A year ago our family bought a house – an old house. It has five bedrooms, allowing everyone to have their own bedroom! Now we KNOW who made the messes in each bedroom! What the house doesn’t have is more than one bathroom. Our family has three teenagers (who like to take long hot showers every day), two adults (yes well, I guess we like hot showers too...) and one 10 year old who is forced to take a shower at least a few times a week. Most people would think this would be a major time problem, but actually it hasn’t been because our family doesn’t all rush out to work or school at the same time each morning. But we have had another problem. The upper half of the walls and the ceiling in this one bathroom (including over the shower) are simply painted plywood. Do you know what happens to painted plywood when it never really has a chance to dry? Can you say MILDEW?! Yuck. I am not the house-cleaning type stay-at-home mom; I’m more the home school/field trip/karate teacher/motorcycle riding/on-the-go type stay-at-home mom. So I have to admit I have ignored the gross spots growing on our bathroom ceiling for a couple of months… and now they are growing down the walls. Someone had suggested that I was not neglecting my cleaning, I was growing Halloween decorations... but as our family typically ignores Halloween, that seemed pretty feeble. It’s gotten so bad that even I can no longer ignore it, which is saying quite a lot.
So yesterday I pulled out the step ladder, spray bottle and an old rag and started wiping. It wasn’t working. I graduated to a bucket of water with bleach in it. I scrubbed and scrubbed until the smell of bleach was stuck in my head. Oh yeah, and there was a small accident – the cat’s fault – when the bucket fell off the toilet where I had perched it… (did I mention that the tile is also coming up in that bathroom? Now there is bleach water under those tiles too…) I finished up this morning, with ever increasing amounts of bleach in the bucket of water, which thankfully did not turn over even though I had left it in the tub just in case.
As I scrubbed, I thought about mildew. I scrubbed and scrubbed, knowing that mildew is going to come back and I will have to scrub it again; plus there were some places where I could not completely remove the stain that was left. Perhaps if I had not ignored it for so long it would not have left a stain. The longer I leave it next time the bigger the cleaning job will be. That’s what sin is like too. By my very nature I am going to sin. The longer I leave it the harder it will be to clean up in my life; and it is always going to come back. At some point we will resurface our bathroom with something more mildew resistant… and God will renew our hearts and minds as we grow in Him, making us more "sin resistant". But just as my bathroom will still get dirty and require cleaning, on this earth my sin nature will always create sin and require forgiveness and cleaning up. Oh God, point out my sin while it is small. Thank you that Your mercies are new every morning!
Lamentations 3:21-24 - Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him."
Rebecca A Givens