Monday, September 23, 2013


Sometimes really bad things can happen to really good people.  

But sometimes, really stupid things can happen to halfway decent people.

Case in point.

So, I'm up in the middle of the night last night.  This time the insomnia was the *I-fell-asleep-just-fine-but-woke-up-and-couldn't-go-back-to-sleep* kind. I lay there pondering the imponderables, and then I decided that maybe if I ate something I'd get sleepy.

Seems to work just fine at Thanksgiving.

So, I got up to fix a bowl of Cream of Wheat.  Don't ask me why that appealed.  Perhaps a warm bowl of grain product sounded sleep-inducing. (No milk in the house).

I was just bringing the bowl over to the coffee table, just setting it down on the coffee table…in the darkwhen the "dumbs" hit.  I knocked over a FULL and LARGE cup of lemon water.  It was one of those plastic protein drink cups with a *drinkee spout thing*.

I could hear the liquid gurgling out…fast.

Quickly turning on the light, I was chagrined to see a huge puddle of water spreading on the carpet.  But, more than that, I was horrified to see the other place the water was going.

Directly into my little plastic tote, full of my devotional books.

Yes, the ones that I’ve been studying all year.

The ones that I guard with my life.  The ones that are NOT dog-eared, NOT written in or highlighted, NOT bent, NOT spine-cracked.  The ones that are as pristine as the day I bought them.

I take pretty good care of my books.  Good *librarian* care.

I could have cried.

I would have if I had not had to race to the kitchen to retrieve the entire roll of paper towels to start my cleanup.

I started with the devotionals.

What a mess.

Pages were now water-warped and crinkled.  I fanned the pages to make sure that none were sticking together.  I laid them out as carefully as I could to let them dry out overnight.  

I tackled the carpet last.

When I finally sat down to eat my Cream of Wheat, it was cold.  I didn't have the energy to re-heat it, so I ate it like Goldilocks with Mama Bear's bowl of porridge.

Thinking to myself.

Thinking how a dumb move can ruin a lot of things…fast.

Thinking how stupid mistakes can set a domino effect of consequences into motion.

Sin can be like that.

It can be hugely evil, yes.  Ugly and awful.  But sometimes it can be just plain stupid.

We humans are prone to acting without thinking, leaping without looking.  We are prone to pleasing ourselves without pondering the aftermath.

Mistakes can make a mess.  They can create sticky situations.

Fortunately, that is what forgiveness is all about.

Cleaning up the mess.

I'm thinking about last night.  And I'm thinking how my careless mistake created a mess I needed to clean up.  But also, my mistake damaged my devotionals.

Just like life.  

Sinful mistakes, dumb sinful mistakes, can tarnish the Holy Spirit within us.  They can thwart God's purposes.  They can ruin things.  And though the mess can be cleaned up, the aftermath lingers on.

But God is all about the aftermath.

He is the only One who can forgive our sins, ease guilt, restore relationships, rectify mistakes, conquer consequences, and clean up the mess.

I'm eternally grateful He does.

Yes, my devotionals will always be *damaged* now.  But they are still filled with words telling me about the wonders of God.

Dumb choices can leave some damage.  But we can still be filled with words to tell about the wonders of God. 

Friends, our stories may have left us with scars – but our scars are our story.

And God wants us to tell our stories.

Because He wants us to tell people about His ending.  The *happily-ever-after* ending where we are forgiven and redeemed.

Dumb and stupid sin happens.

Messy life occurs.

But thank the Lord, we have Someone who will rescue us from ourselves.  We have Someone who will clean us up with forgiveness. We have Someone who died for us so we'd never have to face the aftermath of the afterlife.

We have a Savior.

"Lord, please hand me some paper towels."

He reached down from heaven and rescued me...
...he drew me out of deep waters. 

"'Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.'" (John 7:38, NIV)

"'But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.'" 
(John 4:14, NLT)

"And he also said, 'It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega--the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.'" (Revelation 21:6, NLT)

"Then the angel showed me a river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb." (Revelation 22:1, NLT)

How has God cleaned up a *messy mistake* in your life?

Linked today with:

Darlene at TITUS 2SDAY
Jen at UNITE
Gail at TGIF

BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Another excellent post, Sharon! Sin can be very subtle and patient, creeping up on us little by little. I am so thankful God rescued me from one of those paths that would have led to all kinds of needless hurt to others.

  2. AMEN!!! AMEN!! And those devotional books now look just what life really is...messy, yet the truth is still contained within the pages.
    Great post...I so relate!

  3. Sin and messiness go hand in hand doesn't it. And we don't escape all the aftermath but you pointed out the wonderful truth that God redeems us.

  4. That was true - I tell you a drop of water can ruin things too - sin is like that.

  5. Sharon, this is so beautiful...and hits the nail right on the head. There have been so many times (and unfortunately will be more, I'm pretty sure) that I have been usually takes the form of saying or repeating something I've heard that may OR may not be true....or it might be just a comment mumbled under my breath about that guy who just cut me off in traffic. Regardless, it is stupid and/or ugly. I need His forgiveness not just daily but moment by moment...some days more than others. Thank you for this beautiful reminder of just how quickly a stupid move can ruin something precious...but also how Jesus is there to help us find the way.


  6. yea, if all we were left with was the aftermath... what would be he point? God has that covered, and He is the great healer and restorer of our messes!

    How awesome is that!

  7. "our scars are our story. And God wants us to tell our stories." You write about messes so well. I can relate, so can any sinner! Thankful for a Savior. Have a great week.

  8. Beautifully said, again, dear Sharon. You have a way with words. I don't know what I would do if I didn't have Jesus to clean up all of my messes!

  9. Oh, that is sad about the devotionals, Sharon, but at least they are still able to be read, right, and will help you to remember this wonderful devotional you wrote for us; I am glad God does wipe away and forgive our sins and leaves us clean and pristine without any water damage when we come to him and confess our sins.


  10. Ah Sharon ... I am weeping over your devotionals and the addition of my drips do not help the situation at all. Water damage! Soaked in sin! Marred by messes that leave scars or tainted pages in our stories but the power in the truth and those pages of your devotionals remain. I know that you take good care of your treasures but "stuff happens" and this stuff usually really upsets me more. I am so sorry for this lesson learned and applied to our spiritual damage in our lives even with the reassurance that Jesus covers it all, sometimes the consequences that are lasting in this life, seem to blur the glory of the next temporarily and so many cannot be undone. So we ache and maybe throw a pity party but the remedy is pain staking far too often or seemingly unavailable. Perhaps I have belabored the book damage or the stains of sin yet my heart aches when I can't see beyond the "stupid" mistakes or poor choices or irreparable damage and results ... so I wonder and ponder which started this "insomnia" all over again.

    I may have just spun a circle around your wonderfully written lesson for us (that's the "maze" of my blog as you know it) and of course, you know my "messes" but I need to see the "miracles" much more in our stories. I desire to see more of God's grace and hand in the middle or even before the mess. I guess that's asking too much. Like to miraculously "save" the books before the damage is done. Yet that's how we learn and grow. (ouch) (this is my devotion at POYL tomorrow from YouVersion Promises Devotion but I got it a day early or right in time for this)! And the quote from Elizabeth Elliot seems (from today's) fits perfectly with my pity part... "Refuse self-pity. Refuse it absolutely. It is a deadly thing with power to destroy you. Turn your thoughts to Christ who has already carried your griefs and sorrows." from "God is Bigger than your worldly troubles!" (today's) and "God uses problems to shape you" (tomorrow's).
    Isn't that quote good!?

    God is still at work cleaning up my messy mistakes (at least my major ones) and I'm learning to let go of the minors (as they slip through my grasp) and at times overwhelm me. But I will not worry or allow pity to keep me in the pit or destroy me. So glad we have been redeemed and I do hope you can better salvage or redeem your books than I was able to do ... so many that I did not encounter when I was "sifting" through the ashes and sooted belongings and I wonder about different ones that come to mind ... titles from my college years, papers written (gone) and even a textbook from my library classes on how to repair books (bindings) more than water damage. (sorry) I don't recall seeing many of my books and I wonder what that means. Are they burned up? or still in boxes? Will others toss them aside or can they be preserved? Yep, I feel your pain and your nightly plunder a bit too closely and deeply. And yet it was not by intent, yours or mines ... our stumble in the dark. Our spills ... our foiled treasures. Yes, Lord, hand me ... your redemptive and restorative power once again, breathe afresh and turn beauty from ashes, water damaged pages dried and spotless as You clean us and purify us with a deep work and a better understanding of everything. May you have no more "sleepless" nights Sharon and may God do a miracle from your mess right before your eyes, so our faith may increase and our story can be told of God's Incredible Mercy and Grace in our circumstances, He gets all the glory!

    Praying still for you and your loved ones, asking for strength and peace amidst the trials and tribulations until we see the Triumphant Jesus help us overcome!

    Peace, love and prayers,

    1. If you can believe I forgot anything in my rambling, I forgot to tell you I love your photo at the end and that I have had my full share of "water damage", bucket brigades and mopping but at least I still have a roof and provisions where so many have lost everything to "Manuel" and "Ingrid" mudslides and flooding waist deep. By God's omnipotent grace, I was spared and nothing more than leaky drips and unending drops along with days and days of nightly rains and daily clouds with intense heat. Pray for the many whose families and homes that have been buried and washed away.

  11. I can't tell you about the messy life I manage - a Murphy's Law kind of messy - and I am so glad He helps me clean it all up - because it is so overwhelming when I try alone. So sorry about your books - that would have so frustrated me, too:) I can imagine having a little pity party about it:( I love how you redeemed the moment and brought grace into it!

  12. Sharon, what a delightful story !! I realize your devotionals will now have wrinkled pages as a reminder, but the content is life changing. We often stumble in the dark fretting about not turning on the light to keep us out of trouble. The Light of God's word will certainly do that for us. Sorry about your cold cream of wheat. Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell Me a Story."

  13. Hi Sharon,

    Inspired helpful blog (as always) this one did encourage me to keep sharing because I have wondered if I should be as open as I sometimes am. Thank you for sharing it. Now I just need to get rid of this tiredness that is upon me along with the blocked nose and other symptoms of a heavy cold and perhaps an inspired blog will flow and appear from me, more often than of late. God Bless.

  14. Great matching of photo & Scripture! I visited from Tell Me A Story this morning.

  15. Oooh! I love this! Well, not the spilled water and the messed up devotionals - lol - but the message you're sharing! Like most people, I carry some scars. But, it is through those scars that God's redemption can be retold! When I've shared some of my story, my hope and prayer has been that people can be encouraged and realize that you can never fall so far that you are beyond the reach of God...and his paper towels!

    Blessings, Joan

  16. "But God is all about the aftermath"

    Thankful for this!
    Well, it is not as though I don't make stupid mistakes myself, but the only one that stands out in my mind right now is something that my husband did recently...He kept pushing the garage door button over and over saying out loud "why isn't the door closing?"...the back door to the van was open, and when he went out to check on it he found the door had been hitting the van over and over with every push of the button! All I told him was that I was glad it was him and not me that did it! And yes, there was damage ;(
    ~God bless~ Lisa

  17. Wow. Great devotional tie in to real life. Sorry about the books. :(

  18. Great devotional Sharon. I like what you said about our scars being part of our story......and we all have a story! As always, your words feed my soul.

  19. Hi Sharon! You learned so much from just one incident in the night, that is so cool! I just love it when that happens. (Even though you paid a heavy price with the devotionals.)

    So true that we make messes and think we can take a 'pass' and it won't matter. But it always does. There's always some clean-up involved. Darn it. Lord help us to be more careful and not get off track with our mistakes.

    Love this, my friend :)

  20. Hi Sharon, gosh how refreshing it is to read your post! I love the way you break down your day to day experiences tie into a lesson-it's simple but yet to the point! I am very familiar with the messes in my life and thank goodness for God's grace-its been abundant!. I've been visiting christian blogs and thought I come by and revisit-it's been a while. Do you mind if I share your blog on my FB from time to time, especially this one? I'm inspired!

    1. Sure, that would be awesome and I would be honored if you shared a link to my post. All you have to is copy the URL from the post and paste it into your FB status and it will even put a small picture and link to my blog post. But then, you probably already knew that! LOL! (Or maybe you just use the little icon at the bottom of the post?!)

      And it was really good to hear from you today! :-)

  21. Sharon- love how you brought a lesson out of a small mistake! Sometimes our small sinful actions carry large consequences- and so, so thankful that we have a Redeemer who forgives us for our shortcomings!!
    Love you, thanks so much for a dose of hope!

  22. Love this Sharon, and I love how you said that God is all about the aftermath. I never thought about it in any great depth until this post, but the entire Word is all about the aftermath. It begins with the aftermath of creation and continues with the unfolding of the Plan in the aftermath of the fall. What a wonderful point you made.

  23. Great analogy! I am the same way with my books! :)

    Thanks for linking up to Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!


  24. Oh, I hate when that kind of thing happens! I was just telling my hubby that the older I get, I just seem to drop more things and am extra clumsy! It's true, Sharon. We seem to all make a mess of our lives, but God is always here to help us clean them up. Thanks for sharing this very down-to-earth story!

    Ann @ Christ in the Clouds

  25. We have a lot of the same responses to things. I'd be doing the same thing if water of some sort was hitting my Bibles, Devotionals, or "Specials"... and I'd be crying while I was grabbing and fixing.

    I'm also a "River" person in the Word. Your Revelation choices were exactly ones that are among my favorites.

    Good thinking, good sharing. Much appreciated.

  26. I am SO thankful He is willing to clean up the messes I make...and not just the careless ones, but also the ones where I knew exactly what I was doing. His mercy, His grace, His longsuffering...they astound me. So glad He never gives up on us!

    So sorry about your books. Glad they were not completely ruined! Blessings, sweet lady.


  27. I found you through the Missional Women link-up. I can relate to your post. I have five-year-old twin boys and spills are a daily occurrence at our house. The next time I find myself moping up the floor, I'll be sure to thank King Jesus for his mercy in redeeming us from sin!

  28. God is all about the aftermath. I love the image that conjures in my mind.

  29. Great analogy! I remember spilling coffee over my three day old Bible and mourned the end of those beautiful crisp pages I had been so enjoying! Thanks God for His goodness and grace when we make mistakes.
    Thanks so much for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions

  30. Very good devotional - kept me reading. Acknowledging that we do make mistakes is the first step isn't it. Following you from Still Saturday. Would love you to link to Sunday Stillness
    Janis Author of Tadeo Turtle

  31. I know how ruining a book can feel like. So sorry. Love the analogy of forgiveness is cleaning up the mess. Thank you for using a frustration to remind us of truth.

  32. Hi Sharon! I visited from Sunday Stillness. Love what you've done with your blog!

  33. Oh! I'm feeling your pain and regret seeing those beautiful pages warped. Yes - I often ponder how swiftly a wrong turn can derail a day - and life, for that matter. Praise God He is always waiting with healing and consolation on the other side of that derailment. His Grace is sufficient - even for warped pages. And, a fresh bowl of Cream of Wheat (I do the Cream of Rice - gluten free, you know) is easy to make. Hope those devotionals weathered the fray.

    Hoping I weather this WordPress move. Apparently, I have to find a "plug-in" to put up my Blog Lists which is how I keep track of everyone on my sidebar. I miss the Blogger Reading List in neat alphabetical order on my dashboard, and the stats page which I just can't find in WordPress yet. I am told I need to search the internet for such plug-ins. Well - learning curves take you to unexpected places, too - sometimes foreign territory that is rather intimidating. Thanking God for HIs Grace there, too - and hoping I master the curve in quick step time!

    Thanks for hanging on - JOY!

  34. You're so right. When I think of how I used to behave with little thought or care how it'd affect me, wow, what sticky situations I allowed to happen! So sorry to hear about your devotionals! I too take excellent care of my books and treat the special ones like priceless gems. Yet if the spill didn't happen, you wouldn't have had such a truth-filled story to share!

  35. Dear Sharon
    Oh, what a good giggle you have blessed me this. Sunday morning! Look at it this way; your devotionals look very distinct now with lots of character. Yes, dear friend, this is what happens to us the moment we separate ourselves from Jesus and live outside of His life.
    Blessings XX

  36. I'm so sorry about your books. So thankful God is standing right behind me with a big roll of paper towels to clean up my messes! Blessings!

  37. Such a wonderful and encouraging post! Our God is so amazing! I visited from the Weekend Brew. Looking forward to reading more of your posts. Many blessings!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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