Friday, February 22, 2013

A Stained Cushion = Love

The life group that my husband and I lead are doing a group study called "Not A Fan" based on the book of that same name by Kyle Idleman.
The other night we were watching the accompanying video and Kyle was telling the story of the time his daughter spilled bright pink fingernail polish on an off white couch in their home.
As a young child can you just imagine her horror?? The fear of what might happen to her?? What her parents would think?? What they might do?? And she did what many of us do - she tried to hide her stain. She turned the couch cushion over, and quietly walked away.
Oh no, I can't relate to that, you?!
Well of course, the stain was found one day when Kyle and his wife were cleaning (key foreboding music, dum dum dum).
They lined up all of their girls in the same room to ask them who did this. The youngest daughter that made the bright pink stain cracked before they could even get the question all the way asked - she fell to her knees and broke down crying.
As they knelt next to her to discuss what had happened she asked this question through her sobs - 'do you still love me?'
She learned a valuable lesson that day when she was shown unconditional love with these words from her parents "honey, you could never make a stain so big we would stop loving you".
But the most telling thing of all?
The fact that they noticed as a little time passed she began actually showing off the stain when people came to their house - she would take them to the couch and tell them that this is what she did but her mommy and daddy still loved her and it was all okay!
Wow. What a picture of forgiveness, love, and confidence in who she was and who loved her!

I remember such a time in my life, when I tried really hard to hide a stain - after the divorce in my first marriage when I spent most of my time trying to cover it all up so it didn't show, to quietly walk away from it all like it never happened. I also remember feeling like that stain and the related ones I had a hand in creating, were so very big. Too big. And wondering where am I now in this life, and where is God, and could He ever look at me and love me the same again?

Colossians 2:13-14 You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

The answer is a resounding yes! It took me some time to process through it all, but my God has proven Himself faithful to show me forgiveness, restoration, unconditional love, and that He LOVES using my messy big stains to do great things!

If you have a great big old messy stain that you are trying to forget, to cover up, to walk away from without bringing it to the light of day, why not just walk right up to your Heavenly Father today and say "Here I am, stain and all. I'm sorry I've tried to hide it. Forgive me for that. I trust you to fix it, to make it beautiful and worth showing off. Because I believe you can take it and use it in a way that it can glorify you... use my stain to show me your unconditional love so I can show that same love to someone else!"

He's not mad at you. Let God turn the couch cushion back over, right side up, and look at the stain through His eyes for what it truly is - something He wants to make beautiful. He still loves you :)

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Joyful on the Journey,