Stains and Scars and the Life they Reveal

The other day, Chris's parents were graciously watching our girls while we went on a date night. As part of their fun, they made homemade hot cocoa from scratch, which Sweetheart proceeded to spill all down her front. (It was not hot enough to burn.) We took the wet clothes home in a plastic bag, and then I misplaced them for a few days. When I realized that they hadn't made it into the laundry bag after all, the clothing was stained and covered in mildew. We don't usually drink cow's milk, and the quickness with which it ruined those clothes was surprising to me.

I was able to wash the black pants several times to get them clean, but the pink shirt is a complete loss. Those stains don't come out. It was a play shirt, so it was not a big deal, but it made me think about the other clothes that have been lost to stains and holes over the years.

Usually I feel a little heartbroken when my girls drip blackberry jelly down their shirt or come home with a stain that I have no idea what it is or where it came from. We don't have the money to replace clothes frequently, so when the cute outfits are ruined, it's sad. I try to put the girls in play clothes or aprons when I know they will be getting dirty, but sometimes their nice clothes get stains, too.

The thing is, though, that in so many ways, those stains are beautiful. They reveal the many blessings we have in our lives. The spit up stains from my "happy spitter" remind me that our daughter was a happy and healthy (and messy) baby despite a rough start. The jam stains reveal a home with plenty of food to eat. The dirt stains are evidence of a childhood full of play and fun. The holes come in so many ways, including the time Sunshine tripped while out walking with her grandma, and I see that hole and think how lucky we are to have grandparents healthy enough and close enough to go walking with our children.

Even that hot-chocolate-turned-mildew stain reminds me that my girls are getting a glorious childhood, full of fun and laughter and people who love them.

The same is true of our house. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about all of the things in our home that are old or broken or wearing out. And suddenly, when seen in the light of the story they tell, they don't seem so bad or so awful. The holes scratched in the carpet remind me of the cat that has been our constant companion for so many years. The blood stain splattered on the wall and the carpet that no amount of scrubbing seems to touch reminds me to be thankful that Chris is alive and well despite a leg wound that took four years to heal. The gouges on the wooden chest of drawers remind of me our daughter's constant proclivity for creating art wherever she goes. The broken latch on the bedroom door is evidence of a moment of frustration on a terrifying day of bleeding and worry about losing the precious baby within my womb that we spent six years trying to bring home. And the broken shower handle reveals the tremendous blessing of watching that child grow and gain independence when we lived through the terror of thinking we might lose her.

Our home is a real, lived-in place. One that reveals on a daily basis the stories of love and strength and loyalty and fear and survival and tremendous blessings that take place within these walls.

Every scar tells a story, and our beautiful home has many stories to tell.

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