Confession time today – I’m a bit of a hand-wash harridan.
As a nurse, I spent more time than I care to count washing my hands at a sink.
Those were the days before alcohol sprays and hand-sanitisers were prevalent.
We washed and scrubbed as if our lives (or that of our patients at least) depended on it.
Germs didn’t stand a chance!
As a mother of two young sons, I waged war on the dirt that clung with magnetic-like resistance and repulsed attempts to dislodge itself from football and rugby kit.
Somehow, dirt and boys have an irresistible attraction to one another.
In the era that was pre ‘In-wash’ grime-grabbers, it was a siege against soil wrought with a large bar of green ‘Fairy’ soap, scrubbing brush in hand, ‘elbow grease’ and dogged determination that succeeded in shifting the stains enough to allow machine to take over.
Before little boys graced our lives, I lived as one chained to sink.
Mine red hands that cracked, chapped with soreness, dry as paper, rough as a washerwoman’s.
For I could not shift stains that seeped from heart so soiled it leaked over every surface
Nothing I touched was safe. Germs and dirt lurked everywhere. Nothing shifted it.
In matters of my heart’s state, it was more of a Lady Macbeth cry of, “Will these hands ne’er be clean?” as I scrubbed yet again at the crusted-on soil of my imperfections.
Not just the hands, but heart, mind and everything else.
Peter-like, seeking total immersion in Christ’s washing power.
In life, I have many a heart-sink moment as the following thoughts invade:
I’m a failure. I can’t do this. I’m drowning. I’m my own worst enemy.
No matter how many times I try to clean up on the inside, I fail continually
Spring-cleaning as we know it doesn’t help clean ingrained dirt in heart, mind and life.
Though even in the grime-busting there remains a beauty of sorts as bubbles burst with rainbow radiance – a visible reminder of the wondrous power of God’s grace to remove our stains.
Just lately, self-esteem has hit rock bottom. The detritus of discouragement has dirtied my thoughts with its muddy footprints.
Comparison has stolen my joy. Competitiveness sours my peace. Criticism (generally of the self-inflicted variety) saps my confidence.
How dare I have the temerity to pursue a God-sized dream, write a blog and start an on-line course, when health and energy are always compromised? Who do I think I am?
I am continually reminded of my weak human frailty and condition.
Then I remember how God fashioned us as clay – earthy, malleable, ready to be made fit for purpose. And that takes time, co-operation, willingness and obedience.
His purpose involves rescuing from those things that hold us captive; yes, even saving us from ourselves, our worst thoughts, activities and desires.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” ~ Psalm 40:1-2
God sees our potential even as we drown in poison.
He places His own desires, plans and purposes in our hearts.
We can stand strong instead of mud-sinking.
The Rock we stand on is Christ Himself. Firm. Immovable. Strong. Dependable.
We are seed-bearers of His goodness and carriers of His grace, beautiful in His sight.
This gives me hope that though I may sink at times, I am never sunk
Love lifted me and He still does – every single day.
We’re not designed for swamp living, though we can be pretty happy splashing about in muddy waters if that’s all we’ve known.
This week Kimberly Coyle is hosting #concretewords – where we write in the abstract using a concrete word prompt – over at her site. The prompt is ‘The Sink’.