“The stories are in the stains.”
That was my husband’s profound response as coffee splattered out of my favorite mug, and onto the pages of my Bible that was opened to Psalm 119. Verse 105, Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path (NIV), will forever be marked by my clumsiness in the form of a coffee stain, and the deep truth that fell out of the mouth of the man that I love.
Stain; let’s all be honest, it’s an ugly word! For me, it brings flashbacks of spaghetti sauce spilled on my favorite white dress and tireless attempts at getting bacon grease out of my husband’s dress pants. Ugh! Stains are the worst, and what makes them even more hideous is that once they grace you with their presence, they tend to stick around. That white dress is no longer wearable, and those dress pants are hanging in the closet untouched. Stains make us cringe at the sight of their imperfection, and we try desperately to remove and hide them at all costs. I cannot tell you the amount of money I have spent on stain removing products; it’s embarrassing. Stains are a grotesque reminder of what can no longer be worn; they’re an indication of deficiency.
Sister, I want to share with you a truth that has been convicting and challenging me in the days that have since followed that blessed coffee stain on the sacred pages of my Bible. Life is messy and uncertain, and perhaps Jesus invites us to welcome the mess into His presence so He can turn those stains of our past into the very story He uses to bring forth His light.
Is it possible that stains are actually beauty marks on our story’s pages in the upside-down Kingdom of Heaven? Could they be milestone reminders of brokenness turned into insatiable wonder? As a continually recovering Perfectionist and Fixer, I have been wrestling with this. I have been wrestling with the truth that rather than hiding my stains and being ashamed of my brokenness, I should be submitting them to the feet of Jesus as I allow Him to use the stains to light the path to which He calls me to walk.
Unlike that white dress that I can no longer wear due to the ugliness of that spaghetti sauce stain, Jesus looks at the blemishes of my heart and beckons me into His arms. He doesn’t toss me into the garage sale pile, disgusted with my imperfections. Instead, He gently draws me to His throne of grace. As a Beloved Daughter of King Jesus, all of my stains are washed clean by His sacrificial blood. I am free to walk in humble confidence with the knowledge that I am made new despite my past regrets and yesterday’s cringe-worthy moments. Do you know what is so amazing about being washed by the blood of Jesus and walking in that truth? I am free to allow Him to use those stains to bring love and light to others around me. I can share my stories and experiences with peace rather than shame because I am certain of the One who calls me ‘worthy.’
Sister friend, if there is one thing that I am absolutely sure of, it’s this: Jesus is obsessed with you. He aches to shed light on the stains you keep hidden out of fear of judgment and condemnation. He patiently waits for you to approach His gentle invitation to open your heart fully to Him. Jesus longs to light your path with the lamp of His truth; the truth that no matter how big your mistakes, or how ugly your stains, or how deep your regrets, He makes you new and calls you His ‘Beloved.’ Not because of anything you have done, or could ever do, but because of what He has already done for you.
Walk free in that truth today, sister, because the King is waiting for you to realize the might of your power within the freedom He has already purchased for you. The freedom of a life whose stains have been forever washed clean by the blood of Jesus.