WARNING. READER DISCRETION ADVISED: The following, while humorous in overall nature, contains gross details that may be too nauseating for those who have weak stomachs or haven’t spent a lot of time with children.
This past week, my family took on a nasty stomach bug. It started with the youngest and worked it’s way all the way up…(sparing one). Mid-week, when we experienced the height of the germ’s ambush, we were awakened in the middle of the night by calls for “Momma”. Upon our arrival, we found someone’s dinner had made it’s way all the way up.
The scene was impressive…like, “Oh my goodness, I can’t even imagine how it got under the bed,” kind of impressive. It was prize-winning, physics-defying, terror-inducing work. Well done, germ. Well done.
Having a virus like this strike is never fun or convenient. However, dealing with this kind of illness when you’ve got your house on the market–puts on a whole extra layer of crazy. (Second least desirable time to catch a bug like this is when your whole family is in a friend’s wedding party, the day of the wedding…Been there. Done that.)
All the extra sheets: packed. All the old extra towels: packed. All the bedroom trashcans: garage. In fact, the closets had been so stripped of “non-necessities”, that some things had been discretely stored…
Under the bed.
I pulled out pop-up tents that had been stuffed under the bed and were now drenched and sticky. (Yes, I went there.) Seeing as it was the middle of the night, and there was much carpet to be scrubbed, I made a nighttime-dazed still-in-awe-of-mere-physics decision influenced by the soon-to-be-moving “purge-it-all” phenomenon. I walked the tents straight out the back door to the trash. No hose. No Lysol. No nothin’. I simply didn’t have it in me.
On went the indoor cleaning and purging (so to speak) until the alarm would have normally sounded for school.
And the week continued, as up the Goeke line the virus took on it’s victims.
The trash came. The trash went.
Finally on Saturday, the last child was recovering. Thankfully, the kids and I didn’t have any plans, except to maybe check out our neighborhood’s annual community-wide garage sale. The house smelled of air-purifying essential oils (mixed with Lysol and Clorox bleach.) We set out to have a Toy Story 1,2, and 3 marathon while I folded every sheet and towel from every bed and closet that had passed through the hottest setting on the washing machine.
My husband was driving down our street to head to a funeral when he texted me:
Our stack of tents…for sale…a few houses down.
I was tempted to walk down the street with a can of Lysol, and without saying a word just start spraying at random. But I didn’t have it me.
I was tempted to send one of the kids down there, wait for a large group of potential buyers, and have them laugh loudly and proclaim, “Hey, my little brother puked all over those tents the other night!” But I didn’t have it in me.
I figured I’d just have to trust the good Lord with this one.
Now, you may be thinking:
that’s gross…she should have cleaned it before putting in the trash…
that’s gross…I hope those people cleaned the tents before they sold them…
that’s gross…those neighbors had it coming to them for stealing someone’s trash and then turning around and selling it down the street…
that’s gross…she should have told them…she should have fixed it…
You’re right. It is gross. And I agree, someone should have fixed it. But it was NOT going to be me.
Even more foul and unbearable for me to think about is someone else cleaning those tents. After all, I was the mom…and I didn’t even have it in me to clean what was mine, what I had at one time spent good money on, that had been soiled by my own flesh and blood. I can’t imagine someone cleaning a complete stranger’s vomit off of something in which they had put little to no investment.
And what about the person who bought the tents? They spent hard earned cash on throw-up trash. Did they get it home and clean it? Or did they show off their bargain buy still riddled with funk?
In the middle of the night–I didn’t have it in me. In the middle of Toy Story 2–I didn’t have it in me. Right now, as I type…I will never have it in me.
When sin and pride go on a brutal rampage in the wee hours of the night, taking me as their victim, I am left dirty, soiled, and ready for disposal. I don’t have it in me to wash myself…I can’t. None of us can. I can even be determined in these moments to stay filthy, to only share word of my failure, to define myself as mere trash, to consider all my value lost.
This is what we do, right? Especially those of us ‘mommy-bloggers’ who boast about our failures, weaknesses, and screaming matches with our children.
Someone wants me.
Someone wants you.
Even when we are covered in our worst, He’s ready to take us, to steal us, to take captive our hearts.
However, He washes us. He renews us. He cleans us up and makes us whole. He restores our value…and then some. Why? Because He is invested in us. He’s all in.
And He doesn’t just stop there. He gets us ready to show.
He didn’t do the gross job of removing our grime so that we can deem being a “hot mess” socially acceptable and repeatedly vomit on ourselves over and over, day after day. He wants us to “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely,” and tells us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). He asks us to move forward, to desire better, and (perhaps the trickiest of all) to trust Him to do it. He asks us to use our rags-to-riches stories as a display of His glory…as a part of His treasure.
He pulls us out into the driveway, redeemed and smelling fresh, and proudly stands next to us, claims us as His own, and then encourages us to offer our renewed selves to be tents that house His glory.
Let Him clean you up. Let Him breath a purifying wind upon you. Let Him tell the whole story through you…your pain AND your healing.
Let’s be fresh tents of glory.