Renovations

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My best friend and I have often joked about how different our ideas of a clean house are. She is a deep cleaner. She enjoys the floors scrubbed, the sinks spotless and the rugs washed. Often times, a stack of magazines will need to be moved in order to scrub the floors, or a pile of clothes might need to relocate for the rugs to get soaked, but the deep cleaning is important to her. Now in my house, deep cleaning is something that happens only when my sweet sister-in-law comes over to help. But I hate clutter. When I clean, I don’t get the floor wax out (I honestly don’t even know how to use that stuff, sorry mom). I get boxes and garbage bags out, so I can throw stuff away. I don’t like piles of dishes, piles of clothes or piles of anything visible to my eye. I like the kitchen counter cleared off (even if the dirty dishes are in the sink), the living room floor has to be free of stuff, and my room…well even if the clothes are not hung up, they are off the floor and on a chair. She and I have often laughed at how we, combined, would make the perfect housekeeper.

My mind works best with order. Everything has its place. I will survey a room and see what still needs to be kept and what can go to the curb to make my life simpler.

Before the accident, I had most of my life clutter free. I knew where things belonged, everything had its place and if something seemed to be taking too much space, I would remove it. I didn’t take on tasks that I couldn’t complete with excellence, I didn’t say yes to requests, unless I knew I could carry them out. Now, living in a post-accident, state of mind, my answer to most everything is “I don’t know.”

I don’t know what a good day looks like.

I don’t know how I’m living without my Grace.

I don’t know why I’m not angrier.

I don’t know who is to blame.

I just don’t know.

Right now we are in the middle of a minor renovation. A small office area outside of Evie’s room is being transformed into a lounge area. She wanted somewhere to watch movies with her friends, hang out, and she also wanted a bench that could be made into a bed, so that her friends could have a place to sleep.

Because of that renovation, my house is cluttered. There are boxes filled with DVDs in the living room, piles of papers on the desk, and everything that doesn’t have a spot to go, is sitting on Evie’s bedroom floor.

But my house resembles my heart right now. Nothing has a specific place, everything is out of order and I desperately want to declutter, but I can’t. I’m learning, even though it hurts, that there is no order in a house of grief, there is no cleaning up piles of tears, I can’t throw away memory’s, even the tiniest ones, because memory’s are all I have now.

These are the moments that God reminds me that He has a perfect plan. He will clean things up, in His time, and He will teach me lessons in the midst of the clutter, if I will listen. Even though I want to fix this, I can’t, but He can. Daily I hand my clutter back to Him because I just don’t know what else to do with it, but He does.

God is good, in my best friend’s house, where the floors are clean; and God is good, in my messy, cluttered, house. My house is in the middle of a renovation, but so is my heart, and nothing is where it should be, but God is still good.

 

Renovations

The Little Comforts

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Our Grace was saved at a very young age. It was never something she questioned much. Jesus died for her sins and that was it. No doubts about Him ever really weighed on her. It actually bothered her that people didn’t see the simplicity of salvation. We taught her that the Bible is the inherent Word of God. We might not understand all that it says, but all the it says, is true. Because of her faith, questions about where she went to be that moment in January, are non-existent. Grace is where she knew her true home was, with her Savior.

God has given us comforts, tiny buds of life on this winter tree of grief. No one can ever hurt her where she is at, a tiny bud. We have no more worries about her future, a tiny bud. We have seen how many lives she had touched, how many people she reached out to in her 17 years, a whole branch of buds. God deposits these comforts periodically, I think it helps in the “binding the brokenhearted” process He talks about.

Repairing anything broken is never easy. Binding something takes a lot of work. Right now, I think He is gathering the right utensils, prepping the area and getting us ready for the long process of healing. A process that could take years and years. And once He is done, a scar will still be there, hopefully visible to the world, a reminder of what we came through, a reminder of His goodness and faithfulness and love.

A scar that will become a testimony…

The Little Comforts

How Could You?

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Right before the accident, the girls and I began a really annoying, but funny to us, habit of answering every question with a question. It really only worked between the three of us, because other people would quickly find no humor in what we considered hilarious. One of those things you do as a family, that only works with your family, because they are your family.

We all have them. When I was young it was family Bible reading time. My sister Lisa is slow, but every time we sat down to read our Bibles (usually in Ezekiel, my dad’s favorite book), Lisa would finish her reading in less than 3 minutes. She would close her Bible, zip it up, and then begin to watch each of our faces until one of us (usually me) got annoyed. I remember, on more than one occasion, getting mad at her because there was no way she read her chapter faster than the rest of us, and “seriously Mom, why is she staring at me again!”

Be it family meetings that are supposed to be serious, but end in laughter, family game nights, that you all find absurdly entertaining, but outsiders seem confused, or the nighttime Conga line to your bedroom (another family tradition in the Pochodaj home). We, our families, our personal, small units of tied together yarn, balled up in the same home, share secrets, joys, failures, fun and jokes that other people maybe don’t understand or maybe just don’t care about. It’s what makes each of our families distinctive.

So answering a question with a question goes something like this…

“How was your day today?”

“How do you think my day was?”

 “Can’t imagine it was better than my day. Want to hear about it?

“If I wanted to hear about your day, don’t you think I would have asked?

You can see how this could irritate people, right? But we had fun with it.

I mention all of this because, the most common question that I have heard in the past month, can really only be answered with a question.

“How can you endure a hardship like this?

“How can I not?”

As believers in Jesus, our ever present help in time of need, what other option do we have but to endure. And not only endure, but eventually thrive again. John 16:33, which I have clung to this past month, has been a scripture of healing to me for years. I have quoted it countless times. I have a beautiful plaque of it hanging above a doorpost in my home (like the Israelites were instructed to do). I have broken it down, memorized it, digested it and lived in its promise for as far back as I can remember. I actually think that my friend and I made a song to go with it when we were just kids.

“These things, I have spoken unto you, that you might have peace, in this world you shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome this world.”

What this verse does not say is that life will be easy, free of harm, disease, chaos, fear or worry. It won’t be void of tragedy, war, anger or injustice. Tribulation, according to Webster, can be defined in a sand storm of awful ways…suffering, distress, trouble, misery, heartache, woe, anxiety, agony and even grief.

But so often, when Jesus spoke, it was a bad news first, good news is coming, approach.

“Be of good cheer,” (or take heart, or like the Amplified Bible says, be courageous, confident, undaunted and filled with joy). “I have overcome the world.”

What is here, what is now, is suffering, no doubt, for my family, for other families, and for countless people, in countless situations, around the world. We need to remind ourselves daily (sometimes hourly or minute by minute) that Jesus overcame death, and in turn, overcame this world. The job began at the cross, but was completed with an empty tomb.

Our hope can not be in our prayers. Our hope can not be in our worship. Our hope can not be in how good we are or who we help. Our hope can only be in the finished work of Jesus Christ, who challenges us daily to live victoriously in what seems like defeat, to live joy-filled lives, in our saddest and darkest moments and to live courageous in the face of tribulation.

How can you endure this kind of hardship?

With Jesus, how can I not?

How Could You?