About the middle of last week the Lord began speaking to me to clean my house. Now, this was no small order.. for starters, it is a very large house. I have two large dogs that get hair everywhere and sometimes track in dirt and burrs from our yard. Ed has his own unique filing system which often ends up with large piles of things in unlikely places.. the floor, the kitchen table, etc). And I work a full time secular job (to pay the bills) in addition to another full time ministry job, so I don't have alot of spare time or energy. Over the past month, the house had gotten very cluttered and very messy. I would have truely been embarassed to have company.
I began praying for the Lord to provide a trustworthy (and recently priced) cleaning lady. In response, God began prompting me to clean my house. Ed was away that week on a trip back East to help his parents move. So it really was a very logical time to clean.. since no one was home to mess things up as I was in the process of cleaning them. It began on Monday.. God prommpted me to start cleaning ... but I ignored Him. He prompted me again Tuesday morning, but I had an evening class and did not get home until after 9:00 PM. The next day He prompted me again, but I had a "hard day at work" and I was just too tired. Then on Thursday evening God prompted me yet again.. but I just "had" to watch this show on TV. After it was over, something else came on that I found infinately more interesting than cleaning house... especially when it was such a large task looming ahead of me. God spoke to me that the longer I put off starting, the less time I'd have to do it and the harder I would have to work at it. I knew He was right, but...
I woke up Friday morning feeling flu-ish .,. and called in "sick" to work. Obviously, that meant I was also too sick to clean house. However, I began to feel much better a few hours later. Again God reminded me that I was supposed to clean house. I was aware that hubby would be returning home sunday evening and I figured that God wanted me to have him come home to a nice clean house.
"Ok, Lord." I finally gave in.. I crawled out of my sick bed, changed from "jamies" to "grubbies" and started cleaning. It was slow going.. and I do mean slow. I worked 12 hours that day on cleaning. I found myself being more thorough than I felt I needed to be.. like dusting nick-nacks on top of high shelves (where no one could see them up close), etc. I put on worship music .. Loud.. and found I could worship even as I vacummed the floors and dusted furniture. It was physically grewling.. you men who have wives who you think "stay home and don't work" .. let me tell you.. housecleaning can be very much physical labor!!
I found that the Lord met me as I worshipped as I cleaned. Every now and then I would get lost in worship and forget I was even cleaning. God began to talk to me about some things. One thing He said very distinctly.. "Teresa, it is necesssary for your house to be clean... you will soon be very embarassed if it is not clean.. and I am not referring to your husband."
I wondered if that meant Ed would be bringing an unexpected houseguest with him when he returned.
Saturday was one and only one thing.. cleaning house .. for over 16 hours. I knew I was to teach a class on "hearing God's voice" the next morning at the Spirit-filled baptist church. I figured I should prepare for it.. but God gave me the teaching as I cleaned.. etching it into my memory so I did not have to write it down (hours later I took a short break and jot down notes, but it turns out I never needed them.) I musta preached that sermon three times as I cleaned.. once to the floor as I vaccummed, once to the furniture I polished, and another time to the staircase as I carried load after load of "misplaced items" upstairs back to their proper "homes".
I still had not cleaned the kitchen or guest bathroom when I finally crawled into bed at midnight.. exhausted. I awoke at 6:00 AM on sunday and started cleaning again.... because God greeted me with "Good Morning, Teresa. Get up and start cleaning." So I scowered the oven, cleaned the countertops, washed the sink, etc.
"Ok, Teresa, You have to stop now and go get ready for church."
"But Lord," I looked the kitchen floor that I was about to sweep and mop. There was large clumps of dog hair everywhere. "I haven't cleaned the floor yet.. I gotta clean it."
"No, Teresa, you gotta get ready for chruch, or you will be late. Look at the clock.. it is getting late."
"God was right.. I barely had time to hop in the shower and get dressed before it was time to leave." In the shower, I began to ask God about what He said on Friday... that I would have soon been embarassed if I did not clean my house. He would not talk to me about it... I came up with various scenarios.. friends flying in unexpectedly and needing a place to stay, relatives returning with Ed from the East Coast, etc. God just laughted and would not tell me anything.
Church was incredible.. God showed up bigtime. I was not planning to prophecy to anyone that day.. but God had other plans. Every time I turned around, God was giving me a word for someone or an opportunity to pray for them. There was a very godly man who's father had died on Monday. There was another man who had gotten the same picture from two different partners when we did activations, and he wanted to know what it meant. I tried to walk across the room and every time I'd go another 3 or 4 steps, someone else would grab me to ask a question or to ask for prayer. Now, don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, this **is** my idea of a good time.. I **love** to minister. And I am greatful to God for orcherstrating all those opportunities.
After all that, a group of the women laid hands on me and prayed for me regarding my upcoming trip to NY, where I will be one of the speakers at a conference. I got plastered.. and so blessed... at it was about 3:00 PM when I finally got home.
I had a late lunch and hoped to do a bit more cleaning.. the kitchen floor was still a mess... but Ed arrived home (he was driving a truck full of "stuff" from his parent's house back from the east coast.. I expected him about 10:00 PM but he got home at 4:00 PM). It was so good to see him again.. I cooked him dinner and we visited.. and I never did have time to do any more cleaning.
Well, the next morning I left for work at 5:30 AM.. a little later than usual. I had a "long day" at work, and got home about 6:30 PM. I made a bit of dinner and just as we were finsihing it off, we had an unexpected surprise.. a family from the Spirit-filled Baptist church stopped by to drop off something for me from the church. I was still a tad embarassed about the kitchen floor, but I invited them in for coffee, and we had a very nice visit. In the midst of it, God began to chuckle at me. Then He reminded me how He'd warned me on Friday that I'd be embarassed if I did not clean the house. Boy was He right! I would have been mortified company arrived when my house was in the state it had been in before I started all that cleaning.
God is smart. He usually has good reasons for telling us to do what He tells us... even if it sounds counter-intuitive to us at the time. For instance, my idea of a productive weekend would not have been cleaning.. it would have probably been preparing my teachings for Sunday morning and for the conference in New York. He managed to take care of the teaching.. I taught there for three weeks and that Sunday's was by far the best, even though I'd done less to prepare for it. And my house was in order for my unexpected (but very welcome) guests the next day.
Sometimes the things God tells us to do don't sound like much fun.. such as cleaning my large and very messy house... You know, if I knew in advance that I had company coming over, of course I would have cleaned.. I would have been motivated to do so (most women would). But God did not explain why He wanted me to clean.. He just told me to do it.. He had good reasons.. He knew in advance that they'd be stopping by on monday evening, even if I did not.
I think God does that with many of us.. He asks us to obey Him without telling us why.. because He wants to give us opportunities to learn to trust Him even more. So, next time God tells you to do something that you don't want to do, remember that He knows the big picture and probably has a very good reason for asking you to do it. God is smart.
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