water.
What in your life that used to bring such happiness and joy has turned to disappointment? Did somebody put a pole in the walls of your heart thereby sucking life, joy and happiness out of you? Are you are still hanging on to the disappointment, to the pain, to the hurt as it is draining the life out of you?
Life and love
There is a life to be lived. There is s family to love. There is a spouse to love.
When those rubble removers came they only took things that were no longer serving us. They did not take people; they did not take our home but things in our home that we were not really using — things that were broken, toys that were broken, grass that was cut and branches and leaves that had fallen. There is you and the assignment that God has called you to fulfil. Look at your life, your marriage and relationships and see what habits, what actions, what words no longer benefit your life and marriage. Decide today, at the beginning of this year to eliminate those from your home. Purpose to start this year picking up the dirt in your relationships — maybe it is lack of care, careless words you use to hurt those you love, lack of prayer and seeking God’s purpose for your home. Decide to eliminate pride from your marriage and an unteachable, unforgiving attitude that seeks to always bring strife and division in your marriage.
Why would you want to hold on to anger; bitterness and unforgiveness when they are draining life out of you? Why would you hold on to the hurtful memories of the past; hating yourself for missed opportunities to correct the wrongs in your past. Let those things go. You only have today to begin to design the kind of marriage you want. The marriage you signed up for. It is within our power to do all we can to bring about change that is so desperately needed in our marriages. Removal trucks do not throw away valuables; those if not used are kept in storage to be used in future. Know what to keep and what to throw away. Do not throw away years and years of building a marriage and a family when you can decide to throw away and “wheel away” the attitudes that don’t serve your marriage and family well.
Start afresh this year!! God wants to do a new thing and He can’t until you give all that is holding you back to Him. Cast your burdens on Him and He will give you rest. He will give you a clean space in your heart where you can feel joy again. He is the expert in second chances. That is our God! He excels at giving second chances.
Until next time!!! Have an awesome 2016!!!