The Day I Cleaned the Front of My Frig and Found Peace in my Heart (an Advent Post)

The cornerstone of this Advent season, which began Sunday the 27th of November, is the idea of making room for God to come.  It is a time of waiting, as Mary did, with the impossible promise that a Saviour would be born, the miracle of light coming to a dark world.

“The arrival of Advent marks the beginning of the church year. In the Western church, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas…The word itself is from the Latin word ‘veni’–adventus–coming.

“Because Advent is a season of preparation and penitence, fasting has historically been part of Advent observance, a way to clear away the detritus of the year and create space in our lives for Christ to come.”  (The Circle of Seasons–Meeting God in the Church Year, Kimberlee Conway Ireton, IVP Books, 2008.)


We ordered new kitchen appliances last week. Everything started when the microwave died (sacre bleu! one can’t live without a microwave to heat up coffee. Or baby bottles). This led to a conversation about the refrigerator which had been humming its way loudly to a definite motor-y end. We dug out the paperwork and discovered the frig was 17 years old.

20161128_102313  Here’s a photo of our kitchen on Thanksgiving 2000, one year after we got it, all brand spanking new. That’s my daughter Leah the chef basting the turkey. (And no, I will not talk about the psychedelic flooring.)

After a thorough appliance reconnoiter, husband and I decided to join the Black Friday crowds and headed to Home Depot. Four hours later we had ordered for the first time ever a matching frig, dishwasher, microwave and range.  In stainless steel. We are so de rigueur.

Maybe my dear readers are already aware of what such a purchase entails, but I don’t think we considered exactly how arduous ‘out with the old, in with the new’ would be under such circumstances.   Last Saturday’s chores involved 5 hours of cleaning of stove and frig–outsides only–and cleaning of the floors underneath. I was appalled at the debris and gunk on the sides of our range. We are not slobs….how did this happen??? I blame 16 years of coffee prep. And under the frig? Oh, beyond disgusting.

I had been notified via my daughter in our Thanksgiving conversations a few nights’ previous that magnets do not stick to stainless steel. Oh. I did not know that.  Well, there go the grandkids’ photos and artwork. There go my magnets from Laguna Beach and Yosemite, my favorite of Lucy and Ethel at the chocolate factory, Scripture cards, quotes I liked.  A veritable bulletin board available 24/7, reminding me constantly of All the Things.

People, places, Bible verses, photographs. Football schedules, equivalent baking measures, an encyclopedia of input and information.  It would all have to go.

So, empty box in hand, I swept the surface clean and windexed it to its glorious, brand-new, former self.

My words are a paltry representation of the change that came over me after that clean sweep. Every time I walked into the kitchen I literally breathed a peaceful sigh. Husband and I remarked many times throughout the next day at how pleased we were with the empty space, that it seemed quieter in the kitchen because all the noise on the frig was gone.

Surrounded 24/7 with visual input had driven me to distraction. I spend a lot of time in our kitchen area and when the wide expanse of the refrigerator front presented some breathing room, I reveled in its beauty. I’m sure that seems weird, but the outcome was a continued decluttering of counters and drawers.



Mary’s pregnancy may have prompted what we refer to these days as ‘nesting’, the period before a child’s birth when the mother goes into a frenzy of organization and beautifying, painting the nursery, cleaning the floor, preparing the room.

I am convinced my impending appliance arrival is no coincidence for this season. I am desperate to hear from God, to make room for his answers in my life, a soul-deep clearing out to welcome Him.

Like the birth of the Christ Child to come, the answers I seek for all that concerns me may arrive in an unexpected package. But now that I’ve made a way to see, preparing room with the physical space has allowed an emptying in the best way, that I might be ready to receive His word to me.

I can sit in this season when the world around me is physically gray and dark, but I look forward to the Light to come.

What will you make room for today?


More of Kimberlee Ireton’s work is on her blog here.

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12 thoughts on “The Day I Cleaned the Front of My Frig and Found Peace in my Heart (an Advent Post)

  1. Thankfully you’re not birthing appliances–just adopting them. But may their fresh magnificence inspire joy (in all their sparkly newness), peace (in the cleanliness), and light (reflected from their sheen) all the same. P.S. We have a stainless steel fridge and magnets DO stick! ‘Hope they adhere to yours, too. 🙂

    1. Nancy, you have the most creative way of looking at things! I like your joy, peace and light comparisons in my sparkly refrigerator acquisitions. My friend, you always make me smile. (I’ll keep you tuned on the magneticity. That’s a word, right?)

      1. If magneticity isn’t a word, it should be. Love it!

  2. No coincidence, indeed. Life is a series of breadcrumbs leading us forward, if only we’ll pay attention. (And you do.)

  3. I better not tell my husband that stainless steel doesn’t work for magnets — he’ll be bustling us out to buy one right away!!! It does make a difference not to have all that clutter on the fridge — I have it on one side of the fridge. It’s funny how the clutter can be inspiring and comforting and also discouraging at the same time. Excited for you to have all those new appliances! And, yes, that floor — wow!

    1. Oh, Heather, I smiled at your comment. With a family like yours and all those children, the frig is the Art Gallery. (I know this; my son has 5 children. I don’t think they’ve ever seen the front of their frig.)
      I’m sure there’s a balance between comfort and inspiration in what we gather around us; it just seems the Christmas season needs a little more space, eh?
      (new appliance photos in two weeks 🙂

  4. The noise in our lives is often hard to see when we’re in the midst of it. A stepping back, a preparing, and making room often reveals more than we expected. So thankful for this time of reflection. Blessings on your Advent, Jody!

    1. June, I’m not only stepping back and making room, also laying down…mostly social media. Talk about noise.
      Thanks for your kind words–God’s blessings on you this season as well.

  5. “answers…arrive in an unexpected package. But now that I’ve made a way to see, preparing room …has allowed an emptying in the best way, that I might be ready to receive His word to me.” The very words (and image) I needed today, to process some inner gunk weighing on me. Thank you, Jody.

    1. Oh, Laurie, that makes me happy. I’m feeling lighter already (some prayer at church yesterday helped immensely.) May God bring the same freedom to you. {{hugs}}

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