Repurposed Regret

2012: I’ve been plunged into the depths of the 19thcentury. It’s awful here. There are clothespins. Evil clothespins, taunting me from the clothes they hold up on the clothesline, which I happen to have because this house is older than my grandmother. I mean, I never thought I’d have to USE it. I never imagined clean laundry would have anything to do with the weather, but since the tragic loss of my dryer, the two are no longer mutually exclusive.

I exaggerate, of course. There is something satisfying about taking clothes from the washer and hanging them out in the sunshine to dry. And it could be worse. I could be hauling my clothes to the creek to scrub against rocks. That would lose its novelty before it even began, let me tell you. But it got me thinking about how much I take convenience for granted.

There’s a reason women used to not work outside the home. How could they? After they cooked, cleaned and did laundry, the day was over. If my dishwasher breaks, I’m jumping into oncoming traffic. Even in my current state, I’m better off than most people in the world. So why do I get irritated by the slightest setback? I read Jen Hatmaker’s book, “Seven”, and it convinced me of what I’d suspected all along: I’m kind of a spoiled brat. Read it. It will change your life. But be ready to feel convicted. 

The Holy Spirit has to remind me every day that I am not the center of the universe. He had to tell me that today, while I was stuck in traffic (in my defense, paving the road and painting stripes AND mowing simultaneously? Why?!) then again while waiting in line to pay behind an elderly lady who was in no hurry whatsoever. (I hid just in case Oompa Loompas were on their way to teach me a lesson.)

What I have come to realize is that God uses those minor inconveniences to train me for the major ones. Just when I think I’ve had all I can take, I realize that thing was nothing compared to this new thing. It really is true that no experience is wasted. Somehow they all relate back to our purpose. Don’t ask me how, I just choose to take Him at his word and trust that one day I will understand. In the meantime, I’ll kick it old school and hang my clothes out on the line. Addison, if you’re reading this, you must be mortified, and that makes it all worthwhile.

Fast forward to present day:

Garrett Kell preached this morning and reinforced the idea of this former blog. None of the negative things we endure are ever wasted. In fact, he made a wonderful point: they are the very experiences that make God’s grace in-your-face real, because without them we would not be able to truly appreciate the enormity of grace. Job didn’t get restored because HE was good, he was restored because he repented and GOD is good. There’s a difference. 

I spent the afternoon with my brother. We walked and talked about our lives, our shared past and why we (mostly me and Alyssa) have chosen to do some of the foolish things we have chosen to do. Our parents made some choices that affected our ability to develop emotional intelligence until much later than our peers, but my siblings and I share a common belief that has held us together all these years, and that is forgiveness and a desire to enjoy what time we have with our family before it’s too late. I never want anyone I love to die not knowing how much I care. Equally, I never want anyone who abused my love to ever feel like they’ve been victorious. In fact, just the opposite is true; everyone who has attempted to abuse anyone is now part of a larger story of redemption. 

God wastes nothing. I don’t claim to fully understand, but know this: everything you and I go through has a greater purpose. Let us never lose sight of that truth, and may we always believe that on this side of heaven or other, there will be a glorious unfolding and everything will make perfect sense.

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