Before my first child was born, I confess that just like the commercial, Mr. Ivy and I would say….We’ll never do that. I’ll NEVER let my child run around in public in a diaper, make a tortilla into a face and wear it in a restaurant, let my child have a temper tantrum in the grocery store, lose it on my kids like that angry mom. But, guess what. Life is harder than I thought. Life is messier than I knew and I did all of those things. I wanted to get it all right but that was impossible.
My first child was born while we were living in London. Here’s his first passport photo.
In 1997, when my son was 9 months old, Princess Diana passed away. This was a very sad time for England and those around the world who loved and admired her.
My friend and I (like MANY, MANY other people ) headed to Buckingham Palace to lay flowers before the gates to express our sorrow to the Royal Family and to the country for their loss.
Since this was days later, there were throngs of people that stood in line for hours to get up to the place where piles of flowers lay. We waited in line with two large buggies (prams) and our infant babies holding our flowers and notes.
The air was FULL of the smell of roses and flowers for miles. Behind us, a young girl and mother who had driven in from the country clutched hand cut roses from their garden. In front of us, the same.
It was here in this very sad, somber and silent crowd that I experienced one of those horrible, annoying and humiliating parenting moments that just brings you right back into reality. I heard an awful sound like someone stepping on a frog! I looked down at my baby laying flat in his pram and he had that red face squished up smile and I smelled the most AWFUL smell ever. Oh no, not here! UGH!! He had a giant blowout diaper straight up the back of the onesie and squishing out of his legs. Seriously!
At the most proper place on the planet during the most grief stricken moment in it’s recent history? Oh yes, at Buckingham Palace!! My friend and I popped our eyes at each other…..no place to change a baby. Flowers around me wilted and people held their noses. We scooted out of line, through barricades and off to the center of a clear space in the middle of hundreds of bystanders. Out came the wipes and diaper and mat. We changed that dirty thing right there in the middle of the masses. I’m sure that was on my list of things I would never do, and I could feel someone or two thinking that very thing around me. I mentally crossed off “I will never change my baby in public like that”.
Nothing like parenting to bring one into a sure state of humility. I’ve come face to face with my own pride many times as a parent but also personally. As my friend always says, “Don’t ever say my child will never…..” because it will come back to bite you in the you know what!
In the New Testament of the Bible, Apostle Peter thought he would never deny Christ because he knew he loved Jesus and couldn’t comprehend a situation where he would fail to support and stand by Jesus. But it was a scary time. He didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to stand firm, but Jesus did. In Matthew 26:31-35 we see Peter telling Jesus, “Lord, no I will never deny you….that’s not going to happen to me, I’m never doing that” (my translation). How many times have I said, “Oh I’ll never do that Lord, you know me, I’m not a gossip Lord, I won’t do that.” and then found myself doing the very thing that I said I wouldn’t or “Lord, I won’t be afraid, I’ll speak boldly of you because I love you” and then became too self protective to speak up about Him to a friend.
Jesus warned Peter that before the night was over Peter would deny Jesus three times. And, Peter thought that was impossible. Then he found himself in the very situation that he thought he knew he could handle. Guess what? He couldn’t. He folded. I fold. We fold. Unless we humble ourself before the Lord and ask for His strength to stand against pressures of pride, fear, judgement and other behaviors. Peter needed to be humbled to really see his need for Jesus. A haughty heart can’t work with God. A heart humbled is where God can start to make some great things happen in our lives. In this vulnerable and honest state, He meets us and begins rebuilding and restoring us so that we can reflect Him more and really see His true power in our lives. When we lay it all out, our pride, our perfectionism, our fears, our mistakes, our materialism and anything else that gets in the way of an honest conversation with Him, then His grace and holiness can invade our hearts and begin to heal us and strengthen us to stand stronger in the future.
In London, I had a babysitter from Kenya named Monica who would swaddle my baby in colorful African cloths and strap him to her back while she sang praise songs at the top of her lungs and ironed at the same time. (Now that’s multi-tasking!) Monica used to always say in her thick Kenyan accent, ‘ Love is in the Poo poo, you know. Love is in the poo poo!” And she was right.
There is no poo poo diaper too stinky to change in front of Buckingham Palace. I know because I’ve been there. There is nothing that you have ever done or said that the Lord God can’t redeem with His grace and love. He loves you. So feel free to come as you are to the King of Kings and lay down your stinkiest junk. In an instant, he will clean you up and the fragrance of His presence will cover your sin just as the air was filled with the smell of roses again that very day in August.
James 4:6 “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, God is opposed to the Proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Matthew 18: 4 ” Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ”
“Humble thyself in the sight of the Lord and He shall lift you up.” 1 Peter 5:6