I pulled on my boots, heaved the stack of diapers onto my shoulder, and stepped outside.
I inhaled sharply while the cold air burned in my lungs. My breath floated out and swirled up around my eyes as I tried to adjust to the brightness. It wasn't even 10 degrees, but I'd gone out with only a sweatshirt on. My husband likes to say that's how he knows I've acclimated. By the time I was three steps from the door, though, I was wishing I was wrapped in a big, fluffy, down comforter with just my nose sticking out.
The wind nipped at my ears as I carefully picked my steps from the back porch to the clothesline. Every other day I made the same trail through 18 inches of snow, and every other day my trail was drifted over by the wind blowing away all evidence of my efforts. If I followed my exact steps, the packed snow at the bottom of my old tracks would keep my feet up high enough that snow wouldn't seep down into my boots. One misstep and I was up to my knee.
I rubbed my hands together and wrestled the stiffness from my fingers as I started pinning the diapers, inserts, and cloth wipes to the frozen line. By the time I'd started on the second line and was down to my last few items, the thinner of the cloth wipes had become stiff and I had to bend them over the line to pinch the pin over them.
I stole a quick glance at the sun before I carefully followed my steps back to the house. Despite the cold, the wind, the desolation of leafless trees barren of birds and yard without grass or barefooted children, the sun lit up the world around me, reflecting off the snow in blinding glory.
In a few short hours, my baby-poop stained diapers would be fresh and white, without a mark on them. Sure, I'd have to tromp back out there through the snow and pry them off the line to finish drying, but they'd be clean. White, like the snow.
The heat of the woodstove felt wonderful but after a few minutes I wandered back over to the window and watched the bits of cloth waving in the cold, clear wind. They even seemed to be joyful as they danced before the sun.
I thought of how I could have kept them inside, with me, in the warm house and dumped a bunch of bleach on them. After that I could have tossed them in the dryer and continued on using them, calling it "good enough". Would they have been clean? Yes. Would they be functional? Absolutely. Would they have been white as the snow all around them? Nope. Would they have lasted as long? Definitely not.
How simple it seems sometimes to force ourselves to be "washed" or to expect others to "wash" themselves of impurites and stains on their souls. "If you know you're doing something wrong, why don't you just STOP?", we hear them say.
Bleach Yourself. The unspoken motto of the Christian world, it seems.
Pour all kinds of synthetic chemicals into your body and soul and rid yourself of the stains that are readily apparent to us. You won't be accepted until you can at least look like you've been washed white as snow.
Only one thing can get those dirty diapers that clean: being set before the sun.
And only One can wash a soul from its uncleanness: being set before the Son.
Turn to Him, set your face towards His countenance, and His alone, and just watch what happens to your soul!
For He has promised: "Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Ps 51:7