For the past two months, I’ve been a woman possessed. A woman possessed by a mission to declutter every closet, cupboard, drawer, display case, basement storage cubby, and attic shelf in the roomy old farmhouse that’s been our home since 1991.
Because if I declutter now, our anticipated move to be closer to our kids in four years when my husband retires will be much, much easier. By decluttering now I also have time to make itemized lists of Goodwill donations and can request a receipt to take off next year’s taxes. What’s more, decluttering four years before the move means I can sell vintage items on ebay or Etsy and make enough money to pay for a moving van when the big day arrives.
But most importantly, decluttering is incredibly freeing.
Decluttering grants freedom from the burden of packing and moving stuff we haven’t used in years. It grants freedom from wondering what to do with stuff we don’t need or want. Decluttering grants our children freedom from the burden of dealing with old stuff if something happens to my husband or me.
The kids have said thank you more than once during this process.
The other day, I sorted through some mementos from our son’s NICU stay in 1982. A tumble of emotions–gratitude for nurses who loved our newborn, awe at the skill of the surgeon who repaired our baby’s esophagus, resentment towards the misguided policy that recommended paralytic anesthesia without pain medication for infants back then–bombarded me.
Suddenly, I was angry. Very angry.
With the medical professionals whose policies subjected my baby to hours of excruciating pain.
The anger opened the door to a dark, hidden closet deep inside of me. A closet cluttered with resentments toward professionals who didn’t listen when my husband and I voiced valid concerns about our son’s health. Drawers stuffed with guilt about our inability to advocate effectively for him. Shelves stacked with the slights of people who discounted the gravity of our situation. Those deep, dark emotions were weighing down my spirit.
Suddenly, I wanted freedom from those dusty burdens.
So I delved into those deep, dark, hidden nooks and crannies of my heart. I sorted the junky old stuff into two piles. One pile of hurts so insignificant and ancient they have no bearing on my life. Things to release and be done with. The other pile of hurts, much smaller than the first, consisted of items valuable enough to warrant an investment of my time. To rectify broken relationships. To prevent similar wrongs being perpetrated on other children and parents. Or to equip families to advocate well for their children.
Bit by bit, God decluttered my heavy heart.
Releasing the special needs burdens I’d packed and carried around for over 30 years was hard work. But between the Holy Spirit’s persistence and much prayer, the burdens grew lighter. My heart had more room for Jesus. More capacity for His word. More space for His light to shine on our special needs parenting journey. More reasons to thank God for caring enough to create in me a clean, uncluttered heart. More freedom to watch God work his Romans 8:28 promise out through our special needs parenting experience.
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,
to those who are called according to His purpose.
Does your heart need some spiritual decluttering? What special needs parenting burdens would you like to clean out of your life?
Photo Credit: stock.xchnge