The grace in our trash can.

While Stuart and I were in Sunday School yesterday, our teacher brought up a point that really struck my attention.  We were discussing God’s grace that He extends to us each day, often without us even realizing how gracious He is being.

Our teacher’s example was the trash we throw away each day.  And luckily, I had just reacquainted myself with trash, as our dogs lovingly drug ours all over the lawn in the middle of the night.  

Regardless, each day, each of us produces garbage.  This trash comes in various forms, smells, and packages…but it is all that which we deem unworthy of living in our home any longer.

The filth of our home goes into those bags, hidden from site and mind.

Allow me to, quite literally and figuratively, pick through my trash with you for a moment.

– One of the first things in our small trash can each day is used coffee grounds (so sad I no longer have my compost pile for such treats, but that is not the point).  Sometimes I curse these coffee grounds, as they spill or leak on my counter, or gritty up my sink, but the reality is that these coffee grounds are a working of God’s grace.  He’s allowed me to enjoy a warm cup of coffee each morning – a harvest of beans from South American, no doubt!  And yet half a world away, I sip on the beans in their delicious dark broth and savor their flavors.

And the real kicker is that each morning, my husband rises out of bed, and lovingly makes us a pot of french press coffee.  All that to say, a cup of a coffee is so often taken for granted in my morning routine – I can even find the time to curse the ‘mess’ it can make in our trash can.  Yet here is an extraordinary display of God’s graciousness to me, in the form of love and liquid – blessings I am unworthy of.

– This week, our trash also included a lot of flea products.  I know, I know – I’m still talking about the fleas.  But after spending days and days battling the little boogers and cursing their existence, God’s grace overpowered me once again.  How’s that? you say.  How can it be a blessing to be battling fleas?!

For starters, we are blessed with a roof over our head – we have a home that has the ability to be infested with fleas.  How gracious of God to bless us with a house.  
Secondly, the Lord has used the fleas to shine light on a huge battle I’ve been fighting lately – that is, cleaning my home.  As my pregnant belly gets larger and larger, house work is becoming increasingly difficult.  Just moving and standing is more of a challenge than it used to be.  At the end of the day, as I’m sweeping the floors and mopping up spilled juice, I often curse the housework that stands between me and…other stuff, ya know, like blogging.

Well, our providential Lord allowed our dogs to get fleas.  And because they have fleas (though they are being treated), we decided to keep them outside so-as to avoid any further infestation. 

It took a couple days for me to realize.  But then it dawned on me.  Like a ray of light from heaven.

Having the dogs outside, literally, cut my housework by at least a third.  Seriously.

I hadn’t even realized the amount of dog hair that showered our home each day, and how many hours and hours I spent vacuuming and sweeping and mopping and dusting it up.  Not to mention the overall dirt that accompanies such pets.  With the dogs outside, even despite having a toddler, I’ve felt so relieved of this cleaning.  I am now able to use one Swiffer pad (alright, fine, I use a make-shift-wash-cloth on my Swiffer Vacuum instead of buying the pads) throughout my entire house at the end of the day instead of five.  Yes, I literally used to go through five.  And that’s on top of having to empty the canister twice.

Plus, I’m not constantly tripping over two dogs that were set on following me into every. single. room.

There’s also no dogs to steal Georgia’s snack off her plate.  Or out of her hand.

Another bonus is that Stuart has been extra helpful in doing housework since we’ve had to move around furniture and such to vacuum up these little beasts.  Sure, it took having fleas, but he vacuumed under all the furniture, cleaned out the utility room, and washed all of Georgia’s plastic toys for me.  I’m certainly not complaining about all that help!

My point is, even battling these fleas has been a blessing.  The Lord revealed a change that needed to take place for added peace in our home that we weren’t even aware of, especially as we anticipate having the new baby.

– Some other added blessings in our trash can include food scraps.  Isn’t it amazing that we live in a time where we actually have food scraps to throw away?!  How gracious God has been to us in providing us food to eat.  My generation, especially, can take this for granted.  Most of us have never known true hunger or famine, nor will we likely ever.  We so often fail to consider the blessing that God showers us with each day we are allowed to fill our bellies with food – and wonderful, nutritious, delicious food at that.  And yet there the remaining scraps sit, in our trash can.

– What about receipt from the store?  Isn’t it gracious the Lord has provided us with stores?  and products?  and luxuries that kings of the past could have only imagined?  He is gracious to us in providing us with the ability to shop for such frivolous items – even if that shopping is done on a tight budget.  The fact that we can do it at all is proof of His common grace to us all.

Off the top of my head, that’s all I can remember that’s currently in my trash can, though I’m positive there is a lot more ‘trash’ to be found.  

So many of my friends and loved ones are traveling through a difficult time right now – the Lord is doing great work in our lives, pruning and shaping us for His purpose.  I very much appreciated being reminded that God has given us grace that is overflowing, even when it’s difficult for us to see amongst our ‘trash’.  

He gives us breath each day.

He gives us the sun each morning.

He gives us gravity.  And rain.  And a heart that beats.

His grace truly abounds, even amongst our challenges.

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  1. says

    Thank you for this post this morning….I was just fussing about the trash, spilled coffee grounds, and how the veggie garden needs attention. I appreciate how God used your post to remind me of the blessings in my ‘trash’. May you find more blessings today in the sweet name of Jesus!

  2. Michelle says

    This week we have been fighting the flea monsters in our house also. We live in Alabama as well and fleas are definitely a summer plague here if you have pets. It gets expensive trying to get rid of them. :( I am 17 weeks pregnant with my 3rd baby and me and the dog are not best friends lately. I just told my husband last night that she was going to have to go outside. Every time I hear her scratch I cry inside because I know there is a lovely dusting of hair for me to clean….yet again. Yes the dog must go outside…..for my sanity.

  3. says

    A very good idea! Taking pets outside means less work in cleaning stuff, no hair to vacuum, and no pee to mop. But we shouldn’t throw our grace on the trash but treasure it instead.:)

  4. Rita Toombs says

    Somehow I missed the flea saga until now — have you tried diatomaceous earth to get rid of them? (Because you really need more cleaning to do, right?) I’ve read so many positive things about it lately and some people say it’s the ONLY thing that helped them to get rid of a flea infestation — plus, totally safe for you and the babes. I bought some food-grade DE to combat the giant camel crickets in my basement…have not gotten around to spreading it, but I’ve been adding some to my morning smoothie each day for my own benefit!! Good luck to you and absolutely positively LOVE your blog and have been so inspired by it!

    • says

      Yes! DE was the only thing that finally get rid of the fleas for us. That and soap plates of water on the floor with a light close by. I. HATE. FLEAS.

      So glad to have you here! Thanks for reading!

  5. Paula says

    “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all things, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thess 5:16-18
    We thank God for eyes that see, ears that hear, hands that can serve… We thank Him too for dirty dishes that mean we had food today…and the pile of laundry that shows we had clothes to wear. Celebrating His blessings with you, Shaye!
    (Jaimie’s mom) Paula

  6. says

    I just found your blog, and in the words of Anne Shirley, I would have to say you sound like a “bossom friend” to me! I love reading about your adventures and hearing your insights! My family recently moved to a little piece of land so we can grow our own food and give our kids an amazing childhood (like I got growing up on a farm), and it’s so good to know that someone else is having many of the same struggles and frustrations, as well as triumphs and benefits of juggling motherhood, housekeeping, and homesteading. Thank you so much for sharing!

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