Ew. The stench hits me as my toddler looks up at me, arms stretched upward, and says “mom, hold me?” I laugh and tell him cuddles will come as soon as that dirty diaper gets changed! With only one little in diapers right now, I can’t complain too much, but dirty diapers are definitely one of those mundane tasks I just have to suck up and take care of. You know, put on my big girl pants and stuff.
But when I lay my toddler down to take care of his stink, he squirms. He cries. He thrashes about.
I ask him if he wants me to take care of his stinkies, remind him he’ll feel so much better once I do, then I’ll hold him. But he says “no,” and continues to throw a fit as I wrestle him still enough to get the job done.
And just like that, God shows me that sometimes I am a wriggling, cranky toddler while He works to get me clean, to get the stink off me.
Dirty diaper faith
Just like my toddler knows I take care of him, meet his needs, both those basic needs like making sure he’s clean and fed, and also the most extravagant needs I can muster up in my limited human ways, I know my Father is taking care of me… and yet? Why do I kick and scream and thrash about as He’s cleaning me up?
Is it because I have dirty diaper faith? Faith that’s easy to rest in when things are comfortable? They may not be clean, but they are comfortable, and Lord knows change is hard.
I have been walking through something… something I never asked for or expected, but the Lord said it’s time. He’s refining me and sanctifying me, in His ways, and certainly not my own. I’ve done things my own way for so long, Lord knows it was time to give Him control. But, BOY, has it been easier said than done.
He tells me to do one thing, the thing that will bring me a step closer to freedom, and I kick and scream and say “no.” I say “no” to the Maker of the Universe, and I do another thing, the thing I want to do, that I determine is best for me.
How could I possibly know what’s best for me?
He asks me to be quiet, to rest in Him, and simply to trust. But I have my own ideas, and I push full-steam ahead, unwilling to be still or quiet.
Growing pains are… painful
Does this sound familiar at all? Am I the only one who resists when the Lord gently calls me to trust Him, to give something up? To give up control to Him?
I’m reminded of the new Hillary Scott song: “I know you’re good, but this don’t feel good right now.”
Growing pains hurt. They hurt. I mean deep down, these growing pains scrape at my soul, cleaning away the filth that has separated me from Him and from the freedom He offers. When I continue pressing on, insisting on doing things my own way, lest I lose the control I’ve worked so hard to gain… control over my health, over my past, over my children, my husband and marriage… I can never accept that freedom.
But when I refuse to press on, and instead press in, press in to Him, in new and exciting, and painfully growing ways, I get a glimpse of the freedom He offered all along. And even though growing pains don’t feel good… I know He’s good.
And so, as I make one small choice at a time to let Him lead, a link is broken in the chains that have held me captive.
Oh no doubt, it’s been easier to stay comfortable in my dirty diaper faith. Just like my toddler would prefer to just keep on about his business, not having to stop and take the time to be cleaned up, but ultimately separating himself from me (because mama don’t want to cuddle no stinky babies), I think I can carry on… I’ve done just fine this long.
But He yearns for more for me, and I don’t want to settle for anything less than His best for me. Nor do I want to be separated from Him by my stink. Because you know we can’t accept the fullness of His embrace if there is filth separating us from Him.
Do you want to stay stinky?
Listen, I know for a lot of us who have been saved for a long time, or consider ourselves mature Christians, this may seem extreme. But here’s the thing: we all have something. I thought that when I chose to forgive the molestation in my past, accept forgiveness for my foolish teenage years, and receive wholeness in my marriage, that I didn’t have much work left to do, after all that was a lot of work (whew!).
But He’s never done with us, and He’s been showing me that through feeding my family healthy food, I’ve put more trust in my own efforts than what He has to offer. When we live like our own efforts are the best we can do, we are selling ourselves short. We are living like paupers when we could be living like heirs of the throne!
So, I’ve stayed stinky for far too long, lost in the comfort of my control, unwilling to let Him clean me up, because it was too much work, too painful, and too scary.
I’m still not sure what’s waiting for me on the other side of this relenting of control, but I know that whatever it is, He already knows the good He has planned for me, and who am I to get in the way of that? No, I choose to let His will prevail, put aside my own thoughts, desires, and will, and let Him clean me up and make me fresh and new.
Thy will be done: let freedom reign.