Filthy Rags

I wrote this for the Oct 09 Crossroads MOPS Newsletter… just got around to posting it here. Enjoy!

Life on Planet Mom is full of many chores and tasks. Some are tedious, some are tiring, and some are just irritating.

One task that I particularly dislike is laundry. It is a necessity, but I still just don’t like it. I think the process of washing clothes just has too many steps. Sorting, washing, drying, folding, hanging up, ironing. Oh, and treating stains. That falls in the process somewhere along the way. I really never understood how much went into stain treatment until I landed on Planet Mom. And then I had a breastfeeding newborn.

Who knew that breastfeeding poo could squirt out of even the most well closed diaper? That’s something that they don’t tell first time moms. If they do, I missed that memo. And of course, it requires a little stain treating action.

And then… that little newborn starts to grow up, and the wonder of feeding solid foods begins. Sweet potatoes, avocado, peas, carrots, and more dribble off little chins onto cute outfits or even just the standard onesie. And then self-feeding begins. And that involves a variety of foods that find their way onto all sorts of clothing, bibs, walls, and carpets.

Add on top of that the occasional round of diarrhea, vomit, finger paint, medicine, crayon, blood, dirt, mud, grass, and more that kids clothing is stained with… and well, as moms, we spend a good deal of our time scrubbing clothes, coming up with a variety of stain treatment mixes, and more just trying to get that piece of clothing presentable for another public wearing.

So, since I really hate doing laundry, the added chore of stain treating just about everything my daughter wears or touches (yes, my 3.5 year old is messier than my 1.5 year old) can sometimes make me wonder if it is worth the effort.

And then, like I’ve mentioned before, in the middle of the mundane tasks that we residents of Planet Mom experience, I hear the quiet voice of God talking to me. I’m muttering to myself, “stupid mac n’ cheese” as I scrub a pair of shorts. “These shorts are no better than a rag now.” So, I make a decision to just give up on the stained clothing and put it in the play clothes pile.

And then, revelation. God speaks. And truth is revealed in the middle of that laundry room. God reminds me that as a sinner, I am no different than that soiled pair of shorts I hold in my hands. Isaiah 64:6 says : All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. No matter what good deeds I may do in my life, no matter how “righteous” I try to be, those acts are no better than the dirty, stained laundry that surrounds me in the laundry room. There is nothing that I can do that cleanses myself before God.

However, our God provides a way for us to be transformed. Something better than bleach, Oxy-clean, Tide, or a Stain Stick! I John 1:7, 9, says “(7) the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” and “(9) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

So, I stand there, holding those stained shorts in my hand, marveling that God is God. I’m about to give up on those shorts, just like I have on so many other pieces of clothing. And I just thank the Lord that my God did NOT give up on me or you. Even though our sins make us no better than a filthy, soiled rag, our God saw value in us. Our God did not just throw us away or put us in a play clothes pile. Our God restores us!!! With the blood of Jesus Christ, the ULTIMATE stain fighter, he cleanses us!

I can’t help but think of the old hymn I learned as child. Whiter than Snow by James Nicholson. Enjoy!

Lord Jesus, I long to be perfectly whole; I want Thee forever to live in my soul; Break down every idol, cast out every foe— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow, Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Lord Jesus, let nothing unholy remain, Apply Thine own blood and extract every stain; To get this blest cleansing, I all things forego— Now wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.