In the brief but wonderful 13 months that I’ve been a mom, I have seen that parenting lends itself to perpetual parallels between the Spiritual and the natural. There are so many lessons I’ve learned about God’s nature hidden in how I feel about Eden. This is one of them.
Note: This particular blog entry contains some graphic descriptions that may be disturbing to people without kids, and people with kids who have an aversion to snot.
Last night I found myself following a trail of chocolate bunny snacks to where Eden sat, attempting to play with some of her favorite toys, with snot all over her face and hands. (I know of at least one person, Ashley Siner, who would be gagging just at the thought. I, however, grew up in a family that staunchly believed in the use of Kleenex -that was before Puffs Plus Lotion was available-, and a Mom who couldn’t handle when kids sniffed back their snot. In short, snot doesn’t really gross me out. Leave me alone in a room with a kid whose not my own and their dirty diaper, and that’s a different story.)
All that to say I felt terrible for Eden because I could have cleaned up her mess so much better than she. Since this cold set in, she’s all about trying to wipe her own nose, and to be honest, she is just not very efficient. She makes it worse every single time, and she ends up getting everything around her contaminated. As I was cleaning her off yesterday, and she was screaming her little heart out, I started to laugh just thinking about how similar we are sometimes. (Or maybe it’s just how similar I am.)
Don’t we frequently walk away from where our Spiritual Daddy sits, to go wander off and inevitably we make a mess of ourselves? And then, when we’ve made the mess, we try and clean it up, but we only make the whole thing even worse? So often I find that one “little” sin leads to so many more, and it just gets all over the people I love, and all over me. I let myself think discontented thoughts early in the day, and when I realize what I’ve done I end up so disappointed in myself that I can’t find the guts to spend time with God, and those thoughts slowly turns into me being easily irritated with the people I love, or selfish with my time, or I grumble and complain, and by the time I crawl into bed I’ve made my husband, my friends, and whoever happened to call me on the phone feel like I’m a perpetual little rain cloud.
I was reading something the other day that talked about how eager God is to meet us, even in the midst of our sin. He longs to set us free, and He looks at us graciously, like a Father with compassion. I wonder if He feels anything like what I felt last night finding Eden all messed up with her own snot. I felt so bad for her; all I wanted to do was get her cleaned up so she could enjoy the toys that I’ve given her to enjoy.
Since the beginning though, since Adam and Eve, its innately human to run away from God when we sin. Isn’t that the silliest thing? It’s as if He didn’t know we had it in us, as if His arm is too short to wipe our proverbial noses. But God’s desire, from the first moment we sin, is to get us clean. He wants to help us, He wants to set us free to go and enjoy life and not wallow in guilt. There is a verse in Proverbs I love that says, “The foolishness of a man twists his way, and his heart frets against the Lord.” Somehow, whenever I sin, I start to feel like God must not want anything to do with me anymore, and that I ought to somehow get myself straightened out before going to see Him. But He is nothing like us, and His logic isn’t our logic. He knows the secret, that only He has the perfect way to clean us, and that we do a pretty shabby job of it.
And sometimes when I sin, I start to identify myself with that sin, and think that God must hate me because I have sinned. God’s heart towards us and His heart towards sin are two different things. When we know Jesus and have invited Him into our hearts, He declares us His sons and daughters, and His heart towards us is pretty much summed up in Psalm 23, with the final verse adding the best part: “Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” He doesn’t lose sight of us in the middle of the sin- He doesn’t start identifying us with our sin. I don’t suddenly think of Eden as one big piece of snot just because she’s covered in it, I still see her worth and value in the middle of it. I just want her clean. I just want her to be able to live a better quality of life in the middle of her cold.
If I’m just Charis, a 24-year-old girl who helps out her precious daughter just because I adore her, don’t You think an ageless God has a much better understanding of the human spirit, a much better method of cleaning “noses”? Jesus says if we think we’re good parents, we should see God. “Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:9-11
“But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins- and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.” 1 John 2:1-2
We know that Jesus literally stands in Heaven and makes intercession for us (He prays on our behalf) and we can “with confidence draw near to the throne of Grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) So instead of running away next time, hiding in our corners leaving a trail of uneaten mess, and sitting in a pile of our own self-wiped snot, let’s do the wiser thing. Let’s run to our Heavenly Father, asking Him to wipe our noses, get us clean, and set us straight.