Sunday, October 4, 2009


A tangible answer to one of my hard questions in


With the chance of rain 100% our small, church group of eight kids and six adults caravanned 30 miles to go fishing. I was prepared with poles, tackle, bait, rain gear, snacks, water, camp chairs, a change of clothes for my preschool daughter and a good attitude. All was smooth sailing until I got out of the car and met my teenage son who had been riding in another car. Holding his bottom like a toddler, he said I have to go really bad. The bathroom is way up there and I can’t make it, I’m going to go in the woods. I handed him two tissues and he took off.

I’ll save you smelly details and just tell you that when he was done, there was no way he could stay and fish. His hands, pants, shirt and shoes were all contaminated. Not just a little, but a lot! A good mom is always thinking on her feet. We washed as much off as possible using bottled water, and then hand sanitizer, but the mom and 10 years of OSHA training in me would not let me allow him to even go near the other people. At first I was upset, but God quickly reminded me of a similar experience I had only two months prior. So with compassion in my heart, I placed a trash bag down on the back seat for my son to sit on and we headed back home.

During this humiliating return trip, God did some powerful teaching. I love how God uses our lowest places to teach us his ways. After the first few silent minutes in the car, I shared with my son a time when I was stuck on the interstate with no way to turn around for an hour and had stomach cramps and needed to go to the bathroom. I ended up filling my pants and then had to drive more than an hour to get home. I told my son that from that experience I learned I have no control over my life and that the Bible tells us that “our righteousness is as filthy rags.” I said the very best we have to offer God is like the shitty mess we were both in. Yet, God loves us anyway. “God loves you too,” I told him, “just as you are, shit and all. There is nothing we can do to make our selves good enough for God. He doesn’t expect us to clean ourselves up before coming to him and committing our lives to him.”

After taking a shower and putting on clean clothes, my son said with sincerity, “Mom, thanks for driving me home to clean up. I feel so much better.” I looked him straight in the face and said, “Son, that’s what God wants to do with your life. He wants to take you home, clean you up and love you with no punishment or ridicule. Then you will be ready to face the world.”

We talked some more on the 30 mile trip back to the lake where everyone else was fishing. God delivered so many messages to my son, that I can not even remember them all. I just know that I was so excited to have been a usable vessel to share the love of God with my son. He did get to fish a little and the pastor even cooked some more hotdogs for him to eat. What had the potential to be a complete disaster, turned out to be the most meaningful and beautiful time I have ever spent with my son.

What about you? Are you still trying to offer your best (shitty, filthy rags) to God in exchange for his love? Give up my friend. All God wants you to do is just let him clean you up. He will not be-little you or ridicule you. He is gentle and kind and loves you just as you are.

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6 (NLT)

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

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