"How the heck am I supposed to use this stuff?" Two weeks postpartum, I had an unreal need to feel clean, scrubbed raw of all the bodily fluids that I had encountered in the recent past. So I stepped in the shower. My friend had thoughtfully packed a bath scrub with the meal she hand made and brought to nourish us in the hazy first newborn days. Everything about it seemed luxurious. It was proudly labeled "Made Right Here" from Whole Foods, with a light rose vanilla scent, and it felt oh so soft when I touched it lightly with the tip of my finger. I texted her sheepishly for instructions. "Do I pour it all in the bath tub or just rub it in all the crusty parts?" She replied graciously, instructing me just to rub it in where ever the Spirit led.
Well the Spirit led to my hands and feet, the driest, cracked parts of my epidermis. My logic was that I would just scrub off the old skin and make way for the new. Another friend had made a sugar scrub the year before, so I confidently set off to scrub in the same fashion.
As soon as it hit my hands I realized my mistake.
This was not sugar. Sugar doesn't sting when you apply it to open wounds.
But salt does.
It was a salt scrub.
My cracked knuckles, open from washing my hands after God knows how many diapers I'd changed, screamed bloody murder in protest. My hands were softer, sure, but it wasn't the route I would've chosen.
"Really?" I asked God. I just wanted one freaking minute of luxury and even this was taken away from me. I had a serious attitude. I admit I've been having some second time mom entitlement issues.
Lately I've been asking "Really?" a lot from God. I want his sanctification. I want his humbling. I want the oatmeal heart. I just want to be the one to tell him how to do it. I want the sugar, not the salt. I've never craved salt, but I could probably eat a killer brownie every day for a week without being phased.
But Jesus didn't tell us to be the sugar of the earth, now did he? Matthew 5:13: "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."
Isn't salt a bad thing? The things that stings our wounds? The thing that makes our wedding rings tight for a week after we eat the Chikfila waffle fries? Why else would Wheat Thins ever think it was actually a good idea to sell a low sodium kind? Don't we eat the saltines when we are sick, when we can't stomach anything else in all the world?
I think in Jesus' day, the salt of the earth was a preservation technique, something that helped sustain and nourish people. It kept food good without the help of modern refrigeration. Our bodies actually need a level of sodium in order to survive. Salt can be quite a beautiful thing, but sometimes, it hurts.
This two under two mom thing, you guys. It is salty sanctification. It is tired upon tired. It is a body that feels, and looks, like a sack of potatoes. Not the roasted pretty red rosemary kind. The gnarly, roots everywhere 10 lbs that won't go away bag of russets. It's God calling you to face down a toddler throwing around all the things you just picked up when company is coming over. It is a colicky baby screaming all day unless you pick him up. Right when you pick him up, the toddler throws a fit. One always crying it seems like. It is being outnumbered, overtaken by the monsters that you yourself created. What's weirder. You love those little monsters, so much that you are racked with crazy guilt anytime you think a selfish thought about them. And I question all the time if I'm being too harsh or disciplining correctly so my two year old doesn't grow up to be an actual monster. And then it is God asking you to give more of yourself, to remember to ask your husband how his day was, to let him sleep more for his final the next day even though you are dying just for a few more minutes of shut-eye. It is wondering, how am I ever going to have room for anything, or anyone, else again?
Some days, I feel rubbed raw and then God adds some salt.
But I know what He is doing. He is making me knew, sloffing off the old skin that I don't need anymore. In fact, it would be toxic to keep it. He is adding salt to preserve me for His glory. He is nourishing me. Because God has an upside down way of doing things, he has given me some salty days, so that I can have a new body, a new heart, that showcases him, nourishes others, and points them back to Christ. If I lost my salt, I wouldn't be much of a testimony to him. If my life was all sugar, who could trust Christ with their trials by looking at my life? Who could honestly say their life was better in their brokenness with Christ than without? My life is abundantly more now that I am abundantly less and Christ is everything. And motherhood is the tool He is using to do that. Two beautiful babies who need me all the time. And gosh, I've never been more grateful for anything in my entire life, the salty parts and all.
My heart's taste buds have changed. I'm craving the salt.
One phrase from 1 Peter sticks with me. "By his wounds, we are healed." You see, this seems all like white girl mama problems. Maybe they are. But laying down my life everyday for these two is the hardest thing I've ever done. And I'm extremely humbled knowing I am saved by Jesus, who willingly endured huge wounds so we could be saved. Not only that, so that we could be changed, and reflect that selflessness of our Savior. And if God uses salty, selfish, sanctifying days to do that to my heart, then so be it.
Pour it and rub it in.
Make my heart new and massage down into my hands and feet, so I can bravely love these littles on the daily. Help me shed my hard, selfish exterior for a courageous willingness, and a softness, to go wherever it is you want to take me. I'm laying my knees and heart gently down on the hardwood, giving myself over to all the laughs, screams, diapers, toys, day old milk cups, and dog bones. Salt of the earth begins for me right here.