To Cleanse

We have a neighbor girl who come to our house often.   We love her so much.  The boys see her as a friend…no questions asked.

I’m glad they have her for a playmate, but often I watch them play and notice so many things that are not as they should be. Developmental delays.  Fear in her eyes. Men’s size 14 shoes on her feet.  Body odor that is more than a few days of missed baths–maybe a lack of toilet paper.   So often I wish I could make her life easier.  Safer. Cleaner.  More like it should be.   

I do what I can.  Love.  Share food.  Let her warm up inside the house sometimes. Help with homework.  There was one thing I wished for months that I could do, but it seemed like a sensitive issue. 

Can you offer someone a bath and advice on personal cleaning without hurting her feelings? I would never want to lessen her sense of dignity….but she is a girl, surely she would want to be clean and smell nice.  Does she hurt because of the lack of personal hygeine?

Funny, when I write it in words offering a bath sounds simple.  Somehow looking into eyes that have seen too much pain made it seem much more complicated.

I debated this.  Asked a few friends to help me pray about it.  Had days when I felt very annoyed by the odor that lingered in our house long after she was at hers.

Then one day I wrote this to my family: “Can you think of any way (that wouldn’t be offensive or threatening ) I could offer to M. that she could take a bath at our house? I DREAM of giving her a bath, shampooing her hair, getting her dressed in clean, good-smelling clothes, giving her lotion, and a tooth brush.

Guess what? The NEXT DAY M’s mom asked if her two children could take a bath at our house that night!!! 

A few hours later, she was at my house soaking in a warm, bubbly bath.  Delight would be the only way to describe how I felt warming up the room before she came, arranging her towel and wash cloth, and running the water.  Once she was in the tub I did a little dance right outside the bathroom door.  

Over and over God amazes me with His care. 

And did she feel better after the bath?  I’d say yes…  :)  Soon she was coming several times a week, and each time there was no question the bath had been needed and enjoyed.

tub cleaner

This is going to sound very non-spiritual after that, but I want to share this good find, too. :) The first time the grimy tub met my eyes I was a little discouraged to think of all the scrubbing. I tried out a homemade shower cleaner I’d seen on Pinterest, and did it ever save the day!

I modified the recipe a little.  Basically you use one part Dawn dish soap and one part vinegar. I didn’t heat the vinegar before mixing as the recipe instructs.  (Maybe that’s why it separated.  It is easy to mix together, though, just before using.)  I added water as well to stretch the ingredients (probably twice as much water as combined ingredients), and it was still just as powerful.  After only a little soaking, the scum just rubs right off.  It is definitely a keeper. 

I guess the thought for today is:

God really cares about His children, and making a homemade cleaner will make your life easier and save you lots of money.

Oh, and sometimes both of those involve a bathtub.

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9 thoughts on “To Cleanse”

  1. Isn’t it amazing, bending over the tub and scrubbing the scum away, how it becomes a holy moment? A time of honesty with God, who sees my heart, with all those things that I don’t see as dirty. That He loves us in our moments of sparkling cleaness and moments of filth and stench. That He is willing to get down on His knees and scrub that tub ring away, and do that happy dance… It’s a worship moment, really. Seeing who I am, and seeing who He is.

    Thank you for sharing. This is powerful.

  2. Thanks for sharing this! I live in Baltimore city and have sometimes wondered something similar. I found no easy answer. I just love this post!

  3. Made my night! Thanks for sharing. I will go to bed smiling! I recall when i was 15 and living in Cincinatti how three little kids from the slum would come over to my cousins every weekend. We finally went out to town and bought them some close and managed to get to bathe and wash their hair. Transforming! They were so snuggly and adorable. And yet so sad that we would then get them to leave their nice clothes with us for special weekends and bathing times. It went on for about a year, then we never could find them again. i still could cry when i think of how precious something so normal for us was to them. How harsh what feels any and all should be albe to have was not theirs to have. They were innocent in their pain. That added pain for me. But-i still think, hope that they sensed the love and support those clean moment were meant to offer. Who knew bathing could give so much to a child. But i don’t doubt it. Shower on!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Oh, this is such a beautiful story!!! You have to wonder what all those baths and clean clothes did for the children later in life. It is sure to have left a loving memory for them that changed their lives somehow–maybe helped them reach for a better life? We hope. Yes! to what you said about how what is so normal to us is special to them. It often helps me put the pain in my life in perspective.

  4. And it never ceases to amaze me how God can touch a person’s life through some of life’s simplest pleasures. Blessed are the receivers……AND the givers. God bless your family as you give, and give, and give……
    I still want to come see you sometime soon.:)

    1. Yes…and please do come see us! I’ve been thinking about you the last few weeks. We’d love to see you again!

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