Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How This "Jacked Up" Mom Found Freedom at Bratfest

Image Courtesy of Building 429/ Twitter
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."  Matthew 6:19-21 NIV
Have you ever had one of those days when God gives you a very clear message?  It's actually more than a clear message; it is a repeated message told to you over and over again.  It's so clear that you want to throw your hands up and say, "Okay, okay!  I get it, already!"

That happened to me...this past Memorial Day weekend...at a festival founded on the celebration of...
Let me set up the story a little for you first.

In three weeks I will be driving my trusty little red Impala into our new garage, attached to our new home, located in our new home state of Nevada.  For that reason, I was holding a garage sale at our current house here in Wisconsin this past Thursday and Friday.  We had several large pieces of furniture we wanted to unload before traveling across the country, as well as 10 years of  little girl clothes, old toys, and an assortment of unwanted  items that we had accumulated over the years.
Here's how Friday went for me. 
I opened up my second and last day of my sale by "slashing prices."  There were items that were still sitting there, (after I dragged them onto our black top driveway to bake in the sun for another day); and there was no way I was going to finish my sale with those items needing to be hauled back into the garage just to be put on a corner with a "FREE" sign slapped haphazardly on them.  
It worked.  I unloaded quite a few of those items.  I was happy...for a moment.
Before I was able to finish taking down my sale, the first moving company arrived to give me the estimate for transporting our prized possessions over miles of highway, up mountains, and across the plains.  I don't know if many of you have experienced this; but I started to feel shameful pretty much from the get-go.

I didn't feel shame in showing him our furniture, and it wasn't the plants, lamps, or photos hanging on the walls that made me cringe under his surveying eye.  
 It was what was inside the closets.
The first closet that brought me pangs of remorse was in Evie's room.  

It wasn't HER clothes; nor the sleeping bags on the top shelf.  It wasn't even the Easter baskets which we use only once a year.  
The shame came from a single brown-handled paper bag.
It had no identifying marks on the outside.  There was no way that the Estimator could have known what was inside.  But I knew.  I knew what the bag contained, and how long it had contained it.
Sealed in their original boxes, frozen in time, staring bleakly from their plastic prisons...Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion...and a cast of 5 other picture-perfect Mattel-made dolls were there. 
For nearly twelve years those dolls sat on a shelf in a brown paper bag.  Why?  At our apartment, I had them displayed.  But that was different.  I was younger, and I didn't have much of a "decorating style" yet.  Everything was "Wizard of Oz."  That was my style.

When we moved to our house though, I felt different.  I felt grown up.  I didn't want dolls to be displayed in boxes to dust just for the sake of keeping the collection.  So I put them in a bag, and I put the bag in a closet.  And now, this bag was going to be moved 1800 miles so it could be put in another closet?  On another shelf?  

Next we went to the closet in our master bedroom.  We opened up the closet in there.  1, 2, 3, 4 crates filled with women's shoes...a dozen shoe boxes on another shelf, and a row of shoes stacked on a shelf. 
Imelda...how much will you pay to have your shoes moved? 
It wasn't a costly collection.  I'm a bargain hunter.  However, it was a collection that spoke of regret, of holding on to mistakes in hopes of time healing those wounds. 

I bought them on sale...but I bought them impulsively, and when I realized that I had no reason to wear them, or realized they pinched my toes, I still would not give them up.  I was ashamed and decided I would hold on to them in order to someday justify the purchase.   
After the Estimator left, I picked Evie up from school and we headed down to Bratfest on Willow Island.  It was very exciting because for the first time in 31 years there would be a Christian music stage, and Building 429 was playing.  Let's look closely at the songs they sang and the message God gave me through them.

I see the world through my jaded eyes
I get frustrated when there is no Why
I put my focus on worthless things
Even the strong fall to their knees
God only knows what we all need
Life goes on, life goes on
But Your love will prove
All I need, all I need
I will find in You
Life goes on, life goes on
But Your love will prove
All I need, all I need
I will find in You
I press on... 
Accessed at  http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/building429/wreckingballpresson.html


Blameless, You have made me blameless
Sin has been made nameless
Doesn’t matter who I was before
I am
Shameless, You have made me shameless
Sin has been made nameless
Cause Your love has come and left its mark
And I am blameless
I’ll never change the man I was
But I believe grace because
Everything I tried to I hide
You took away and gave me life


Listen to the sound of hope
That's rising up over your old horizon
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound...
And listen to the sound of a new beginning of
This is where the old is ending
Listen to the sound, listen to the sound...


All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

...And that's how Bratfest 2014 saved me.  Freed me.  I get it, God.  Message received...

Take this world and give me Jesus...Quit clinging to crap...Quit clinging to mistakes hoping that I can justify them.  Quit clinging to stuff hoping it will fill a void in my life that can only be filled by my Creator.  

This IS the sound of a new beginning...this is where the old is ending...

With that being said, I better get onto eBay and start getting rid of that "old stuff."  

Pray:  Lord, thank you for your direction, for speaking to us through things like Bratfest!  Thank you for blessing us abundantly, and for your grace which covers even our most shameful acts.  Help me to remain in YOU and not in this world. Amen

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