If You wash me, I will be whiter than snow.
OK, so the story goes like this… I arrive at the school office to deal with some health room emergency for one of my kids. I am dressed in full business attire, make-up and picture-perfect hair, resembling your average working, competent adult. When suddenly, the school secretary looks up and joyfully proclaims, “Wow! You look great today!”
Yeah, if you’re a mom raising a child with special needs, you know what I’m going to say next. They have become so used to me showing up at the school looking like “The Sea Hag” of “Popeye” fame, adorned in a sweatshirt, hair flat and cosmetics absent, that they barely recognize me when I arrive at the school looking like a typical, professional, functional adult.
It isn’t easy trying to manage personal appearance while also tending to the medical and emotional needs of kids like mine. In fact, I have even gone through seasons of parenthood where I based my current hairstyle on how it would look going from bed directly to hospital emergency room. After all, some cuts require major curling before a girl even begins to look human!
And let’s face it, when our kids are going through major, major stuff with whatever the diagnosis might be, sometimes we moms just don’t get to take a shower in a 24 hour period. I went through a stretch like that recently, and I couldn’t even stand the smell of myself! All I wanted to do was crawl out of the grime and filth of my own skin.
Isn’t it like that sometimes with our own sin?
Thank GOD for the unmatchable cleansing power of Jesus!
For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! (NKJV)
How similar is this description of a burning passion for spiritual cleanliness to a special needs mother’s deep longing for the physical freshness of a shower! So much seems to be beyond our own control, no matter how much we will it to be different. We need a Savior! Our only true hope for renewal is found in Christ alone.
The next time you find yourself suffering long, away from the refreshment of a shower because of the demands of raising your child with special needs, whisper a prayer of thanks to your Maker. He doesn’t just offer you the spiritual equivalent of bath-in-a-bag, but provides instead a long, soothing, thorough cleansing of all your filth. That is a hopeful comfort big enough to carry you far beyond today’s bath, into all eternity.
PRAY: Jesus, thank You for offering Your life as the ultimate detergent for my sinful soul. I am completely imperfect. Yet, I come to you with a humble and loving heart asking You to continue to wash me clean and renew my soul.
* Originally posted on COMFORT IN THE MIDST OF CHAOS, May 2, 2014
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Ahh, the husband is out of town for a few days… thank goodness for new mercies every day. Today was day one, and though it went well it wasn’t perfect. Living on grace and forgiveness these next few days…and hopefully I’ll get a shower in. 😉
Anita Morrison says
Wonderful post, Barbara! I am so thankful that God’s grace is new every morning and that He is the God of second chances (and third, and fourth…). My children are grown now, but there were many days where I had to go back to my children an apologize for my sinful behavior. Children are amazingly gracious and are always willing to forgive. I don’t have a special needs child, but I am a sibling of a special needs child. I have a heart of encouragement and love towards special needs children and their parents. God bless you.
Denie Sidney says
Perfect encouragement for where I am today. Just finished a stressful hospital stay with my 3 yr. old and we are trying to get her acclimated to her home routine again. I can identify with those times of showerless days and stressed out emotions of impatience with my husband and daughter. Thanks for your transparency and hopefulness.
Stephanie McKeever says
This hit home today. Not so much the shower part, but me having a temper, being demanding and being the one doing the sinning. Thanks for the reminder.
Barbara Dittrich says
Thank God I’m not the only imperfect one, Stephanie! 😉
Jen P. says
Thank you for writing this! This message resonated with where I’m at in life. Your words are an encouragement to a weary soul!
Barbara Dittrich says
Glad to hear it touched your heart, Jen. SO grateful God gave us parents one another to get through this journey!