How God Loves Us In Our Mess

sleepingI don’t remember what we were talking about when it happened. I just remember I was having a nice time eating my buffalo chicken salad in the booth of the restaurant when my Mom cried out, “Oh no! Bekah!

But it was too late. My two-year-old daughter who was sitting in my lap, began throwing up right there in the booth. “Give her the bag!” Mom said.

I scrambled for the plastic Target bag next to me, and held it out, missing most of it, and catching only a few ounces. I sprang up from the booth, holding her in my arms, wet with vomit and ran through the restaurant, yelling, “Excuse us!” at a crowd of people in the lobby, who moved like frantic seagulls as we dashed wildly through them. I was still clutching the plastic bag of puke in my hand, which I’m sure left a nice trail behind us.

As we burst into the ladies’ room, she threw up again, on the floor in front of the sink.

I locked us into the first open stall and squatted next to the toilet, holding her frail little body on my knee and told her, “You can throw up in the toilet, okay?” But she just looked at me with her deep blue eyes, and started crying, “I’m sorry Mommy.” She collapsed her blonde head on my shoulder, “I’m sorry.”

And my heart wrenched. “Oh honey,” I said, pulling her close to my chest, “You don’t have to be sorry. It’s okay.”

Mom came in and handed us baby wipes under the bathroom stall door and helped us into our car. She wished me well, gave me a hug and some hand sanitizer. And we headed out for our hour journey  home.

In the car, she fell fast asleep just minutes after pulling out of the parking lot. And as I drove, she smelled like throw up, and so did I. Her clothes were wet with it, and so were mine. But I couldn’t help glancing into the rearview mirror at her–sleeping with her head cocked, still holding the empty box of wipes I had given her to catch her throw up in.

And I never loved her more.

My heart ached with love for her.

I just wanted to stop the car and crawl back there and hold her, just as she was. I wanted to keep telling her it was okay, and that I was taking care of her, and that I wouldn’t leave her side. I wanted to tell her, even in her mess, that she was still so beautiful to me. That she was never more precious.

That I loved being her mom.

Tears trickled down my cheeks, as I drove the interstate that day. Love-sick for her.

And as I drove, and glanced at her, precious and asleep, I thought of God.

Of how He feels about us.

Because He knows what it’s like to be a parent. He knows exactly how it feels. This. This deep ache of love.

This love I feel today, that is so tender and violent, it would move mountains, and rend heavens, and go to the ends of the earth to rescue her–He feels this all the time.

For His sons.

And His daughters.

When He finds us deep in our mess, our weakness, our sickness, with throw up in our hair and tears on our cheeks. He doesn’t run from us.

He runs to us.

He sprints, He chases wildly. He scoops us into His arms. He washes us. And clothes us. And comes to our rescue.

And this is why He came.

For, “He remembers that we are dust.” And He is gentle, and kind, full of mercy and compassion, slow to anger, and rich in love. “A bruised reed He will not break, a smoldering wick, He will not snuff out.” 12:20

And Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

I look back in the rearview mirror again, and see her. And love her. With aching love. And know, just a little bit, of how God feels toward me. Toward every son. And every daughter.

In need of rescue.

When Your “Easter Best” Looks Pretty Bad

bedhead

I didn’t give my daughter an Easter basket this year. Instead, I gave her a waste-basket. Why? Because late last night, she woke up puking. Our night was filled with trips to the bathroom, loads of laundry and cleaning up puke.

Not the Easter I had imagined this year. Her pretty turquoise dress hung on her doorknob in the dark as she and I lay in her bed. I pulled her against my chest and took in the scent of throw up in her hair as we drifted off to sleep together.

This morning, as we lay tangled together on top of sheets and towels, she began to stir. My eyes fluttered open and I helped cover her again with blankets and stroked her face to help her fall back asleep. My heart ached for my poor two-year-old who would not get to wear her pretty dress today, or have any candy, or see any cousins or grandparents. But as we lie there together, my eyes met her big blue ones, and she smiled at me, the blankets half covering her face. Then she said in a groggy, tiny voice, “This is so fun.” I smiled wide at her.

This is so fun.

I’m sometimes taken aback by her innocence. How she lives without expectations or demands. How she finds joy in the most unlikely of places. And calls me into it.

Our morning was spent at home together. All of our big plans, flushed down the toilet. With the puke. Instead of a big Easter brunch at my mom’s, we feasted on Saltines and Pedialyte. Instead of getting all gussied up in our Easter best, I stayed in my sweats, and she in her footie-pajamas. Instead of attending a nice church service, we laid on the couch wrapped in a cocoon of blankets and watched cartoons.

And we looked…just terrible. She had a fro in the back that wasn’t going to calm down easily. Along with the dried puke. As I took her to the tub, and began to fill it with hot soapy water, I was halted by a glimpse of myself in the mirror. And…wow.

bad hair day

Need I say more?

Yikes.

Tonight, as I scroll through the news feeds of everyone in their Easter best, I realize how bad we look here at our house. In Easter’s past, we have tried to look pretty, and hopefully next year’s Easter, we will look slightly better than we do right now.

But if not, it’s okay. Because as I sit here, with a wild bun on my head and no make-up. I’m reminded that Easter is not about how good we look. It’s about how good our God looks. It’s about Christ.

It’s not about making much of ourselves. It’s about making much of Him. It’s not about gazing at ourselves in the mirror. It’s about gazing at Him. If our Easter best looks pretty bad, it doesn’t really matter at all. Not even a little bit.

What matters today, and every day, is that, Christ looks good. Because He is good. And He is alive. And He is here.   And He is so much bigger than Easter. Because He really did destroy the powers of darkness, and triumphed over them, making a spectacle of them. And He did pour out His blood, He did make a way, for us to obtain salvation. Even in our ugliness. Even in our wickedness. And whether in pretty Easter dresses, or rags…He came to those who were far off, and called them close. And called them His children. He rescued us from eternal death.

So He can’t just be hard-boiled and decorated the way we want. Because there’s a live chick in that egg.

And He’s alive. And He’s going to crack the sky when He comes back. And His name is Jesus.

And He is beautiful. And holy. And mighty. And He made a way for the ones covered in puke. And sin. He washes us. He restores us. And He clothes us in robes of righteousness. For His name sake.

“So, I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it, when it’s all about You. It’s all about You, Jesus.” –Heart of Worship

Like I said, our Easter best is lookin’ pretty bad this year. But it doesn’t matter. Because He is alive. And He is looking more radiant and beautiful than ever.