In the Middle of a Daily Washing

"No matter the jarring,
a jar of fresh water can’t spill filthy water."
 ~ Ann Voskamp

Ann’s words so often play my heart like a string and the notes reverberate within me for days on end. As writers, whatever is within us is invariably what flows out of us – but then again, that’s true of all of us, isn’t it? When we’re shaken, whatever is within us will spill out of us and sometimes, it’s filthy.

What I want more than anything is, when I’m shaken, for living water to fall afresh to the ground around me. When the people around me are shaken, I want to be able to pour out living water onto them, too. Which means that I am going to have to be filled to the brim, washed with the cleansing water of His word… daily.

I wrote last week about compassion; stemming from my little boy making a careless mistake that cost him something that he loved dearly. The Lord taught me something through that seemingly trivial incident about intent; and about His mercy in the midst of our mistakes.

It is still fresh on my heart – and I have to believe that lesson; that mercy is poured out on us no matter how grave a mistake, no matter how priceless what we lose.

He fills us with mercy so that we may pour it on onto others when they need it the most.
Earlier this week, a local young mother made a tragic, fatal mistake by leaving her infant daughter in her vehicle. It wasn’t intentional. She was, like so many of us, hurried and heavy burdened, scurrying to work. It was a tragic misstep. Much has been written and discussed about it this week, in both media and social media. I don’t have any more words to form any more meaningful sentences to contemplate that kind of agony. As mamas, we can’t fathom the loss of a child, but losing a child by a preventable mistake of our own is a lifelong sentence of guilt and suffering that most of us would prefer our own death over. “I wish it had been me in that car seat” she said.

I was only a few miles away when the incident happened. It had popped up on a breaking local news alert. My heart grew tight in my chest and whispered a prayer for that mama and that baby. And then I read the alert… and then the comments pouring in.

People were obviously shaken, but what was pouring out was almost as disturbing and as tragic as the story itself: it was a display of merciless public backlash – immediate rush to judgment, calls for prosecution, outright heartless, compassionate-less vitriol. People were shaken – and what was spilled and spattered out was toxic.

The feeds on my social media slowly filled with the thoughts and comments of friends and acquaintances. I have been both surprised and disappointed by the number of people who are apparently reliant – and seemingly proud of - on their own self-sufficiency. They are the ones casting stones, hurling words of insult and accusation, pouring salt into the open and bleeding wounds of a mama who will bury her baby girl on the very day she’d planned for her first birthday party.
Heartache sinks in, and the truth comes with it: I am no better than them.

Any of them – not the ones holding the stones, not the one holding her lifeless child.
Standing before a holy God, the only thing flawless or good or sufficient in me is Christ Himself, the righteousness of God, who clothes me with the very essence of Himself.

He who poured Himself out so that we may be cleansed – and filled with His spirit so that we can pour it out onto others in this broken and lost and dying world.

Each day, His mercies are afresh. Each day, He offers us the gift of Himself and His spirit – if only we would open ourselves, acknowledging the fragility and inadequacy of these cracked basins of our hearts -

they we require filling and cleansing every day.

Oh Lord, cleanse our hearts, our mouths, our hands… Fill us to the brim with your spirit, your grace and your mercy. When we are shaken to our core, may it be you that freely flows from our depths.

1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

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