I have been learning a lot through metaphors recently— especially metaphors concerning household maintenance. I moved into a new home about a year ago, and when I moved in, the house was freshly painted white.

I felt as though I was entering the beginning of a year that involved a lot of cleansing. It was a year of refining and God making new a broken heart and a misplaced identity.

As I passed through the seasons and entered into the summer, fall, and then the winter, the trees and the rain combined to leave a sort of streaky green residue on the house. For months, the house was in need of a serious washing, but we didn’t have a hose installed, so I put it on the back of the priorities list. So the house grew greener.

Finally, after the green got so unbearably icky to the eyesight, I got around to installing a hose and hiring a power washer. When the power washer came to wash the house, he mentioned something to me that keeps running through my mind.

He told me he couldn’t wash the house until he first cleaned out the gutters. The gutters had been collecting trash – he could wash the house, and it would be white as snow, but once the first rain came, the clutter in the gutters would immediately bring back the mossy green coat onto the house.

Obviously, I told him to clean the crap out of the gutters because I didn’t want a clean white that would only be a temporary fix. But then I walked inside, and I thought about how when it comes to my renewing, I take the easy way out. I want to quickly wash because I don’t want to deal with the gutters. I’m scared to go into the gutters of my heart because it’s gross, but I know for a real and true healing or cleansing to take place long term, I need to dive into the foundation. I have to lift up the screens and ask the Lord to do a deep cleansing of the corners and crevices of my heart.

So Marcus cleared out the gutters because that was the only real sustaining, viable option. And now, as I stare at the beautiful white house, I see how it’s worth it. Every time I am scared to let God into the gutters, I think about how deeply I want a long-lasting cleansing, not a cheap fix. Go into the gutters so you can receive the real, holistic purging that will heal your soul. God isn’t scared of the gutters. He already knows what is stored inside.

“Come now, and let’s settle this, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they will be white as snow.”