Watching a young couple entering the ranks of parenthood is one of my favorite joys. I have loved being a dad and a grandpa all these years. Seeing others enter in to what has been a source of profound joy is heartwarming for me.
As that special little one arrives and the tenderness of love and affection washes over the young family’s life, they enter into a new season marked by the demanding rhythms of the baby’s needs, not the least of which is the need to clean the soiled little one when their diaper needs attention.
Committed parents get masterful at the art of diaper changing over the cycles of the baby’s growth. During the infant stage, it’s often a warm and cooing time of togetherness for both parents as they clean the cute little one up. Tenderness and affection mark the moment, as though the child has performed wonderfully for them.
But kids grow, as we know. The ‘stuff’ coming out the backside changes, taking on a varied array of shape, size and smell. The toddler learns that they prefer a little privacy when doing their business and oftentimes finds a favorite place to wander off to. If you happen to stumble upon them as they hide under the table or desk, or wherever their special little place is, they will let you know that they are busy and need a little alone time.
If your kids were anything like mine, they never ran straight to their mommy or daddy’s arms and asked to be cleaned up and changed. Nope. They went back to doing whatever they were doing, uncomfortable yet willing to dive back into the moment yet carrying a toxic load in their shorts that rivaled the smell of a limburger cheese factory.
After a weekend watching our grandkids, Teri shared something profound with me about things she had been learning changing poopy diapers over the years; a child cannot change their own diaper (let alone clean and disinfect themselves, fumigate the room, etc.) after messing their shorts. Someone who cares for them must do that for them.
And so it is with us. We cannot change ourselves by ourselves. Someone who cares for us must help us do it.
We, who mess ourselves up, are still prone to hide. We, too, are willing to jump right back into whatever is calling for our attention, avoiding the need for change and the Someone who cares for us enough to change us.
Jesus was quite clear with us. He did not come into the world to condemn, nor did He come to condone. He came to make us clean. He is not intimidated by our mess. He has seen and smelled it before. He knows that we feel the shame and the propensity to hide from Him. He is very tender and patient about this yet He works with the tenacity and precision of a physician as He pursues and tends to us. His cleaning work is for our benefit and health. He is not casual about it nor is He insensitive in His approach to changing the soiled lives marked by the dark stains of sin.
You and I, we are loving parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, yea? We don’t love perfectly but we do love those little ones in our lives. We have never felt tempted, not even once, to scold or wag our finger at our grandkids for having a poopy diaper. Yes, they come at inconvenient times to be sure but I’ve never seen one of us say “You bad child! Why did you poop yourself?” We just pursue them to clean them up because we love and care.
How much more does He, who loves perfectly, view us?
I’d love to hear your thoughts.
*Thank you, Teri, for sharing your thoughts with me on this. You have modeled for me the heart of God as you love the little ones in our life whose stinky diapers needed changing. He continues to use you as part of the change that I need in my own life. I am forever grateful to you both.