Cleaning out the Junk + Giveaway!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The following is a guest post by Megan, who blogs at The Pearl. She is a beautiful writer and encourager, and I am honored to have her here. She is also generous. Check out the giveaway at the end!


I was having coffee with a good friend the other day and we were reminiscing about what the Lord has done in each of us over the past few years. She reminded me of something a mutual friend had shared in our mom’s group. The friend had shared how motherhood, with its sleepless nights and changes to our bodies tends to bring our “junk” (sin, wounds, fears and weaknesses) to the surface. She said you can either face it or shove it back down deeper. I don’t know if every mother can relate but I can wholeheartedly say, “AMEN sister!” I found this to be particularly true after the birth of mysecond son, born in April 2010.

I felt completely overwhelmed by the challenges I faced after he was born. It retrospect the colic, seemingly constant discontent and the poor sleep schedule we faced with our little guy wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But because of my “junk” that was coming to the surface, it felt almost unbearable at times. By God’s grace I sought out some help in other women, a Christian counselor and some really good books. The Lord began revealing two key “ingredients” to healing some of the “junk” in me:

Thankfulness and receiving.

Now before you think, “I’m a pretty thankful person and I don’t have a problem receiving,” let me challenge you with something Ann Voskamp wrote in her book One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are:

“I, too, had read it often, the oft-quoted verse: ‘And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Ephesians 5:20). And, I, too, would nod and say straight-faced, ‘I’m thankful for everything.’ But in this counting gifts, to one thousand, more, I discover that slapping a sloppy brush of thanksgiving over everything in my life leaves me deeply thankful for very few things in my life.”

I think Ann is on to something! Before reading her book I know I lived in that place of being deeply thankful for very few things. I, too, have started a list of the gifts God gives each day. Slow but sure I am praying that the Lord will change my perspective and give me a truly grateful heart.

On to receiving. I believe thankfulness opens the door to receiving from the Lord and others. Ann described ingratitude like having clenched fists pointed at God. Thankfulness is what opens our hands to receive His grace and His love.

Because receiving is really about surrender.

The Bible is God’s love story to His people. To you. To me. But so often we read it through lenses of unbelief. We begin to sound like the enemy. Does God really see me as His beloved child? Does God really say that I am an heir in His kingdom? Did God really say that everything He has, He gives to me? That all the authority He has, I have too? That I would do even greater works than He did? Too often we believe the truth for others and maybe even say we believe it for ourselves, but we live our lives like we aren’t really children of the King of Kings, the Great I AM, the Creator, the Healer, the Comforter, the Lover.

We live as though we have to earn our position; we have to earn His love. And so we strive. We strive to do all the right things. But the Lord is showing me that His kingdom, His ways, are more about being than doing.

For me this means laying down my doing and confessing my unbelief to Him. I have asked Him to come and heal the areas, the wounds, the sin, the “junk” in me that has been keeping me from living as His child. And now I am practicing just being. In my quiet time with Him, I’ve let go of all expectations and my goal is just to receive and sit with Him. In my day to day if I feel that familiar urge to strive, I take a deep breath, examine why I am feeling this way and turn my gaze to the Lord. There really isn’t a formula for receiving. For me it has come through confession, being still and through thankfulness.

Through thankfulness and daily counting the gifts, I have opened my hands and my heart to receive His love for me. Receiving His love has opened the door to healing. Healing has opened the door for truth to reign in my innermost being. And truth?

Truth has set me free!

And while I will always be a work in progress (part of the reason I love Courtney and her blog), I know that some of my “junk” has been displaced by the Father’s love and I am no longer striving after God. I am receiving His love, resting in His peace and presence and hoping to bless others (especially two little boys and one great husband) through His love in me!

Questions:

What have you found helpful in dealing with some of the “junk” that motherhood can bring to the surface?

What is something, big or small, that you are thankful for today?

Giveaway!

Would you like to win a copy of One Thousand Gifts? There are three ways to enter:

(1) Leave a comment answering the questions, above.

(2) Sign up to follow Megan's blog and leave a separate comment (here) telling us you did.

(3) Share this post on your blog and leave a separate comment (here) telling us you did.

Thank you to Megan for this awesome opportunity!

Important P.S. - This giveaway will stay open until 9:00 p.m. (EST) on Tuesday, August 9th and the winner will be announced on the morning of Wednesday, August 10th!

___________________________
Megan has lived most of her life far too seriously but thanks to her wonderful husband and two litte boys, she is learning to lighten up and laugh at herself. Whenever she gets a few free minutes, Megan loves to try new recipes, get outside and take any opportunity to read and learn, especially about holistic living and cooking or helpful organizational tools. You can read more of Megan's wisdom (seriously, she is fantastic!) at her blog, The Pearl.


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13 Comments »

13 Responses to “Cleaning out the Junk + Giveaway!”

  1. Suzanne RichardsonAugust 3, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Dealing with 'junk' is certainly a life-long process. Deep breathing and taking a moment to focus on my current season helps me to remember that whatever I'm dealing with at the moment is just that, part of an ever changing landscape, and that a new life season will bloom soon enough. 
    Today I am thankful for the smell of pluff mud in the marsh.

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  2. Suzanne RichardsonAugust 3, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    Enjoyed this guest post and excited to add Megan's blog to my Google reader! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity!! I have started reading Ann's book (enjoy her blog daily) and I wanted to have time to process her words but the library said I had to return it! :(  It's been on reserve for months.

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  3. I'm a Megan groupie who came over from The Pearl...
    Recently the knowledge that I'm not in control has really started to sink in and change me.  I can't control my kids or my husband or any situation.  What I control is me and my reaction to the situation.  It's sort of been revolutionary...
    Today I'm thankful for a really great opportunity for my husband...and God's provision.  And also, that my home is not infested with earwigs.

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  4. I am a soon to be mom whose husband is deployed to Kuwiat at the moment and I have had a bunch of "junk" start to surface. I am thankful for the situation I am in so I realize the "junk" I have that I did not know was there and do something about it before I pass it on to my husband and my child. Things I am doing to deal with the "junk" is... I am currently on the search for a Christian Counselor and I joined a mom's group through my church. I also talk about it with my husband and some close friends. I feel just talking and getting it out in the open is helpful. Talking does not get rid of it but it gets it to the surface so I can not shove it down again. Thank you Megan for sharing. 

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  5. Suzanne WestenhoferAugust 3, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    I'm not a mom so I can't answer the first question but I can say that I'm so thankful today for my health. Too often I take for granted that I am able to open my eyes in the morning, hear the dogs barking, and run on the treadmill. I need a reminder to be thankful for these and many other blessings the Lord has bestowed upon me.

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  6. Suzanne WestenhoferAugust 3, 2011 at 4:13 PM

    Following Megan's blog now. Love the colors and personal stories!

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  7. I think you're right in your assertion that we have a choice to deal with or bury the junk that comes out in our lives.  Like you, I'm trusting God to help me deal with it all.  Life is never easy, but when we face the truth and live in it, we can be so free!  Thanks for sharing.

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  8. The "junk" of life is a constant and ever-changing challenge in life.  I have found that I need to fully rely on God.  He is always challenging us to grow and learn.  Sometimes dealing with the "junk" is just putting one foot in front of the other, not striving to understand but JUST trusting God. 
    I am thankful for so much in my life.  I thank God for sparing my life in a motorcyle accident.  I am thankful for God's grace carrying me through loosing my parents and mother-in-law.  I am thankful for a wonderful husband, who God has taught me to love and appreciate more every day.  I am thankful for three wonderful children, a beautiful daughter-in-law, and two precious grandsons.  I am thankful for God's abundant provisions in my life.  I am thankful God NEVER gives up on me...

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  9. I posted a link to Megan's post on my blog this morning :) Thanks for the giveaway!

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  10. These are all such wonderful things to be thankful for - thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Thanks for commenting, Christen.  You and your husband will be in my prayers!

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  12. What a great post! I have found that getting up early and having my "quiet" time with God really helps with all of my junk. The definitely definitely does not go as smoothly when I skip the quiet time. Today I am thankful for a fun vacation with cousins! 

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  13. Congratulations, Caroline!  You won!  Email Megan at megan(at)worldwidelighthouse(dot)com to get the book :)

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