My name is Autumn Buzzell and I live and work in Ghana, West Africa with City of Refuge Ministries. Here, I run our school, Faith Roots International Academy, and get to be a part in rescuing and the healing of children who have been trafficked into the fishing trade, orphaned, abandoned, and those who just need a little extra loving. What an amazing gift this life is!

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

There is a Mess in my Trunk

Years ago, I worked with the University that I had graduated from, Hope International University, to put together a women's conference.  We brought in my favorite author at the time, Angela Thomas.  She wrote a book years back that cultivated intense change in my life, Do You Think I'm Beautiful?.That change was so important, so apparent, that I knew, if I could just get her to come and speak, God would bring freedom to others as well.

That weekend was a beautiful weekend of grace-filled messages of love.  But, for some reason, there were a couple things that she said to us that stuck and over the years, I have continued to cling to those truths, being challenged to press in in different seasons.

One of the things she mentioned was that there are certain people you meet in your life that seem to overflow with wisdom and grace and love of God.  She said that you will know those people because when you simply bump into them, you get splashed with that overflow.  At the time, she was referring to my amazing mentor, Priscilla, who was exactly that.  I was blessed to be in the pathway of that overflow for years (and it still continues today, over 10 years later).

I remember when she gave that description, I thought, "That is who I want to be."  I wanted to spread that gooshy overflow of the love of God.  I wanted people to bump into me and experience grace.  I wanted people to desire to be near me because they knew that they would receive wisdom.  I wanted to walk in such close proximity with God, that it was apparent even in the slightest crossing of paths.  That overflow...oh, how I longed to swim in that place.  

I'm not there yet.  I'm not even close.  But, each day I'm given a new opportunity to be shaped and molded more into an image of Christ.  Each day is a chance to reflect Him more.  Each day is an opportunity to grow in His love, in His grace, in His wisdom.

The one other thing that Angela Thomas mentioned during her weekend at Hope all those years ago that has stuck with me was something to the effect of, "I know the state of my soul when I see the state of the trunk of my car."

I don't own a car anymore, but this phrase popped up in my memory this weekend as I was cleaning my house and I was shocked at the truth of it.

I tend to keep my living room fairly clean as I frequently have guests pop in to say hello or Stacy or Miriah stop by for a chat, a good game, or a workout session.  But, my bedroom and guest room are another story.  Recently, they've been off limits to visitors.  Inviting guests into those rooms would have been letting them in to examine my soul...and it was a very sad state.

For weeks, I had washed my clothes, pulled them from the clothes line, and then piled them up in the guest room "to be folded".  My floors went unswept.  My bed unmade.  Every flat surface was covered with something that just hadn't been put away.  It was cluttered...unkempt...even dirty.  I might be known to have the family curse of "empty surface syndrome", but dirty is not usually said of me.  This wasn't me, there was something more going on.

I just so happened to be hosting a Bible Study at my house Sunday Night and I realized that this just wasn't going to work anymore.  So, I turned on my music and began to clean.  And as I cleaned, I worshiped.  As I scrubbed my floors, I did some soul-searching.  I cleaned house...inside and out.

And I realized that what Angela had said all those years back was true.  I'd allowed the clutter of my life to build up--the lies of the enemy...the frustrations and fears...the insecurity...the dis-contentedness...the hurts and disappointments.  The places that I had cleaned out so long ago, they moved right back in.  I'd opened the door and allowed them space inside my head and inside my heart.  And it showed.  Internally and externally.

But, as I began to clean, a fresh breeze broke free.  The insecurities were folded up and put away...I didn't need to walk in them anymore.  The frustrations and fears were swept away.  The dis-contentedness was tossed out with yesterday's trash.  And suddenly, I could breathe again.  I felt more me.

And the thing I'm learning is that for this place to stay clean, it requires me to be proactive...to take initiative...to dig in deep.  The mess in my trunk doesn't go away if I don't work at it.

Honestly, for the past few months, I haven't wanted to work at it all that hard.  But, I think I'm finally getting back to that place.  I'm desiring depth.  I'm desiring more.  I'm desiring a walk with God that will overflow into that gooshy love, that gentle grace, that profound wisdom.  That kind of work happens over time, one day at a time, moment by moment--understanding first that gooshy love of the Father for myself, offering myself the gentle grace of a good God in times when I feel so weak, and accepting the profound wisdom of those who walk before me.

Let's walk this road together, splashing a little grace and love and wisdom onto the ones we walk in community with, knowing that we all have a little mess in our trunk from time to time.