Friday, May 2, 2014

Mom Problems

Photo courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee via
  Cleanse me of my wickedness with hyssop, and I will be clean.
    If You wash me, I will be whiter than snow.
~ Psalm 51:7, VOICE ~

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?

I have times where my shortcomings are as unrelenting as that un-showered body odor.  Like the days where I lose it with the kids, as if my temper is helpful with my son's anxiety or my youngest daughter's Aspergian obsessing.  I feel awful, and I just want to be set free from the stench of my own selfishness.  Then there are the days where I am unreasonably demanding of my husband.  It may not be his fault, but I let him feel the full weight of my displeasure with life.  I always return to apologize, but the stain of my sin remains on his wounded emotions.

Thank GOD for the unmatchable cleansing power of Jesus!

The One True Son of God is the only one equipped to remove the odors and stains of life that nothing else can get out -- Not my best intentions, not my self-will or desire, not my good behavior, not my best performance.   Romans 5:15-25 puts it so well:

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.

~ Barb Dittrich

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