A lesson in...vomit?

this was originally written in june of 2007 - i was 6 months pregnant with abby, and elizabeth was about 15 months old. 


so i had the '24 hour bug' on monday. it was yucky. the gastrointestinal pyrotechnics raged about every 20-30 minutes from 2am until about 2pm when i finally went to the doctor's office, because baby and i were very dehydrated. then i spent the rest of the evening on the couch watching pbs documentaries trying to sleep and keep down watered-down apple juice while will took care of elizabeth all day (he is the most amazing man that i know). 

you might think that there's not a lot to learn about puking. primarily because it's just really, really gross. 

however, as i lay in bed thinking about it monday night, i realized that puking and getting rid of sin in my life aren't really that different. there are three 'stages' to puking: 

stage 1) the really nauseous feels that makes you feel nasty, like you need to throw up. you dread it, because no one likes to throw up. it's not terribly pleasant. 

stage 2) your body actually purging itself of food and anything else that is in your body. this is undesirable, for two reasons. first, throwing up hurts your tummy, your throat, and tastes really bad. second, it makes you look downright ridiculous. your face is all contorted and someone's holding your hair back (maybe you) and you're leaning over some kind of container hoping that you don't lose it all over the floor. 

stage 3) relief. once you are done throwing up, you just feel better. (at least, i do). 

well i have been dealing with a lot of sin in my life lately. one of the biggest problems i have is being bitter toward people. you know, not forgiving them for things they have done, harboring stupid grudges, treating people badly (whether to their face or behind their backs). it's not many people, but there are some. and God showed me, in the midst of my puking, that getting rid of the bitterness in my life is going to be a lot like puking: 

stage 1) harboring bitterness makes me feel gross - not physically, but emotionally. i don't like treating people badly or harboring grudges. i don't know many people who do; it has a way of making you miserable. i know i need to change, but i dread it because it's not going to be fun or easy to change. 

stage 2) actually getting rid of the sin of bitterness, and replacing it with the love that God has called me to have towards others. when your sin is being purged, it hurts you - usually, your ego. in order to give up my bitter feelings, i need to lay down my pride and self-absorbed sense of justice and righteousness and recognize that God is the only One who is qualified to judge the person i am mad at. i also have to humble myself and love this person, regardless of what they have done to me. God doesn't tell us to only love people who love us back; He commands us to love everybody. even, and especially, our enemies (see matthew 5 and 6). it also makes you look utterly ridiculous to the outside world. forgiveness - true, complete forgiveness - is a quality that the world does not embrace or understand. as a race, humans are very reluctant to give up their sense of justice and just let things go. 

stage 3) relief!!! when i come to a place where i have truly exchanged my bitter feelings with the love, forgiveness, and compassion that Christ calls me to have for others, life is sweeter. living a life of love is much more desirable than living a life filled with bitter grudges and hatred, is it not? 

so as my body recovers from the worst (and grossest) physical illness i have had in a long time, my heart and soul rest easier, knowing that i will be recovering soon from the emotional illness of a bitter heart. even in the midst of puke, God is there, teaching and guiding. how amazing is that?!

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