My husband and I share a closet.
Oh, the joy.
Some things, such as thermostats, armrests, and closets are just meant to be one person’s dominion. However, we live in a fallen world, so it is what it is and we carry on. That is, until the morning I can’t pry my arm out from between the thicket of questionable wardrobe choices and “Closet Day” is declared.
I have options. I could light the whole thing on fire, but the fire department is a little far and I don’t want to burn the entire house down. I could hire a professional, but even those folks have their limits. I resolve that it’s up to me.
I dig deep for inspiration and remember the words of King Solomon: “Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come” (Proverbs 31:25).
Well. If that isn’t a vision of poise, control, and triumph!
“Lord,” I pray, “give me strength, empty boxes, and brutal judgment to get rid of what doesn’t fit.”
I’m going in.
I don’t know how my closet got so bad, because I’m the Halley’s Comet of shoppers. Apparently, aging molecules soak up air and expand like foam insulation, becoming just as impenetrable. But I suppose I have to start somewhere.
My closet boasts a whole 3 and a half feet of hanging space—roughly a horizontal 6-year-old—and for the life of me, I can’t see where the top begins and the sides end.
Removing things one at a time will never work. I take a deep breath, grab the hanging pile on each end, cracking a rib as I lift the entire tangle of wire and fabric. I cry out like Martha after Thanksgiving dinner, take a step back and yank. Hard.
I’m pretty sure I lie trapped under the debris pile for a good half hour, thinking maybe this is how it’s going to end. Simply pulling myself out from underneath and back to my feet is the workout of the year, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Looking back into my closet, I can finally see what passes for empty space. I can see the hanging area squinting at me like a bear seeing sunlight for the first time all season. Along with it, there are three shelves and a floor, somewhere underneath the debris. I think.
The unearthing reveals a depressing spectacle of clothing that even a zombie wouldn’t consider. Sifting through the rubble I find:
17 mismatched socks. How is it possible that these are all mine?
One black, spaghetti strapped, crushed velvet party dress with crinoline petticoat. Really?
Two purses that clearly lived secret lives as feed bags for mules.
An exercise video. Unopened. Ha.
Five pairs of pantyhose—three are still in the packaging, which begs the question, “who wears pantyhose in Florida?”
Eight broken hangers (two that bit me).
The Christmas present I bought my daughter-in-law three years ago.
A phone book. When did we move here again?
It’s overwhelming. But God shows up to spend time with me in this littered space because it’s what He does, no matter what I’m doing. Also, maybe to see if some stuff He’s been missing happens to be hidden in the history of my poor housekeeping.
In my shared closet and in life, as I make room for all that truly matters, my Father is my peace, breathing order and calm over me. The peace only He can bring steadies my work-in-progress world, inside and out. Through the cramped confusion and overstuffed expectations trying to elbow out everything good, we do our work together. He is my Father. With His help, I love and give and laugh and grow and learn how His grace is deeper than even the most spectacular closet of my dreams.
I have a confession to make. “Closet Day” ultimately turned into “Closet Week.” I sorted and I prayed. I stacked and I praised. I made room, but most importantly, I felt His presence.
If the clothes reveal the person, then my closet is a bit like my life—messy and in need of a Savior. I’m okay with that.
Paul wrote to the people in Corinth, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33, NIV). That’s exactly what happened in my shared closet. Peace and order restored, with the help of my Father.
And maybe now He and I will go shopping.
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