08 February 2013

Lessons From the Throw-Up Bucket

Dear Lissy,

We're headed into a two day blizzard, and your brothers are sleeping in late because it's a Friday during robotics build season.  My head is swirling with ideas for letters.  The dangers of determinism in parenting? My baked bean recipe? A fun postcard on my fav pen, the Cello, only available at Big Lots or on e-bay?  Or how about the little hack I learned from Mrs. D that matches are a far better air freshener than anything available in a can or plug in?  (Mostly because guys will actually use matches, and they rarely remember to use the Lysol).

Because of a perfect storm in my devotions (Luke 4), a book I'm re-reading (Shepherding A Child's Heart), and, um, current events on social media sites, I'm going to cover vomit.  Yup, upchuck, throw-up, nastiness.  Great letter, huh?

Vomit and diapers were the one prenuptial agreement your Dad and I had.  I didn't have to EVER clean up vomit if he was home, and he didn't have to change I diaper if I was.  Best deal I ever made.  You see, I can't stand regurgitated stomach contents.  If someone has even thrown up in the room in the last hour, I can't go in without my own stomach turning.  If I hear someone vomiting, I'm instantly nauseous.  I really and truly can't stand it.  Diaper blowout?  No prob.  Blood gushing?  Pass the gauze.  Mommy, my tummy doesn't feel good?  GO SEE YOUR FATHER!!!!!

But, oh, there were those times he wasn't home, or he was sick, too, and the cleanup became my responsibility.  It was only love that sustained me through those long hours.  Pulling soaked clothes off a tiny, quivering body and slipping my dear little one into a warm, bubbly bath.  Helping you sip Gatorade an ounce at a time and nibble on a cracker.  Running load after load of laundry and blazing through cans of Lysol. Cleaning out the cracks between floorboards or carpet (why was it never the linoleum????).  Love couldn't have left you sitting in filth for hours until I had help from Dad again.

My feelings on vomit are God's feelings on sin, just multiply them by a bazillion.
I don't hate you because you're covered in throwup.  But I am sure not cuddling you until you're completely cleaned up.

It is not o.k. if you have a little vomit on your jammies or your pillowcase.  It has to be ALL gone.

I don't care if it's -6 degrees outside, that window is open until the smell is gone. I'd rather pay to reheat the room than smell vomit.

Sin breaks fellowship between God and I (or God and you).  He can't stand even the tiniest bit or the lingering smell.  But just like your earthly Father, He's willing to clean you up completely to restore the relationship.

Think of temptation as spiritual nausea.
My goal was always, always to prevent the vomiting.

We stayed healthy and strong with good nutrition, sleep, and exercise.

We avoided social situations when the rotovirus was rampant.

We washed and sanitized our hands frequently during the winter.  I bleached doorknobs and faucets and cart handles.

If you started feeling woozy, I gave you ginger and peppermint and Pepto in an attempt to overcome the nausea.

When the inevitable stomach virus struck, we faithfully cleaned, and bleached, and Lysoled in an attempt to keep it from spreading within the family.

In the same way, I try to keep myself from situations that will put me in danger of sin.  When I am someplace I can't help but avoid it, I am extra vigilant -- "I hate the works of them that turn aside, it shall not cleave to me!"  When a particular sin becomes a problem for one family member, we help clean it up with the water of the Word.  We depend on the power of the Word and our God to keep the rest of us spiritually healthy.  All through Luke 4, it is Jesus' power and authority in doctrine that gives him power and authority over the devils.

Its almost impossible to clean up after yourself when you're sick.  My senior year of college I got violently sick, and vomited on the carpet of my dorm room.  My roomies were awesome, but I had to clean that bad boy up myself.  Which made me vomit all over again.  It was miserable.  Even now, Dad takes care of me when I'm sick.
When we're splattered or soaked in the vomit of sin, we need to run to Jesus for cleansing.  Only our older brother and Heavenly Father can completely wash away the stink of sin.  We just keep making ourselves sicker and sicker when we try.
There were countless times that one of you would come get me to tell me a brother or sister was ill.  I never, ever, ever expected you to help clean up another sibling's vomit.  Ugh.  But I did expect you to come get me rather than run away or ignore it. I often asked you to run a warm bath, fetch a clean set of clothes, or put warm, sweet sheets out of the dryer back onto the bed so I could get to work on cleaning up the person. God doesn't want us trying to clean up another brother or sister's sin, either.  That's His job.  But he does expect us to come get him or bring them the instant they're ill.   When we run away from, accept, or ignore another believer's sin, we're in BIG trouble.  He will often ask us to help with clean clothes or bedding that he's already prepared for them.  As we grow older and more mature in the Lord, we are able to help others more that have fallen into sin, but we can never remove that sin.  Only God has that power.

Everybody's up now, and the wind is blowing fierce.  Time to get to work!

Love and snuggles on this blustery day,

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