Stinky Carpet and Alabaster Jars

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Forgive me, dear Moms and random readers. I’m going a bit deep for the second post in a blog that I’m not the greatest at maintaining. But since this blog is all about fearlessly mothering, I thought I’d go super spiritual and all. Isn’t that great? No cute stories about my three adorable, vivacious children, just some schmooze about Jesus and rainbows and how cleaning up toddler poop is like the way God cleans up our bad attitudes. Eh…sort of.

Bowing down at the feet of Jesus is such a glorious, stinky, awkward place to be.

I know that’s probably not what you think of when you recall the beautiful story in Luke 7, where the woman lavishes a costly bottle of perfume on Jesus’ feet. This picture of worship has captured the hearts of Christ followers for generations. There have been countless teachings on it and songs written about it. When I was in school studying worship, we spent a lot of time meditating on this story. I always had this picture in my head of a beautiful, timid woman standing in a doorway while Jesus talked with Important People on each side. He kindly looks up at her, and suddenly she runs to his feet and bows before him. In soft little worshipful sobs, she washes his feet with sacred tears.  She sweepingly uncovers her beautiful, long dark hair – which is something akin to a Pantene Pro V commercial— and graciously wipes his feet in a moving ballet of grace and love. Christ’s heart is moved, and in that moment she is known forever as the ultimate example of true, pure worship.

Let me admit right here that when I bow at the feet of Jesus, it is not that glamorous.

I shut the door quickly before any children (who are supposed to be napping) can come in and ask for some random, nap-evading object. My heart is moved to connect with my God, my Father-King, but as I kneel before him, I notice how stinky our carpet is. I look under our bed and find dirty laundry has been stuffed under there. I pray no bugs come crawling toward me as I kneel on the floor. I refocus and begin to concentrate on who He is – His unchanging character, His unconditional love. As we meet, He asks me to open my hands- literally- and give Him the things of the day that are holding me back from intimacy with Him. I begrudgingly let go of dirty clumps of pride, anger, annoyance and comparison, all tattered and broken like old receipts left in my pocket.  This is not a graceful movement of ballet proportions; it is similar to me trying to convince my two year-old son to hand over nasty, dried out, stale French fries that he found under the table from last night’s supper. As I wait, quietly, surrendering and sitting, I hear Him ask me to sing to Him. Sing from somewhere deep inside, a song unwritten and unheard. Now, this is no sweet, congregational singing. See, He’s asking me to sing a song from my heart, a song that comes from the depth of what He’s doing in me. A song that that reveals both my love and my testimony. So I start to sing. It sounds like… it sounds like… well, you know that scene in Elf, where Buddy the Elf sings his dad a song after meeting him two seconds ago? That’s what it sounds like. No heavenly notes or crescendos. No sweet, Kari Jobe-like utterances. Just me, before my Father, singing something very similar to “You’re my Dad, and… guess what, Daddy? I love you, I love you, I LOOVE YOUUUU!”

So…what exactly does stinky carpet and bad singing have to do with fearlessly mothering?

We are fearless when we know His love (1 John 4:17-19). And we know His love when we spend time in His Presence, because God IS love, and He loved us first (1 John 4:8 and 1 John 4:19).  I have to admit, I haven’t read a parenting book yet that matches the grace, wisdom, and sweet, pure love I find when I sit at the feet of Jesus for even just a little bit.

Teach us, Father, Dad, to come to you. To just simply come. Even if that’s with sticky hands and rotten attitudes, and even if the alabaster jar is covered in peanut butter and jelly. Even if my hair doesn’t actually wipe up Your tears because I haven’t washed it in 7 days, and the oily residue has rendered it waterproof. Teach me to come and unglamorously sit at your feet, without make up and without an agenda. Teach me to come, and You will teach me to be fearless.

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