When you put the clothing away, it is clean and folded - at least, that's how I try to store mine, so that it is not absolute chaos to find what I might need or want later. I don't keep stained clothing, as a general rule. However, when you get it down after months, or likely a couple of years, of it sitting in the attic, it looks different. Stains have reappeared.
This is especially true on little baby stuff when they are still drooling and spitting up a lot all over their clothes. I remember my shock the first time I realized that those stains had actually been there the whole time, waiting to resurface. The clothes look pretty good fresh out of the wash, but let them sit still for a while, and their true colors come out.
This feels like an obvious comparison to me, but I spent a lot of time last week thinking about how this is how my life feels. I think much of the time that things look pretty good on the outside. I can play by the rules. I can put on a happy face. I can be nice to people. My insides wash up well and can basically put on a good show.
But that doesn't usually show the whole picture, even to myself. Nitty gritty life has a way of revealing the hidden things inside my heart that are much less pleasant to see. The stains that sin leaves. The ugly parts that I would rather keep to myself. It is usually just a matter of time before they come out in some way.
Maybe its a tough moment with my children when I find myself angrier than I have any right or reason to be. Maybe its a challenging conversation that leaves me frustrated for days and unwilling to forgive. Maybe its waiting in a line, when my impatience shows that I actually do believe that the world should revolve around me. Maybe its the self-righteousness and pride that accompany so many of my thoughts, even when I wish they wouldn't.
Those things are all inside of me, biding their time, waiting to be revealed when pressed. Sometimes its an incredibly discouraging thought. I so much want my life to reflect more of who Jesus is as it goes on, and when I realize all over again the things inside of me, it can be so frustrating.
In a book about Galatians by Tim Keller that we have been going through, he said this, and it has really stuck with me:
The gospel of justifying faith means that while Christians are, in themselves still sinful and sinning, yet in Christ, in God’s sight, they are accepted and righteous. So we can say that we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope — at the very same time.
I'm so thankful to be so loved and accepted by Christ even in my wicked state. It's such a great hope to have in Jesus, truly.
Back to the clothes - this is what I do to get most of those stains out. I learned this tip from a friend, and it really works on most stuff. It's water, Dawn Dish soap and color-safe Clorox. I leave them in the bowl for days and stir it every so often. There's a little tip for your Monday.