Life’s messy. Relationships are messy. My heart? It’s really messy. All our messiness is so easy to hide and ignore because it’s internal messiness, not in your face messy. The in-your-face messiness of my kids has reminded me lately of how God views me, despite my messiness.
Without going into too much of the gory details, we have a lot of potty problems in our household. My eldest has not yet stayed dry at night, my middle one frequently wets the bed, and my littlest? Oh, that darling, loves everything girlie, girl? She also loves messes. Really. Really. Really. Gross. Messes. Like getting into her #2 diaper and covering herself, her bed, and everything in her reach with it. All the time.
The last time I went to get her from her nap and walked into her, as you can imagine, delightfully smelling room and saw her smeared face, I sighed a deep sigh. She had the happiest expression, in the midst of all her mess. “My dear, don’t you know how gross this is? Why are you settling to play with this nastiest of things, when you have a house full of pleasant and lovely things to play with?”
I found myself reaching into her messiness to “rescue” her from it. To bathe and clean her (x100) and wrap her in a warm, clean towel. To thoroughly wash all her toys, bed things, clothes, etc. To wipe down the walls of her crib and her room until there was no trace of the mess. But you know what? Even in my revulsion towards the situation, my feelings towards my daughter never changed. I loved her every moment, despite how gross she was. I felt privileged to care for her and clean her and show her mercy.
And isn’t that how God deals with us? He says even our best efforts are like filthy rags — we are only capable of making the messiest of messes on our best days. And yet he takes us, cleanses us, and transforms us into something beautiful. He adores us even when all we can offer is crap. Before we could do one lovely thing or even clean ourselves up a bit, he reached into our lives and saved us from ourselves. Saved us from useless things that we though would make us happy. Saved us for a life of peace, hope, joy, and for no fear in death.
Not only should this remind us of his great grace and mercy, it should also give us compassion for others, in their messiness. When relationships get complicated and people’s filth starts coming out, how can we judge others when we are just as bad? How can we not simply say, “We too used to settle for trash, come with me, to Jesus. He will transform us and together we can experience his grace.”