“Want to hear something that’ll either make you smile or cry?”
Who asks a question at such a moment? Seriously.
I had just left the airport, saying goodbye to my eighteen-year-old son who was leaving on a two-year mission trip. I held it all together at the airport. In fact, I was pretty proud of myself. I’m not one who is inclined to a lot of emotion, but I kinda like the kid. And two years is a long time for him to be away.
As I sat in McDonald’s drive-thru (gross) for my husband to fill the void with a rubbery egg and cheese McMuffin, I received that provoking text.
You know that invisible force field we put around ourselves . . .? The one that help us keep up a delusional facade that we’re okay? The one that . . . if it has even one minuscule opening . . . it completely comes down? Yah. That one.
That rotten little text from my unsuspecting daughter obliterated my wall in less than a millisecond. The floodgates opened, and my forty-eight year reservoir of tears came rushing forth with unbelievable force. Embarrassed to be in the drive-thru and crying, I had to hide behind my dark glasses and pretend I was interested in something out the passenger side window.
This was only the beginning. When my husband dropped me back home and left for work, I was the only one in the entire house. I’m not sure that has happened since my first child was born, almost 30 years ago. I laughed the funniest, loudest, most heartfelt happy tears I’ve ever experienced. I was overwhelmed with joy by my son’s decision to dedicate two years of his life to God. Yes, I will miss him. But the tears really were just built up emotion and love that had nowhere to go but out through my tear ducts. And come they did. For a full thirty minutes. That’s a really long time for someone who doesn’t cry.
And then . . . I was done.
Feelings of relief and calm washed over me, and I felt more like myself again. Still tender . . . but more like a normal me instead of the tear-stained, stuffy nosed, laughing/crying me from moments before.
I said a quick prayer for direction, “Okay God. I’m done crying. I’m all yours. What would Thou have me do?”
Immediately the words came into my mind, “Clean the house.”
What was that?
“Clean the house.”
Rather startled, but willing to be obedient, I tackled my long-neglected home. The house that had patiently awaited attention for a couple months while we packed the two youngest for a 5-week pageant trip, moved a daughter out with roommates, moved another daughter and recently-graduated husband out for his new job, and now this son for his two-year adventure.
I devoted every minute for the rest of the day organizing, scrubbing, washing, cleaning, and shining our home. I then made a list of every deep cleaning project that still needed to be completed, and I assigned myself one thing per day for the next month. I have made tremendous progress over the last three weeks, and I feel wonderful!
Yes. I like a clean house. Yes. I like to be organized. Yes. It’s been very rewarding. But what has actually affected me the most is what it has done for my mind. My mind is finally clear again!
I have had the mental and emotional space to start dreaming again. To set new goals. To make a new chore chart for the family. To write. To create a new event. To update my website. www.stephaniefrancom.com To tweak my Instagram account. @stephaniefrancom I literally went from chaos and confusion to clear and calm. All from cleaning my house.
God’s message to me that day was timely. In His omniscient understanding, He took my despair and heartache and traded it for purpose and peace. Just because He can.
What little shelf or drawer or corner could you put in order today to start moving into that refreshing place of peace?