I was cleaning the kitchen early in the morning and I noticed a tea stain on the white countertop. I drink a lot of tea: hot tea, iced tea, sometimes lukewarm tea. You name it. I love my tea. The thing I don’t like about tea is the way it stains things. I know as soon as I spill it down the front of my white blouse that blouse is ruined for good. So when I saw the tea stain on the counter-top, I was not happy. I sprayed the stain with cleaner and let it soak while I put dishes away, then went back to scrub it. It was not coming off and I started thinking about purchasing something to place under the iced-tea maker to catch any leakage and prevent future stains. Then I remembered I had some Magic Erasers under the sink! I quickly retrieved one and in an instant the stain was removed.
The ease of removing that stain got me wondering what on Earth they make Magic Erasers out of? So, I looked it up and I discovered when you get down to a microscopic examination of Magic Erasers, they are made of melamine resin which has been cured into foam. The result is a “sponge” that acts like very fine sandpaper. When you combine the scraping properties of fine sandpaper with the holes in sponges (which absorb dirt) - you get a Magic Eraser! If you haven’t tried one, I highly recommend you do. They clean the toughest stains.
All of that stain removal got me thinking about being clean. I have done a lot of things in my life which left me feeling dirty and unclean. Before I was a Christian I drank, smoked, experimented with drugs and abused my body in so many ways. Now don't get me wrong here, I have messed up a lot after I became a Christ-follower as well. The thing with me is, even when I had no spiritual reason that I was aware of to prevent me from doing the things I was doing - I always felt pretty worthless and dirty and often scared when that was my lifestyle.
Then I got involved at a church - and thank God it was filled with accepting people because I needed to see what unconditional love and acceptance was. One night, as a twenty-year old mother of two I found myself face down on the floor of my bedroom sobbing my eyes out. From the outside, I looked like I had cleaned up pretty well, but inside I felt utterly worthless and alone and filthy. And I cried for what felt like hours. When there were no more tears left, I laid on the floor and examined my life. I thought about all the things I had done in the past and hated myself for them. Then I thought about the ladies I knew at the church. I realized they had something I lacked. There was a foreign calm about them. They smiled when life was difficult and didn’t resort to swearing and anger when things went wrong. They were positive in the worst circumstances and so gentle and kind to me. I didn’t think I could ever be like them but I realized I desperately wanted whatever it was they had.
For the first time in my life that night, I actually talked to God. I had no magic words to say. I simply poured out my heart and asked Him to forgive me for being the person I was and I told Him I wanted Him to come into my life and be part of me. The Holy Spirit is like God as a Magic Eraser. On the floor that night, I felt Him come and begin to scrub my heart clean. The actions I was sorry for were forgiven and when I rose from the floor, I was a different person. I was lighter, freer, cleaner. Being me, I had to think about that feeling and analyze it so I could come to a logical conclusion about what had happened. I decided I felt better because I had had a good cry and in the morning things would be back to normal, but at least I was better that day. I went to bed. But when I woke up in the morning - the new person was still there! That Magic Eraser worked a miracle in me!
I look around at the sea of humanity before me every single day and I wonder, when God looks down at us, what does He see? I don’t imagine God sees the celebrity on the magazine or the drug dealer in the streets. He doesn’t see the obese woman or the anorexic girl. He doesn’t check the black, brown, white, purple or green skin tone. I think God sees souls. He sees souls which have either been scrubbed clean with the Magic Eraser or He sees souls which have not. And He loves every single one of them. And I think those which have not been cleansed are reaching out and yearning for a good scrubbing whether they are aware of it or not. And God notices. And He is always ready to hear and to answer. And those people are found in all walks of life. I think it’s entirely possible to go to church faithfully, maybe even serving somewhere in the church and rub elbows with Christians there and yet still have a soul that looks the same as that of the worst mass murderer the world has seen.
The thing is, it’s all about communicating with God , it’s not about repeating words someone else gives us. And I think in our zeal to fit in sometimes we repeat the words, forgetting Who we should be talking to. The night I fell to the floor I had my very first ever heart-to-heart communication with God and God alone. The key is not in saying scripted words. It is in truly regretting sins and feeling dirty inside and then taking time to focus on God and asking Him to forgive, to cleanse, to come in. When that happens, there is a change in your life you cannot mistake for anything else - and you know it. The things that used to make you swear become less irritating. The anger you harbored towards people dissipates. Lying disturbs you. Harming others makes you feel bad about yourself. You look around and see suffering through new eyes because it makes your heart ache and break and you want people to know even though their circumstances seem impossibly painful - God is watching and waiting to get involved in their lives. He is waiting to make them lighter, cleaner, freer - and He is just one life-changing conversation away. It's a conversation which, once begun, can last a lifetime. It begins with you.
All that from a tea stain. Who knew?