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The other night right before bed, I let the dogs out to let them run around and do their business. They played for a while and then I heard this horribly obnoxious barking. The family who lives behind us had let out their little ‘yipp-yipp’ dog at the same time. And needless to say, both Goober (our new dog who you can read more about here) and Twizzler were jumping up on the fence with excitement hoping to play with their little friend, of whom they’ve never met face-to-face. Since it was almost 10:30 at night, I did my best to get the dogs inside as quickly as possible to prevent disturbing any neighbors. I tried calling their names from the deck, but no such luck. I became less and less patient and my voice became more and more stern. I really did not want to have to walk through all the muck and mud to get them inside.

So much for that idea. I trekked through the yard hoping to miss as many ‘land mines’ as possible. I grabbed both of them by the collar and drug them inside. They pulled and pulled the other way, so longing to stay and play a little bit longer. It was like they were saying, “Aww, c’mon Mom, just five more minutes. I promise we’ll be good the rest of the night. Pllleeaassseeee, Mom.” However, their sweet, innocent eyes weren’t changing my mind. We finally got up to the deck and I looked down to see both of them covered in mud. And it wasn’t that wet mud that comes off pretty easily. It was that thick, heavy mud that stains anything it comes in contact with. Great. Just great.

I spent the next…no lie…ten minutes wiping off their paws entire lower half. The once clean green towel was now a nice shade of deep brown. Yummy. And in the process of dragging them in from the yard and holding their ginormous bodies down to get cleaned, I ended up with mud all over my jeans and my Ugg boots. Grrr. They were such a mess.

But if you think about it, isn’t this situation similar to our relationships with God? We go out in the world following our own agenda paying no attention to our Master. We’re too busy having ‘fun’ to hear Him calling. Too often, we go off running and playing without listening for God’s direction. It’s not that He isn’t there calling our name; we just aren’t paying attention and that’s when our lives get messy.

Thankfully, God doesn’t mind getting dirty. He comes and gets us in the mud and muck that we’ve created for ourselves. And unlike me with my dogs, God patiently walks us back home, no matter how much we resist. He so lovingly wipes off our dirt and washes us clean. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” God loves us too much to let us drown in the pits we’ve got ourselves dug into. He gave His One and Only Son to carry our burdens so that we didn’t have to. What a loving and patient God we serve.

Are you stuck in the mud? Is your body covered in grit and grim? You’re not alone, but thankfully God is right there ready and willing to cleanse our hearts.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10