Friday, February 25, 2011

Jesus at the Dumpster

The dust is finally starting to settle over here after our recent move and I do apologize for not taking the time to post any new articles in the previous weeks.  For some time now, it has been on my heart to write to you and share how I encountered Jesus at the garbage dumpster. Yes, yes, I know, it is an odd statement, but a true one!
I was tired of digging in dumpsters.
It was on a Saturday morning and I was just beginning to pack our home to move for the second time in 10 months. My husband had asked me what I was doing that morning and I replied with a disgusted tone, “Digging in dumpsters to look for boxes, again, for the third day in a row.” (I was not happy about what I had to do that day!) My husband dropped his head when he heard my words. Although his head hung in shame, I was still able to see the grief and sadness on his face and in his eyes. Even though he did not speak the words that were in his heart and on his mind, I knew he was telling me he felt like a failure, that he could not provide enough money for us to stay in our rental home. I knew he was telling me how he was sorry that he did not have the monetary resources to even purchase boxes nor the time to go look in the dumpsters to get them. I know this man’s heart. He would do anything for me and our children, yet, at the time, I did not feel like he was doing enough to provide for my selfish needs, and that was what my nasty attitude conveyed to him. I know... how selfish am I?  By my tone of grumbling and complaining, I realized in that moment that I had torn down my house. I fell again and I missed the mark and became the foolish woman. “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Proverbs 14:1

The only thing I have control over is my character; my actions and my attitudes. Jesus wants us to respect our husbands and to encourage them and lift them up, not tear them down. Although I was not arguing with my husband over some decisions, I certainly was not building my marriage (house) up. It was not my desire that day to be a foolish or contentious woman, but that is how I acted. “It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.” Proverbs 25:24

As I set out that morning to literally frolic in garbage, I became so discouraged. I was tired of digging in dumpsters. I was overwhelmed with the thought of packing and moving again, only to face the possibility of another move, or homelessness within months after this move.  I was beat down with persecutions by family, friends and neighbors. I did not know if we would have money for our basic needs:  food, utilities, medications, or if/when my car would be repossessed. What made matters worse, just a few days earlier someone stole parts off my car which made it inoperable and posing a possible $3,500 repair bill. I felt in that moment that life could not get much worse than what I had been experiencing. I was losing it. I was going to that dark place of negative know the one. The place where you don’t want to hear comments like: this is just for a season, things will turn around, keep praying, etc. I did not feel like praying to Jesus that day. After all, what is He going to do? Is He going to come down off His throne and dig in the dumpster with me? Depression and despair were quickly becoming my friends once again.

I finally drove up to the last dumpster for the day and I could smell the foul stench of rubbish on me as I was walked over to the trash can. Interestingly enough, the sickening smell of refuse was all around me but it wasn’t until now that I had noticed and I thought, man I sure need a shower! As I walked up to the dumpster, the Lord prompted my heart and said, “Oh daughter of mine, you may physically smell repulsive right now and you may think your situation looks bleak, but what about those who do not know Me, those who do not put their hope and trust in Me, those who reject Me, those who will be spending eternity in hell? I heard my Savior loud and clear, in fact, I smiled when I heard His voice. I thought, “Wow, Lord, you met me right here.  (It was like Jesus was leaning up against the dumpster as I walked toward it in a down-trodden way.) "You knew I needed you today”, I thought to myself.  The "Great I Am" gave me a reality check, or should I say an eternal-reality check. I got back into the car and started to drive home and quite honestly, I wept for those who didn't know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

Every single one of us will go through tough times in life. Times when things don’t make sense. Times when you can’t hang on for much longer. Times when you ask yourself, “Does God really care about me”? I can’t even imagine going through life without having Christ by my side (or the times when He is carrying me because I can no longer walk!)

Was I going to be a sweet-smelling aroma to Him, He asked me? Would I still praise His name in the midst of all of this so others could see the hope, peace and joy I have? Or would I be a stench to His nostrils because of my selfishness, self-absorbed and self-centered actions and attitudes, He asked?

There was no reason for me to feel so discouraged that day. Why didn’t I put my hope and trust into Jesus at that time?

When you are faced with adversity, what type of smell will you emanate? Will it be a sweet smelling aroma or a foul stench? We always have a choice on how we will handle our actions and attitudes. As well, we have a choice in where we will put our trust. In whom will you put your trust? “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.” Psalm 9:10

Although I did not enjoy my time with the rubbish that day, I will never forget how Jesus spoke to my heart through this experience. Sometimes we need to go through hard things so we can experience more of Christ so we can be molded into His image.

He is so faithful too. He used the Body of Christ to drop off a multitude of boxes at my house the next day!

So, I encourage you to cling to Jesus when your world is filled with garbage and may you be a sweet-smelling aroma to Him as well!


Anonymous said...

Excellent encouragement my sister. You are being obedient to His calling to write and your encouragement to myself and others is priceless. I thank you for taking the time to write this blog it brings peace to my soul. Your sister in Christ, Brook

Anonymous said...

WOW this message spoke volume's to me. It's message's like this that make you take a deeper look inside yourself. God doesn't want us to be just hearer's of the word but doer's of what is right. Thank you my sister for doing just that! Joanna

Anonymous said...

Wow. Jolene. That was beautiful. You had sent it a while ago but I just got around to reading it now. What an image of our Fathers heart. We should be rejoicing!! I'm encouraged! I'm rejoicing!!
James 1:2
Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.