No choice but to share...

I know that many of you happen upon my blog via links from other blogs and websites. Most of these are based on hoarding, and the "children of hoarders" status. You land here, read a bit about hoarding, my relationship with my mother (albeit I share very little about the dirty details from the past), and about doing the show "Hoarders" just over a year ago with my mother. You see a very small part of who I am and what I am about.

So I thought I should be clear. The most important thing about me is my faith in God. Of all the mistakes my mother made, the actions and words that threatened to destroy my spirit and robbed me of my childhood, she did one thing right: She kept me in church all along the way.

I have talked with many children of hoarders who had very negative experiences with faith and their hoarding parents. I've heard from adults whose parents justified repeated physical abuse by asking for forgiveness while walking away from beating them. I've shared with some whose parents justified their actions with Biblical passages about honoring parents without question. Each time I hear a story like this, my heart breaks. And I know it breaks God's heart because God--as I know and understand Him--has never been a God that embraces abuse, sin, neglect.

I am ashamed to admit that when I started this blog over a year ago, at first I wrote almost compulsively, but feared that I had nothing to offer to other COHs. In my head was this constant conversation about not having anything new to offer, or helpful. And yet, people who interacted with me during the period when I stepped back into my mother's life in a meaningful way said the same thing over and over: "You're different."

I struggled to understand what made me different. During the filming of my mother's episode, the producers interviewed me numerous times. Over and over again they told me I was different than most of the family members they had encountered so far. "Why aren't you angry? Why are you willing to help even now?"

I struggled with a good answer except to say that I knew anger was justified but "at this moment" it would not be helpful. I blew it! I trembled in fear, just as I have for the last year to say exactly what it is that made my response to the situation different:

I have the love of God living in me, radiating out with grace and forgiveness. I can forgive because I have been forgiven; I can love because I am loved.

There. You have it. This is what I have to offer others. Love. Forgiveness. Hope. But they're not my possessions to give. All I can do is share the path to these things and model the effect of these things as they live in my life.

Perhaps I will lose some readers now. It would not surprise me at all if I did. And that's okay because writing this blog is not supposed to be about stroking my ego. At the heart of it, deep inside me, my heart is to help, love, and offer hope. On my own, I have nothing, but with God I have all these things!

My goal is not hit anyone over the head with the Bible. Even in the Word it says:

"For while the Law was given through Moses, grace ([a]unearned, undeserved favor and spiritual blessing) and truth came through Jesus Christ.(A)" [John 1:17 Amplified Bible]

It is my hope and prayer that someone who is struggling, facing some of the same things I've been through and SURVIVED will happen upon my little blog and find something new. Perhaps love, hope, grace and forgiveness are brand new to them. Perhaps it's just a new perspective on the faith that they need. Whatever it is, I pray that the Spirit will speak to me and that I will be obedient to the call and able to be used to share something of value to other COHs.

There is restoration, renewal, rebirth. I know because I live it. That's all I can offer--my faith and my story.

[On a very personal note, I often struggled with my faith and belief in God. Although my upbringing was in the church, I felt like those around me were very hypocritical in their beliefs. Even the day after filming had wrapped, I found myself doing some final clean-up with the crew of Clutter Cleaner. I struggled deeply with my faith and with God. I'm not going to get into all of that right now (I plan to share it later in another post) except to say that I am so glad that I believe in and serve a God who is so loving that He spared my mother's life and legs, and gave us another chance. That is what hope is all about: getting another chance!]

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer. I strive to walk in Your ways, and to keep Your commands, decrees and laws knowing that I will live and increase, and that You, Lord, My God will bless me in my endeavors. I know that when I seek You first, everything else will be given to me. Thank you for giving me this wisdom and the ability to share You with others. In Jesus' name, AMEN.


Cheri said…
Congratulations on your new beautiful babe!

On another note, I think we all struggle with faith at some point or another. The key is to keep turning to God no matter what. You are a blessing.

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