cleaning house

:: a letter to myself ::

Oh, but they mock me.

The boots in the locker downstairs. They were bought and then used… and then silently exiled to the basement, out of sight and out of mind for all but a couple days a year. Too heavy but too expensive to admit it and now too old to return. So they sit downstairs and I force myself to wear them once a year and chide myself for being wasteful in between storms.

boots

The cups in the bottom drawer. Every kid has tried and used and rejected a different sippy. The opaque metal ones that curdle the contents when moms forget to collect them at the end of the day (week?). The grow-into-me one with the handles that drips too much and explodes when dropped from high chairs. The normal one that loses its valve every. single. time. The almost-grown-up versions, each with a broken handle or missing straw or half chewed-off bite valve. A fifty-dollar drawer full of non-matching, abundant annoyance… taking up space and growing contempt.

The pants that are my favorite but will never fit. Seriously. Like, never. I keep them because they’re perfectly fine but I am not, and giving them away means throwing away money and admitting they were a poor choice.

This tiny shoebox of a house is packed full of haunts that point to quick decisions, bad timing, and waste. I keep them like a penance. Make do, I whisper. Make it work and no one will know you actually want a take-back. That you bought in excess. That you didn’t think it through, didn’t do your research, didn’t use that appliance you thought would change your life.

Or.

Bring out your dead. 

Sometimes being free isn’t about healing childhood hurts or changing careers or making  a counseling appointment. Sometimes being free is about the simple, every day decisions. Guilt and shame hide in corners of our homes that we often deem too minor to dust. By the time we break, it’s that blasted sippy cup staring at you that makes you question your worth. It’s the boots, the scratched DVDs, the wilted veggies in the bottom of the fridge that wear you down. We’re surrounded by a hundred small decisions we wish we could take back, and they weaken our defenses to the greater battles in life.

Clean house.

Gather the rotted, the too small, the ill-fitting and be done. Make room. Do you need permission? I do. I declare a day of amnesty. No explanations, no defense, and cart the guilt out with the over-abundance of crap that has made itself at home thanks to your desire to keep it all together.

Let us be done.

Make room.

There is a child coming, who is a king. THE king. This is no time for distraction or shame. In fact, instead, this is the season of preparation. Clear the way, inside and out, for the Christ-child to arrive. There is no room for excess baggage, so start moving. Old, new, and everything in between that hurts your heart for the wrong reasons. Gather what binds you and send it on its way.

He is coming to set you free- not only from this broken world, but from yourself. However simple or ridiculous or prideful… whatever the reason those objects weigh you down… the best gift you can bring Him this season is a heart with room.

Now.

Who needs some boots?

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

16 responses to “cleaning house

  • Bev Vanderwell

    Ah, I need this post this morning. Thank you. I am going to make room for Him.

  • Bev Vanderwell

    oh, and your boots wouldn’t be size 10, would they? 🙂

  • Bonnie Mulder

    Oh, my goodness, Kate. I have the same boots (from LL Bean, only the lace-ups, and they’re a 9.5, Bev)! And they’ve sat in my attic on Cadillac and now on Orchard Hill for the exact same reason. I even convinced Nate that they were just right for him one winter and then put them back – even after buying myself a new pair of way-lighter boots. This is making we wonder if there was some subtle thing going on at camp in which we thought we needed man boots. But, yes, they are still in my house – nurturing guilt. Bev, if you want them, I’ll drop them off at your house, but I’m warning you that they feel like lead. Thanks for the deeper message here, Kate. Amen.

  • Carolyn

    Love this! As always, you have so beautifully written just what I needed to hear. Thank you.

  • Kim Aguilar

    I don’t know, sometimes, how it is possible that you can keep doing what you do; which is, to wrestle to the heart of a matter with words. Beautifully expressed, and oh my, can I relate.

    Last night, it was a bag of kale salad. That I purchased two weeks ago. (nose crinkle. sigh.)

  • campbell c. hoffman

    This. Is the best. I read this just after getting home from dropping half a dozen boxes at Goodwill, mostly kid’s old (or not so old) toys. And this was after they had been in the basement for MONTHS, because I kept thinking, ‘surely, there must be a better place for them. A family in need, a shelter, something. OR I could consign them, sell them at a yard sale. SOMETHING.’ But they, too, mocked me, and fed up with the clutter (in the face of new clutter coming with Christmas) I dropped them at Goodwill. So, that speaks to the material/physical part for me, for sure. And then… well, there is so much heart, so much in my soul that is clutter, and, as always, your words cut straight the path of His grace.

  • Chad Boss

    Well said. I’ve often equated stuff gathering dust with tolls, or taxes. Every time I look at that pile of stuff, I pay a price. A tax. A toll. A tiny pebble is added to the scales on the side of guilt. Why is it so hard to throw stuff out? I think it has something to do with an object at rest, tending to stay at rest.

  • Monica

    I have boots. Not L.L. Bean ones, but tall, no-heel black ones I bought because I was desperate to buy SOMETHING even though they weren’t exactly what I wanted. And I wore them exactly twice. Those boots are a small representation of a bigger issue — I need to make ROOM. Loved this.

  • Lizzy

    You put it so well Katie. Your way with words is amazing. The permission to get rid of this stuff. Oh how we (I) need it. Again and again. Thank you!

  • Missy

    Oh, for the room I long to make, and continue to pine for. I am trying, my friend. Along with you, I declare amnesty as I continue to let the light that the King Child brought with Him shine on all the Mistakes. I so needed this reminder that I’m not alone and that we can do this.

  • erica

    the first thing I thought when I read this was – i think those boots would fit me! and i could use them for my cold NH feet…

    hi everyone. i am Erica and i am a hoarder.

  • Margie

    “Sometimes being free isn’t about healing childhood hurts or changing careers or making a counseling appointment. Sometimes being free is about the simple, every day decisions. Guilt and shame hide in corners of our homes that we often deem too minor to dust. By the time we break, it’s that blasted sippy cup staring at you that makes you question your worth. It’s the boots, the scratched DVDs, the wilted veggies in the bottom of the fridge that wear you down. We’re surrounded by a hundred small decisions we wish we could take back, and they weaken our defenses to the greater battles in life.”

    This paragraph writes my life. This paragraph is why I had to hole up and re-prioritize for a month. My worth written in the hundred small decisions. May try to start writing again today, and may use this paragraph as a starting point.

  • Whitney cox

    I wish we could hang out for a day. You speak incredible amounts of wisdom and truth everything you write. You are real and honest. When I read your words I don’t feel like you are not speaking from a holier stance but as a sister who is right where we all are, if willing to admit it. Mayne you should come to Texas to lead a retreat for moms who need your wisdom!!!

    • texasnorth

      Aw, thanks, Love. I try very much to only speak about what I know. I’m glad it’s coming across that way. I still have so much to learn. As for the retreat- girl, I am in. Let’s do it 🙂

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