Sunday, October 19, 2008

Naked and dirty

So, I was in the hospital again last week. Apparently the multiple rounds of antibiotics for the sepsis destroyed the good bacteria in my intestines, leaving me open for a nasty bout with colitis. But I am home now, and on the mend. My friends have come through for me, taking care of my kids and cooking meals and even coming over and cleaning my house. I tear up thinking of the amazing group of ladies I am priviledged to call "friend."

But, oh the humility that lies in true Christian community. I was lying in my hospital bed when my friend Stephanie called to say that a group of ladies from my homeschool co-op had descended upon our house and were cleaning away. I was thankful, but so embarrassed. I like to clean up before folks come over. I don't have the natural gift of housekeeping. I was mortified to hear that my dear friend Kathie was cleaning the toilet in my master bathroom (the last room in our house to ever get cleaned). How would I ever look these ladies in the eye when they knew what a mess I was?

But that's just the point. I am a mess and I need help. On a physical and spiritual level. And as long as I continue to tidy up and put on lipstick and go to church with a pasted-on grin, no one will come to my aid. It is when we finally break that we can be mended. When we give up on going it alone and admit our broken, shameful nakedness, others can step in to help. I was embarrassed to let others see the mess I had got my house into, but the only way for them to help was for them to fully see the need. (And so far, none of them has sent me any emails berating my dirty floors.)

And ultimately, this is how we are with our Savior. We try to clean up. We make an effort to show Him how sincere we are. But we aren't honest. Maybe it's a product of our cheap grace, self-esteem driven culture, but our conversions aren't what they used to be. Rarely do we hear these words from in the 1776 hymn "Rock of Ages":

Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die

Past salvation, we continue to try and pretty ourselves up spiritually when we go to our Bible studies, never admitting our sins to one another. We might say we are "struggling" in an area or some other such nicety, but it is rare to hear honest confession of sin nowdays.

What freedom we would find if we could be honest, naked and dirty as that might be. What healing we would find if we could admit our brokeness to one another and our God. And what friendship we would find if we would lay down our defenses and let others see the truth about our situation. We are all in this together: broken, bleeding, sin drenched and pitiful.

But there is hope, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Is 53:6)


Lorie said...

Oh, my goodness! I'm so glad you are better! Please continue to rest so you are able to recover 100%. Thank goodness for those friends of yours...I'll bet they didn't mind one little bit what your house looked like! Have a good week!

Cherishing My Days said...

i love that hymn, tamara. the old hymns just have such powerful messages. and your post is so right on. being naked and dirty in front of fellow Christians is something that most of us, including me, are loathe to be.

praise the LOrd you are well. i pray you stay that way!

Anonymous said...

So good. I was in the same boat last Spring when my husband was diagnosed w cancer...a good friend offered to come over w her daughters and clean my house so I would have one less thing to worry about. I'm ashamed to say i was too proud to let her come...and she missed out on an opportunity to be blessed for helping me and the opportunity to model Christ-like servanthood to her daughters bc of my pride.

Hope you are feeling better!

Megan said...

Hey Tam,

First of all, I am glad that you are out of the hospital! Take time to rest and heal completely!

Now, your blog... oh goodness! You hit the nail on the head. Isn't it easy to be "churchy," to pretend like everything is just fine when we really are naked and dirty, in need of our Savior's love, and even in need of help from friends?

Thanks for the reminder. It's one I needed to hear!