Oh, the laundry…
Piles, and piles, and piles of dirty laundry…And no matter how careful you are, at the end of the folding and sorting, you still wind up with an odd number of socks. Or that perfectly-now-mildewed-load you forgot about two days ago. Sigh…
Just use your imagination to picture what our laundry looked like, while raising three boys, who all participated in sports. Throw in a very adventuresome husband, my case for saying I really am blessed with four boys, and we’re talkin’ Mt. Everest-like piles.
This past week, even tho’ we’re now empty nesters, my husband (remember, my fourth boy) has been all over the state of Kentucky hunting doves. You know those poor, lil’ ole coo-ing birds. Nope, we’re not travelin’ down the hunting road for discussion, but let’s just say, as I type, our yard has as many feathers strewn about as blades of grass.
I’ve grabbed the Oxi Clean more than once to spray the mud and blood out of his huntin’ clothes. Ewwwwwwww.
God’s timing is hilarious. Last week I was with dear friends discussing Chapter One from Liz Curtis Higgs’ Bad Girls of the Bible and What We Can Learn From Them. I was stunned to discover “laundry” is in the Bible!
We arrived at question three, part b (This is on page 246 if you have the book). Liz says, “Psalm 51 gives us a biblical model for handling sin in our lives, step by step.
You may be surprised to discover how much God is willing to do on your behalf. Read the entire psalm, and then note the many specific things David asked God to do for him. Of all those requests, which ONE would YOU ask of God right now?”
When I did my homework on these questions, I’d read from the NIV version. I noted it seemed like a really good “shopping list”! I found it more-than-challenging to choose just one thing to ask God.
Especially after my friend Jane read it to us in the Message (See below.) We all wound up choosing several. You can see I highlighted our favorites.
Psalm 51: 1-17, in the Message, reads:
“(1-3) Generous in love—God, give grace!
huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
(4-6) You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
(7-15) Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breath holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
(16-17) Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.”
Look at verse 2: “Scrub away my guilt, soak out my sins in your laundry.” Isn’t that the best visual? All of you laundresses out there, can you relate?
(Quick time out: Those of you who love to iron like I do (NOT!) may be happy to hear my friend, Sherry, doesn’t even own an iron! I told her, upon this exuberant discovery, we’d be fast friends forever. I digress…)
Back to the Bible: Verse 7 is even better: “Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean, scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.” This is such a picture of cleansing and redemption. Love that.
Several of us in the group also chose vs. 10, which in the NIV is about asking for a “pure heart and the renewal for a steadfast spirit.” I love how the Message says, “God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.”
How many times do we beg for “do-overs”? All you golfers out there, don’t you love mulligans? I sure could use a “Genesis week”. You?
A couple of other gals chose vs. 12 regarding “restoration of joy and a willing spirit to sustain us.” (NIV) Whereas the Message says, “Bring me back from GRAY EXILE, put a FRESH WIND in my sails.”
What a great picture of renewal, restoration, even rescue from the depths of despair or “gray exile”. Isn’t that the best? See what I mean by a great “shopping list”???
What we tend to forget is King David wrote this psalm after he was confronted by the prophet Nathan over his adultery with Bathsheba. Let’s not forget he also orchestrated the killing of Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband! (See 2 Samuel 11)
And yet the redeeming kicker is: David knows where to go, whom to go to, and what to ask for. Mercy. Forgiveness. Cleansing. Deliverance. He knows the traits of the Lord because of their relationship.
Relationship with us is what God seeks. In Liz’ book on the Bad Girls, she points out that while Adam and Eve had sinned by eating the apple, God still sought them out. He went to find them. “You can run, but you can’t hide” has never been so true.
And covering up our sins? That doesn’t work either, because God knows. Sooner or later the truth will come out. I pray we all will realize where we are with God. Are you okay with Him today?
Max Lucado, in his new book, You’ll Get Through This—Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times, tells of a time when he and his wife, Denalyn, were in a disagreement about which realtor to use for the sale of their home. He stormed off to church to preach. (Well now there’s a future searing sermon if there ever was one!)
Gnawing at his heart was this all-is-not-right feeling. He said, “The distance between my house and the church building is only a five-minute drive. But that’s all it took for God to prick my conscience with the truth. Shouldn’t you be at peace with your wife before you preach to my church?”
Finally, before preaching, Max called Denalyn and they talked thru’ their problem. He knew if his heart wasn’t right with his wife, it wasn’t right with God either. Let’s pose that question again: Are you okay with Him today?
I experienced a tortuous time recently. It begged for some truth-telling. I lost more than a night’s sleep over it. And the longer it went on, the worse things got. I felt like I was dragging a wagon full of lead, everywhere I went.
Finally, the truth came out. Yes, there were consequences, but I have never in my life experienced more freedom and relief.
John 8:32 is the best: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (NKJV) My Life Application Bible enlightens: “Jesus himself is the truth that sets us free. He is the source of truth, the perfect standard of what is right. He frees us from the consequences of sin, from self-deception, and from deception by Satan.”
John 8:36 says, “ If the Son sets you free you are free indeed.” NIV
My treasured friends, we must hang our hats on verse 2, where David is saying God is “Huge in mercy.” He asks Him to wipe out his bad record, scrub away his guilt, and we can now return to the laundry (!): “soak out my sins in your laundry.” Perhaps go have a good soak in your bathtub!
Verse 7 in the NIV says, “Wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”
May God’s unfailing love cover every square inch of you and me. And may our laundry piles only be a reminder of the cleansing we have available from God and His unending grace.
Don’t miss verse 17 in the Message: “Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.”
‘Til next time!
(This post is dedicated to one of the most amazing writers and sweetest friends around: Liz Curtis Higgs. She’s the real deal. She’s a precious, encouraging friend and mentor to me. She’s one of my favorite authors (www.lizcurtishiggs.com). She loves the Lord more than life itself. She can articulate grace to others like no other person I know. She juggles a crammed calendar, a smokin’ keyboard on her computer, a brain burstin’ with books and still somehow ministers to all of us. God Bless you, Lizzie. Keep writing and I’ll buzz over and do your laundry any time. Of course, it may come out very gray! And by the way, we are LOVING the Bad Girls!)
Y’all come see us in Bible study. We’ve only started with the first Bad Girl, and there are nine more to go! (Click on….“You’re invited”…)