Years ago my mother gave us a spray bottle containing a formula that has proven stronger than many a stubborn carpet stain. At the time we had light grey carpeting throughout our house. No commercial stain remover (short of steam cleaning) came close to hers in maintaining that carpet.
I have thought about that during this holiday season. Christmas is a stain remover! It’s a time when we can dare to lift our spirits toward the highest and best, rather than being submerged in fear and despair.
There are so many things happening every day–big things that affect communities and nations–and small things that are private, seemingly invisible. It’s easy to become stained by fear. Faith frees; fear stifles! The problem is, you can’t have both at the same time.
Christmas tells us that what really matters is being connected to God’s love, because it overpowers fear. It defines us as unique and special–each one of us. Much of life revolves around either finding this uniqueness and being empowered by it, or being stained by fear that thrives in the darkness of a stained spirit.
Recently I came across some of my old grade school records. Among them was a report card that triggered emotions I had long ago laid to rest. I picked up my pen and began to recall the occasion–and how it felt.
A STAINED SPIRIT
Forebodingly my spirit spirit sank with each step as
I plodded ten long blocks home from school.
Duty-bound, I carried a note containing a
future-stifling proclamation: I had failed!
Failed to measure up.
Failed to earn my way to grade three.
It wasn’t fair, I told myself. It wasn’t right.
All because we’d moved to Clifton’s gas-light
heights. If only I could have stayed with
the simplicity of the Blue Ash country school.
Now that was gone.
What kind of place was this?
What kind of people these?
What would become of me?
In a world too big for me to comprehend,
a war had just ended.
In my inner world, one had just begun.
What could the future hold for one
so tainted? My fears were stoked by the
teacher’s note. “I do wonder,” she wrote,
“whatever will become of Hugh?”
It took years for me to live past that soul-staining sense of failure and unworthiness. Only God could remove that, and he did!
We all go through soul-staining experiences. It goes with the territory of human life. Yet like my mother’s stain remover applied to carpets, God’s love applied to life can lift us out from the most stubborn stains. It can set us free to try it again, and just maybe, we’ll succeed this time.
God love you, and if you let him, he will give you an unstained spirit. Trust him!