I get up before most of my family, start the coffee, and take a long hot shower. Then I go down and grab a beautiful, intoxicatingly large mug of thick, black, strong brew and head back upstairs to finish getting ready for church.
Last Sunday was no different. Well, mostly no different.
Thad’s Achilles ruptured while playing hoops with Zach’s team a few days earlier. And despite the fact he wasn’t sleeping well or able to do much, he was choosing a positive attitude and inspiring me to do the same. And that morning, he was planning to take advantage of the quiet house to rest and gather strength for surgery later in the week. So I was thinking of ways to extend our absence to give him more time alone.
As I sipped, I hummed to the music playing inside my head, went through my to-do list, and started to put on my make-up. Downstairs, I could hear the boys waking and felt content.
The music came to screeching halt, the to-do list faded, and the mascara was forgotten.
See, we had a ½” of water in the basement the day before. And because of where the puddle was and how clean the water was, we assumed it was a malfunction in the furnace’s humidifier. So we disabled it, cleaned up the mess, and didn’t have any more issues.
I confess, upon detecting the foul smell and seeing the ungodly mess, I let a few unholy words slip between my lips. (Be thankful there were no pictures of that one.)
I felt the fatigue of the last several days crash down on me in full force. I felt defeated. Hopeless. I wanted to cry but couldn’t.
Add to that the extreme disappointment I felt about not being able to worship with my church family that morning; not to be able to see my friends and absorb their love and hugs—it was almost too much. It had been a while since we had been there and I was desperate to get back.
Instead, I was mopping up raw sewage and dumping it in the woods onto the drain field.
I was thankful for Camron though. He jumped to action and worked the shop-vac while I worked the mop. And once the mess was cleaned up, I disinfected everything—floors, handles, shop-vac, mop, bucket, shoes, everything.
And everything seemed to be good. We ran some water, flushed a toilet, and—nothing. Yes! We were good. If there was a clog, it must have pushed itself through.
Then a little later, someone flushed.
And the drain started to spew again. After that, every added bit of water, made it blow anew.
We called a plumber. But quickly learned everyone charged double for emergency service on weekends, so we decided to wait until morning.
First thing in the morning we called a referral who was supposed to be here at 11:00, but he never showed. So Thad rented a tool and cleared the clog himself the night before his surgery. It was so wonderful to use our drains again—to shower, flush, run the dishwasher, do laundry, etc.
With Thad now in a cast post-surgery, we got ahold of a different plumber who came later that same day. He used his powerful machine from the septic side of the pipe and completely cleared the massive clog, allowing over 300 gallons of trapped yuckiness to rush out of the pipe into the holding tank.
The time and attention it consumed to keep up with the symptoms was incredible. I don’t believe we would have been able to fix the problem on our own without the plumber’s heavy-duty equipment. We would have kept punching holes in the clog without entirely clearing it. Then those holes would get re-clogged later causing the drain to spew again.
When we have unconfessed sin in our life or a habitual pet sin we don’t want to give up, it’s like the clog in my main septic line. Over time it builds up gunk in our lives, making it harder and harder to expel the flow of excrement. And eventually, the consequences start to spew, creating a toxic mess of our life.
Or when we harbor a negative or critical spirit it makes it impossible for joy to reside in our hearts because all the available space is full of filth. Which in turn makes us bitter, resentful, petty, and angry. Which enhances our negativity and creates a vicious vortex that only God can break us free from.
Or when we habitually complain about everything—things not going our way, events not happening to our particular liking or circumstances that make us feel uncomfortable—we stop the flow of God’s grace dead in its tracks. We prevent ourselves from using our gifts and talents, from using the tools available to us to accomplish the tasks God has laid before us.
I don’t know about you, but there are many times I’ve been so focused on managing or reacting to the symptoms of my sin that I exhaust myself with the never-ending battle. I try to fix the problem myself, only to realize—it’s not working. Oh, I might get relief for a little while. Life may be able to get back to normal for a few days, but then—I’m managing the symptoms again.
We need to face our sin and call it what it is. And we need to confess it to God. Then we MUST repent of our sin; turn away from it and follow Jesus. These actions are like the plumber’s equipment, the break through the clog, open the pipe and allow the excrement to flow out so God’s love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness, and restoration can flow in. Then saturate yourself in His word.
Today’s Action: If you are feeling “clogged” in your relationship with Jesus, I want to encourage you to pray, asking God to reveal what needs to be confessed and repented of. If you feel comfortable, ask someone you trust to pray with you and for you. And to help keep you accountable.
Trust me, having pipes that run free is not something to take lightly.