Easter Sunday and The Ultimate Makeover

I've stopped setting an alarm clock because, without fail, sweet Iris wakes up between 7:30-7:45am. She is our alarm clock. But on this fine Easter Sunday, she slept in until 8:30am leaving just 30 minutes for me to feed and dress us both.  

We rushed through nursing. No time for coos and giggles or practicing our words. 

We rushed through dressing. Tags were swiftly clipped from our new frocks. Buttons and zippers and snaps and velcro were fastened in a flurry of motion. Iris's matching diaper cover was forgotten about completely.  

I rushed through primping my hair and makeup while Iris ricocheted between my knees and ankles, wanting desperately to be picked up one second and to play with the toilet seat the next. So I rushed to plug in Iris's favorite cartoon on my laptop and placed it on top of the toilet seat killing both birds: her boredom and the threat of germy commode water winding up all over us.  

I rushed through coffee, getting just half a cup in my system while unfortunately foregoing breakfast altogether.  I tossed a forlorn look at my half-full coffee cup and decided against taking it for the road because I didn't want to chance spilling coffee on my new cream-colored dress. 

I rushed through goodbyes with hubby who needed to go on to church to help with ushering. 

I rushed to scoop a single diaper and a pack of wipes into my purse. 

By a small miracle we were ready and only a few minutes late. We scuttled to the car without time for a proper Easter picture for the memory book. For posterity, I attempted a selfie but knew it was destined to be a failure. Still... hurried, frazzled, and hungry though we may have been, I felt proud that we got ready in record time and looked quite nice in our new dresses, though admittedly, our faces reveal the morning's struggle.  


I flung open the door, hoisted Iris's car seat up and locked it into its cradle, then I hopped into the driver's seat, quickly buckling my seat belt with one hand while I turned the key with the other. 

That's when the stench hit me. 

A horrible, sick, putrid, sour scent. The kind that can only be described as assaulting. It invaded my nose and flipped my empty stomach. 

Horrified confusion quickly melted into grim realization as a terrible flashback of spilled milk came into focus. I remembered the gallon jug turning over in the backseat. Though still sealed, the bottle had leaked, only a little. Or so I had thought. I had wiped up the spill with a few fast food napkins and never looked back. My nose now told me that my assessment of the spill's magnitude was woefully incorrect.  

That was two very long, very warm days ago. Long enough for the milk to sour and evaporate into a stubborn and pungent vapor that sat like fog in my sealed up car in the sun-soaked driveway. If I didn't know for certain what had caused the funk of forty thousand years, I would have been searching my car for the dead body of a lizard. I was that certain that the horrible smell belonged to something that had begun decomposing. My eyes watered. I held my breath.  

With no time to do anything more involved, I yanked the floor mats out of the backseat and dragged them to the front stoop to be dealt with at some later time. Then I buckled my seat belt and rolled down the windows, giving over my freshly done hair to the warm wind that swirled around my ears and rustled my skirt about the steering wheel. 

As I drove, the toxic fumes dissipated slightly through the open windows, and my nose desensitized (marginally at least) to the horrible stench. I looked down at my beautiful new dress and my dainty pumps and lamented that Iris and I would be arriving at church on Easter Sunday smelling of curdled milk. This thought summoned up the memory of my college class on Shakespeare's tragedies. I remember the professor teaching in a particular lecture how the Bard was quick and tenacious to bring up an inconvenient truth: that we are all rotting, decaying creatures, trying desperately to cover our foul scent with perfume and soap.   

For the duration of my curdled commute, that lecture lingered on my mind, morphing from Shakespearean wisdom to a spiritual parallel that we as sinners are smelly. Really smelly. Like my car.  We're ugly too. No amount of lotion or perfume or expertly applied makeup can cover up that in our hearts we struggle with sin and that the best that we have to offer is grievously inadequate, our righteous acts like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). We are ugly by the unkind thoughts and feelings we harbor about others. We are ugly with anger. We pollute ourselves with idols and other vices. No dress is pretty enough to conceal our smell from the Lord.  We might throw others off our scent, so to speak, but not the Lord who knows our hearts. 

As a mother, I've changed my share of near nuclear diapers, and I know, Mom Friends, that you have too. I know that you know the discomfort of being positioned too close to the business end of a soiled diaper when you'd much rather run opposite to the foe. Or if you have older kids, you may have summoned the steely strength required to snuggle your sick child who smells of vomit, all while resisting the reflex to succumb to nausea yourself. Or perhaps you've been in a conversation with someone standing a little too close who clearly has a dental issue or simply a case of having indulged in too much artichoke dip. You'd love to excuse yourself from the conversation but you're trapped either by circumstance or necessity to obtain information from this person. 

Basically it's hard to stay put in the presence of a big stink.   

Yet God snuggles us even though we wreak of vomit. He not only stays by us when we stink, He moves in even closer.  He sees us just as we are, as ugly sinful creatures marching toward the end of our earthly lives, and He loves us in spite of our stench, thanks to what Jesus did on the cross for us.

That's what I thought about as I sat in the driver's seat of my swampy smelling car in my pretty new dress with my pretty matching purse and my rosy pink lipstick while my precious kid added insult to injury by soiling herself on the morning that I forgot to put her diaper cover on underneath her dress.         

God takes all of our ugliness, all of our rot and decay, all of our offensive odor, and He loves us and sees us as the beautiful, well-manicured people that we'd have the world believe us to be because Jesus took on your ugly and my ugly, and he bore the wrath of that ugliness. He essentially doused himself in the stench of sin, which I'm fairly sure smells a lot like my car, and he perfumed us with forgiveness and mercy instead.  

Eyes still watering, we made it to church. 

With a quick change, this little one smelled sweet as a flower again. 

He is risen! He is risen indeed! 

I am so thankful for the price Jesus paid for my sins. 


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