The situation made me tense. It made me howl with indignation. It sent my heart shimmying down a fussy spiral.  

“As if–” I sputtered to my husband, telling him the story. “And for another—” I ranted. He listened, far too wise to interject.  

While I fumed and gave J. the details, I chopped fresh spinach from the garden. This task that would normally bring me pleasure, I performed without thinking. “I mean, it’s just ridiculous—“ 

And then I finished the chopping and the story was over. But my heart stung still with all kinds of indignations. With dinner still a few minutes away from being done, I decided to throw away a few small cardboard pieces of trash. Our recycled trash containers are in the garage, so I slipped on some shoes and padded out to the bins. With the door shut, I was alone in a quiet garage. No one but me and my bitter, tender heart which wanted to stew and ruminate over my bruises.  

Within seconds, my heart recognized the voice that was calling me.  

When you are worried, give me your burdens.  

But this, Jesus? It’s silly and stupid. But it matters. I think it does, anyway.  

Don’t let your heart be troubled.  

But don’t you see, I’ve been wronged? 

Trust in God, and also trust in me

I breathed in and out, listening to the voice I knew so well. God had this situation. I didn’t need to fret and whine and complain. A verse I had been meditating on this week (as part of Beth Moore’s Scripture Memorization Team) ends with this: “For out of the overflow of her heart, her mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). 

My mouth was speaking, all right. And the overflow I was showing was bitterness and envy. Lack of gratitude. Dissension.  

When this happens—that is to say, when life happens—the very best place to run to is the arms of a loving God. When you are being cared for by the hands who shaped the world, doesn’t it make sense that those same hands can handle your problem? And not only handle it, but also point you gently back to the truths of God: God is faithful; infinitely patient; not wanting any to be apart from him; relentless in his pursuit of you and me. God’s plans are higher and better than ours. So when things fall apart—even if it happens hourly—cling to Jesus like the Rock he is.  

In the quiet space of a garage, I reclaimed my place as a child of God who is not shaken by life’s ups and downs. Someone who is fussed over and dearly loved. I tossed the cardboard and then climbed the stairs back into the house. I rejoined my family with a clean and grateful heart, happy to leave the trash behind.  


4 thoughts on “Alone with the Recycled Trash, the Bitter Heart Sings

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