Tuesday is trash day at the Wigginton house. Yep. Every Tuesday morning, we roll our jam-packed trash cans to the street. And every Tuesday our wonderful trash and recycle guys carry away our collective mess. From the time our daughters were little, they looked forward to trash day. When they heard the huge truck rumbling down the street, our girls would race to our front door to watch our waste management heroes load up another big haul of family garbage. And then, like magic, it would disappear.
Some Tuesdays our young’ins would even cheer and wave at the garbage men. Other times they would leave them notes or treats. Why? Because we appreciate the important way these servants help us keep our lives cleaner!
Clean Living is both Caught and Taught
Embracing the importance of cleanliness doesn’t just happen, right moms? It is both caught and taught! My hubby and I had to work hard at encouraging and developing a desire for clean living in both our daughters and ourselves. (We still do!)
It began with singing cute songs (taught to us by a large purple dinosaur) while cleaning up the toys. Then came teaching our girls age-appropriate skills of cleaning their rooms, making their beds, helping with the dirty dishes, sorting/folding laundry, and personal hygiene. Eventually, each daughter had her own rotating individual weekly cleaning responsibilities. One daughter was in charge of our CLOTHES (laundry related jobs), one had CLEANING (dusting, vacuuming, windows etc) and one had COOKING (planning, shopping, and preparing meals). Although cleaning methods are many, the heart behind them all is to encourage clean living.
One theme God has been hitting home for this messy momma so far in 2022 is the importance of more intentional clean living. God has challenged me to a higher level of eating clean (anti-inflammatory diet because of the health issues of our youngest daughter), cleaning out a different area of our house each day, and most importantly cleaning out my heart of any junk that has been building up. I’m learning that my growing desire to be clean inside and out comes from God Himself. For He alone is Mr. Clean!!!
In “Living in the Tent,” Howell paints a clean picture of our God.
“God is wholly clean. He is the perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins, because in all ways God is clean. His directions are clean (His Word is Truth). His judgments are clean (He’s righteous in all His ways). There are no inappropriate thoughts in His omniscience, no abuse of power in His omnipotence. There is no vulnerability to wickedness in His omnipresence. He may witness a million sins, but He commits none of them. His cleanness protects Him from being tempted and from tempting. There is no blemish in Him. He is wholly, eternally, self-sufficiently clean!”
Mr. Clean’s Daughter
As God’s daughter, I too have a heart desire to be clean like Him. Psalm 51:10 has become my daily “clean up song”.
“Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life. Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don’t throw me out with the trash or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!” (MSG)
In all the “Tuesdays” we’ve experienced at our house, a garbage man has never once come to our front door to ask for our trash. Instead, we simply have an open invitation. It’s our personal responsibility to take our own trash to the road. If we don’t, our garbage simply piles up and stinks more each day. However, if we faithfully take it out, our garbage guys faithfully take it away so we have a fresh start. Same with my heart, Christ’s home. This year, I’m seeking to daily take out the trash of my sin, confident that Jesus takes it away. For this messy momma, keeping His house clean includes:
Daily Washing with the Water of His Word.
Ephesians 5:25-27 is known as a biblical bar of soap.
“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
God’s Word is the ultimate spot cleaner of our souls. And Bible studies like Heart of Womanhood Portraits Series are effective cleaning tools God can use for housecleaning His moms and daughters.
Consistent Confession to Christ:
I John 1:9 is our holy scrub brush that encourages confession.
“If we confess our sins to God, He can be depended on to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong. And it is perfectly proper for God to do this for us because Christ died to wash away our sins.”
With the hundreds of student athletes my husband and staff work with in FCA ministry, a common practice we encounter on the courts or fields of competition is “trash talkin’.” As most of you know, trash talkin’ is the way athletes talk up themselves and down their opponent to gain a competitive edge.
But trash talkin’ with Jesus is the opposite. It’s us humbly confessing our own filth and claiming His unending faithfulness. Confession is simply taking (talkin’) our trash to Jesus. In return for His “trash service” He does not heap guilt or condemnation but offers us cleanness and freedom. Unlike trash talkin’ in sports, if we focus on talkin’ up Jesus, we will have less trash to take out!
Clean up your own Backyard
Our family enjoys playing tennis together at the local high school courts down our street. Invariably, at some point, our “serious play” turns to the chaotic tennis game “clean up the backyard.” Immediately, the whole focus turns to hitting all the tennis balls out of our court (our backyard) and across the net. We all begin laughing as we frantically try to do one thing—clean up our own backyard. Not worried about others’ yards, we can live with far more joy if we simply live keeping our own backyard clean.
What happens when we stay clean before the Lord? Act 3:19 tells us.
“Now confess your sins to God and turn to him so he can cleanse away your sins and send you wonderful times of refreshment in the presence of the Lord.”
Every day is Trash Day
The good news for us is that, with Jesus, every day is trash day. As His trash talkin’ mommas, we have an open invitation from our Savior. He is on call 24/7 so we can confess when we’re a mess, in a mess, or made a mess. But because we are God’s mess, we can face each new day confident that even when we see ourselves as a mess, God sees us through Christ as spotless and clean as His beloved daughters.
And one of the most powerful ways we can lead our own “clean up” crew at home is to be moms who quickly confess our sins first to God and then to our own family. This powerful example of clean living will be both caught and taught by the next generation. The result? A whole lot more clean-hearted trash talkin’ to Jesus and a whole lot more clean living in this world!