Tuesday night around 11:30 pm Elaine awoke. She is teething, and I assumed she just needed some more relief tablets to go back to sleep. I discovered that she was soaked, along with her sheet and blanket, and stuffed animal. I was puzzled. It did not smell like spit-up, and there was too much dampness for it to be sweat. I concluded it was her diaper. For some reason, when she wet, it all went everywhere except into the diaper.
Now for those of you who know me well, you understand that I am addicted to cloth diapers. I even sell cloth diapers online. In fact, I think cloth diapers are perfect. They are better for my baby, they save me tons of money, and they are just stinkin’ cute. So I was really dismayed to encounter a problem which was causing my cloth diapers not to work. As I struggled to find, and then fix, that problem the next day, I realized some things about my own heart. I learned some spiritual lessons from that leaky cloth diaper. I hope you don’t think it’s too weird…I want to share them with you.
A little bit of background on these diapers is in order. These diapers have a fleece lining that quickly wicks the moisture away from the baby’s bum and into a thirsty microfiber insert beneath. If you are not careful, you can get build-up and residue from detergent, rash creams, and hard water deposits. These residues prevent the liquid from soaking into the microfiber, and therefore they leak.
Around midnight as I was testing my diapers to see if they were absorbing liquid, I was very dismayed. I thought, “How could this happen? All of a sudden, and to every diaper I own?” Then I realized that it didn’t happen all of a sudden. The residue has been slowly building up over time until the problem could no longer be hidden.
Isn’t that the way sin is? We let it creep in. A little compromise here, a small thing there. One bad word in that TV show, but it’s still okay to watch. And before you know it, you don’t notice the cursing at all. A little less time in my devotions – it’s not that big of a deal… Until you stop reading your Bible completely. We cannot allow the little sins to develop into strongholds for the enemy in our lives. “Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?” (1 Corinthians 5:6b)
The next thing I did was obsess. I couldn’t stop thinking, “What caused this problem? Where did I go wrong? Why wasn’t I more diligent?” It was a lot of work trying to get my diapers clean. With each wash cycle I was just hoping that now the problem would be fixed. And then I realized that sometimes in my spiritual life, I do recognize sin. I see the result of the “little areas” that I let go in my life. But I try to fix the problem in my own strength. “There. Is that enough Lord? I’m trying so hard. Why can’t I have victory?” It takes work and effort to keep our lives in-tune with the Savior. The good news for the Christian is that we don’t do it alone. We have the supernatural enabling of God residing within us. His name is the Holy Spirit. We can have total victory over sin when our strength comes from Him. (1Cor. 15:58; 2 Cor. 2:14; Phil. 4:13)
After many wash cycles and attempts to “strip” the residue from my precious diapers, I was finally hanging them out on the line to dry. I looked at all of those diapers, and I thought about the money that would be involved if I had to replace them. “I didn’t take enough care to protect my investment. I left the Downy ball in the washer too many times. I accidentally used the wrong detergent. There was cream on the wipes.”
Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” From my time in Hebrew class with Ben, I remember that the word for “diligence” doesn’t really exist in the original language. The word for ‘keep’ is in an intensive verb form, meaning to ‘guard or watch.’ It’s more like you keep! . To give us the best English meaning, the King James translators gave us ‘diligence’ in place of the exclamation mark. It takes work, but we need to use diligence as we keep our heart free from sin and evil influences. It is our “investment” so to speak. It is costly to repair. When we let down our guard and sin creeps in, there will be scars. It will take work to fix the relationship and raze the enemy’s stronghold.
It would have taken only moments of time for me to test my diapers for residue build-up, maybe on a weekly basis. Then I could have caught the problem earlier. Maybe one extra wash cycle would have eliminated any residue. Because I neglected to be on guard, I used a lot of extra water, time, and frustration trying to correct the problem.
Maybe it seems silly to learn spiritual lessons from a leaky cloth diaper. But it was good for me to ponder on these things in my own life today.