This morning I went to get the diaper bag ready to go when I realized that it smelled funny, so I emptied out the contents and threw it in the washing machine before heading to church. When I got home I began to transfer the wet load into the dryer and I checked out the bag. I was disappointed to find that it still smelled, and now it had some kind of mush flecked on the outside. I followed the trail to a forgotten compartment deep inside the bag and found what I have pretty confidently identified as the remains of a Nutrgrain bar.
Before I re-washed the entire load, I knew I had to get the stuff out of the diaper bag. At first I tried to just dump it out into the trash can without actually having to look at or touch the substance, but I found wet Nutragrain bar to be quite tenacious. Next I got a paper towel, reached inside with crinkled nose, and gingerly tried to extract it, much like I remove chicken giblets. This method was successful in getting much of the mush, but there were still colonies of it clinging to crevices and hiding in folds of fabric. Finally I sucked it up and did what I should have done in the beginning. I opened up the bag and turned it inside out, totally exposing the liquefied cereal bar and enabling me to see and reach it every disgusting particle.
The last week has been crazy around here. It has been a whirlwind of self-examination and evaluation for Matthew and me and in the midst of it we have definitely found some mush. The thing is, no matter how disgusting it is and how unpleasant to look at, you can't deal with sin by just peering in and poking at it with a paper towel. You have to take your heart, often with the help of others, and turn it completely inside out so that nothing is hidden and nothing is justified. I don't like coming face to face with sin. I don't think anyone really does. But thankfully we will never find anything in the deep recesses of our hearts that isn't covered by the blood of Christ.
So here's to the freedom that comes from the Gospel, the practice of self-examination, and a thorough check of all compartments before washing a diaper bag.