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Father God, Grace, and Messy Potty Breaks

Today, my family and I were out in public when my youngest daughter suddenly said, “I need to go potty, I need to go potty, I need to go potty.”  After a brief negotiation between my wife and me over who would take responsibility for hunting down a bathroom, I took my daughter by the hand and walked a couple of blocks until I found a potty – but it was too late.

My poor daughter couldn’t hold it any longer, and when we got to the bathroom, we had to work together to get her out of her pants and get her cleaned up.  It wasn’t pretty, but we finally pulled it off and joined the rest of the family – at which point my daughter again started saying, “I need to go potty, I need to go potty, I need to go potty.”

“I’ll take care of it,” I said, taking my daughter by the hand and trucking it back to the bathroom.

When we got to the closet-sized bathroom, I did my best to help her get on the potty, but I was having trouble because I was carrying a paper bag with hers and her sister’s sippy cups.  I put the bag on top of the toilet as my daughter sat down, at which point the bag tipped over and the sippy cups fell down into the toilet water.

I had the presence of mind to get over how gross the whole situation was, fish both cups out of the water, turn on the hot water in the sink, and begin washing them with as much hand soap as I could reasonably apply. In the meantime, my daughter needed lavatory assistance that you don’t want me to describe here; and somehow, in the midst of all the potty assistance, the main thing that came to my mind is, “This is love.”

That kind of love is a faint shadow of Father God’s love for us – a love that doesn’t mind being inconvenienced, because that’s His job.  A love that will get into the grossest of our messes, because He knows we don’t have the ability to clean ourselves.  It’s a love that makes it through rough moments and calls them a good memory.

In fact, one of the reasons it ended up being such a good memory was because, as my daughter and I walked hand-in-hand back onto the street, she spontaneously said something that I never get tired of hearing: “I love you, Daddy.”  Those words, said so kindly to me, made it all worth it.  And I can’t help but imagine that when we go through rough times that require a lot of grace from God, those are the kind of words that make it worth it to Him as well.

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