Filthy Rags

My baby has a special blanket. 
(It's hard to find a photo without her holding it. I am happy to report that in the last two weeks the pacifier has been successfully banished for bedtime use only. Hallelujah).

The blanket was a gift from her Grandma when she was born. (My Mom has since sewn it into a small blanket because she constantly tripped, carrying it around the house).

The little blanket is her security.

And her constant companion. She carries it everywhere. She reaches for it in new situations. When she's afraid or being corrected, she asks for it. It accompanies her to Sunday School and it helped her through her uncertainty in potty training.

Well. She's two years old.  So is her blankie.

And there's just so much Tide can do. 

I've laid hands on my dryer and prayed it would dry hotter and faster because we both needed her to have her blanket back during brief washing spells!

(Yes, I realize we have issues, but that's not what this post is about).

I washed it with color safe bleach the other day and was proud of the results. It was still a little tattered, but it was clean and white again.

My Mom delivered a gift a few days later. She found a brand new blanket on Ebay, the same discontinued one my toddler loved. 

And suddenly, her beloved blanket looked old and dirty, like a filthy rag.

It amazed me how white the new one looked in comparison: 

My little girl's reaction to her new blanket was precious. She looked at it closely, rubbed it to her face, dropped the old one and asked to take a nap!

She recognized the difference and she wanted the pristine blanket.

And I recognized that sometimes my heart looks like the old blanket. I try on my own to clean it up and make it new again. But when I compare it to God, it is shabby. 

My own efforts of good works and deeds are fine, but they cannot clean my heart. They make me feel secure and I cling to them, but they do not transform me.

Only the Creator can make me new again when the hardships of this life fray my soul and unravel my resolve.

Only God. And when I compare the two of us, I crave the pristine.

Create in me a clean heart O, God. 

Psalm 51:7 Soak me in your laundry and I'll come out clean, scrub me and I'll have a snow-white life. Tune me in to foot-tapping songs, set these once-broken bones to dancing. Don't look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. Don't throw me out with the trash, or fail to breathe holiness in me. Bring me back from gray exile, put a fresh wind in my sails!

I believe in forgiveness. Do you?


Ethan, Zach, and Emma's Mom said...

Wonderful post. I love the connection with your daughter's lovey! We have blankies too, homemade by Grandma. Heaven help us if anything happens to them!

Muthering Heights said...

What a precious reflection!

Amanda said...

Wow! What a great comparison! There are so many days I feel like that filthy rag!

Wifeof1Momof4 said...

What a great post! What a great God we serve!!!!!

Kim said...

The lessons I love most are the ones I learn from simply observing the ordinary.

Marni's Organized Mess said...

That's so exciting! I love fresh clean new things that I ALREADY loved!

Melonie said...

WOW - fantastic post. I really enjoyed it when you were just talking about your daughter and the blankies... but your analogy for us grown ups is so very true.

Sarah said...

I am so grateful for my children, and the lessons God teaches me through them.

I have to say, I tried to give my daughter a replacement blanket that was the same but new, and she would have none of it. How often am I like that? Sticking with my old ways, just because I know them instead of letting God change me?

Kathryn said...

My mother took my sissy's blanket & cut it into 4 pieces, so that she always had one on hand clean & ready.

What a sweet story. Sometimes the little ones don't want new & improved.

My other sis had a fit when granny stitched up & repaired her "bebe." It didn't hang over her arm any more. Granny had to take out the stuffing & stitching she had done.

Marci @OvercomingBusy said...

Isn't it awesome how God teaches us through everyday situations, like you daughter's blanket? Wonderful post. We all need to be washed and renewed. Thanks for putting it so beautifully!

everyday mom of one said...

What a precious precious post and a good thing to think on as I go to bed.

Mindy said...

My 10-year-old came to me just tonight in tears with a huge tear in her "pink blanket," crushed to think that it might be too torn to use anymore--it has been her security since birth. The years have taken their toll on her blanket...and we talked about making her a new one so she can put this one in a place where she can treasure it without ruining it completely. I love your analogy, though...and will share it with her tomorrow--thank you for your words today! God's timing is amazing...

Rachel said...

Great post. I've been trying to avoid the blankie issue with my 1 year old daughter... I had mine until I was 19. (Horrified that it's true, even more horrified that I'm admitting it....) If she doesn't already have one is it safe to assume she won't? Am I damaging her by not letting her have something like that? She sucks her thumb, so I figure that will be enough fun in the years to come...

Bridget said...

What a sweet post! ♥

Somebody Loved said...

Thank you.

That was a beautiful post. I appreciate real life stories... especially when there is a deeper meaning behind it.


southerninspiration said...

My kids kept their blankies a LONG time....sometimes as teens when they were upset, I'd find them laying next to the glad ya'll were able to find a FRESH one, and a renewed spirit!!!


Jamie Mehan said...

Don't you love when God teaches us the simple truths through our children? We need those reminders every day.

We have "Woof Woof" at our house for my almost four year old son. We're on the second one and now he's looking a little raggedy, as well. I know how he feels!

Thank goodness, His mercies are new every morning!

SquiggleMum said...

Just stopped by for the first time and loved this post. I'll be back again...

Mrs. E. said...

Thank You! What a great analogy!

Mandy Vavrinak said...

Our two oldest had special stuffed animals that were their loveys. One is now 14, and finally blessed his 4-yr-old brother with the lovey. My 6 yr old still sleeps with hers. But the 4-yr-old is the real challenge... he latched on to 2 burp rags that were old when he blessed them as "special" three years ago. We live in complete fear that one or both of them will be lost or finally give up in the wash. And yeah, even bleach doesn't really clean them well anymore.

I do feel like those overwashed, overused rags some days. And even as though I'm supposed to have the same *magic powers* they have for all the people in our house who need something... and I am SO GLAD that God is there to be the restorer and healer and comforter... He is capable every day, every way, regardless of my infirmities!

Anonymous said...

You're lucky! We tried that with my daughter and it never worked.

Beautiful analogy, btw :-)

Anonymous said...

What a great post. How true it is!!

katy said...

That's a good illustration. Good speaks a lot of spiritual lessons through my kids too.

Traci Best said...

I love it when God speaks his truth to our hearts in ways like this!! Thank you for sharing! ;)
(That girl of yours is a DOLL! I love her cupcake hat!)


Dave and Jenni said...

OK, so I'm one of those "lurkers" who never comments, but this post just needed one. I've been dealing with this very issue in my life and this morning God spoke to me in my quiet time about it.

Then I opened my reader and read this. He used your post to confirm His message and I just thought you might like to know that. Thank you for writing this.

The Sullivan Sitcom said...

Beautiful Post! I loved it!

Kelly said...

I love this post in so many ways! One, because I am constantly being washed over and over by our Maker after each of the messes I make in my life. And two, because my son's "blue" is taking a turn in the washer right now!!

Pamela said...

What a great story. My son is 26 and still has his blanket that Grandma made for him (and remade once) and it has comforted many times. Right now it is helping him through some uncontrollable epilepsy. He is facing surgery in a few days and I am sure that blanket will be going with him. Every time he sees it or holds it, he knows that his grandma is praying for him.

Aimee said...

Great post, great analogy.

We too have a blankie baby -- our youngest. They are a breed apart ;)

Diana - FreeStyleMama said...

I found you via Blogged & Sited.

I have been following Phil Keoghan's ride across the US for MS. He ROCKS!

April said...

So sweet. I enjoy reading about your youngest since I have an almost 2 year old daughter too. Her lovie is the "goodwill bear." My mom bought it from goodwill and it is the most plain of all her stuffed animals. It is neat to see what kids attach themselves too.

staskym said...

Thanks for this post it brought tears to my eyes, i needed this and i turn on the computer and there you are, god does work for us at all times especially when we need it. thanks again

~*Michelle*~ said...

Preach it mama!

Love it~

Emily B said...

I love this post!!! What a great word picture!
On the practical side, did you know adding a scoop of Cascade dishwashing powder to a load of whites makes the whites sparkle? I learned this trick during 4-H livestock showmanship days. Sounds like my Works for Me next week!

Ashley @ said...

I love how you see the world. BTW we have that same blanket. It didn't take as her lovey but my 18 month old carries around and sleeps with a taggie blanket and a DW doll with yarn hair.

I am a big fan of loveys and I think it's the sweetest thing that one simple thing can bring so much security to their little lives.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the pacifier weaning. My son was WAAAAAY to attached to his but he never had any other lovie or item of attachment other than the beloved "pacie-poo". We used it just at bedtime, too and I won't admit how long it took for us to get rid of it. Thanks, also for the wonderful reflection about God being the only way to clean our hearts. :) God bless you today.

Lois Lane II said...

Precious! And what a great comparison!

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...


Mandy C. said...

I love the visual here. The blanket is her comforter. The bible says the Holy Spirit is our Comforter. Beautiful.

JanMary said...

Wonderful post - love it.

PS My daughter is 11, and still has her special blanket - it stays under her pillow :)

Maddy said...

Oh my. Still a relative newbie so I wasn't expecting that at all.
Best wishes

misty said...

you are wonderful!!!

thank you for this posting :)

your daughters pink jacket & hat... too cute!

Megan said...

What a wonderful and true post!

thanks for posting.

You made me laugh with the laying hands and praying over the dryer for it to get done faster! too funny!

Robin said...


And let me just say that cupcake hat is adorable!

Holly said...

Wonderful post! It is interesting how clean we can think we are, but, in God's reality, our sins are as filthy rags. . .Thank you for the insight and wake up call!

MamaBear said...

My lovely is 36 y/o stuffed monkey and is safely tucked alway in my hope chest. Very fragile now from the many years of service he gave to me.

Lastly, thank you God for giving us the ultimate stain remover your Son.

JenT said...

That was good. I have a few that have special security things too. Not all of them blankets. That's a neat comparison.

Lorie said...

My 3 1/2 yo son has not one but two special blankets. & like your daughter's, they are filthy. I try to wash them from time to time, but they'll never be the same again. Thankfully he doesn't take them everywhere with him. If he brings one along when we go somewhere it has to stay in the van. Also, he's responsible for them. I'm not carrying them. If he leaves them at home, I don't turn around to come get them. When I know we're going somewhere that might make him anxious (like the dentist or doctor) or if he's going to be sleeping in a new place, I will bring at least one along.
I LOVE the connection you made to our image of God. I feel like that filthy rag much of the time. Thanks! I needed this.

Niki said...

Amen! Thanks for sharing that. What a blessing.

Anonymous said...

I like the comparison =)

We do tend to cling to the familiar because it feels safe but God wants us to cling to Him instead. We cannot truly live if we are hanging on to the things of this world.

Thanks for the reminder.

Stephanie said...

This was a great encouragment to me today. I am in ch. 2 of Grace Based Parenting and have been wallowing in my guilt over poor parenting up till now. It was good to be directed back to truth.

As for security... we've had
an 18 wheeler, a sweet dolly, a Lucy doll, a bluey blanket, and a glow worm. And all still love them.

heather said...

I really needed that post. It was such an uplifting post and it reflected a lot of my feelings lately. Thank you! And I love this Bible verse Psalm 51:10!

Melissa said...

How true!!!
Great post!

Heart2Heart said...

Gotta love the blankie story. My oldest daughter, now 16, had one til she was 6, then her sister was born and she gave up her blankie.

It was passed along to her little sister, yes even after 6 long years but I guess they can tell when something has been loved so much. She still has that blankie, even now at 10 and it just remains something as part of her bedtime routine that she sleeps with.

Gotta love it.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Amy Bayliss said...

How precious and what a lesson! I guess God gave her the new blankie and you the lesson, huh?

Wow, really, I mean that was good, girl! But, be thankful. We have a dirty stuffed monkey that my - hang on - 8-YEAR-OLD still carries around. We won't talk about the issues though. I hear ya.

Laury said...

Your blog has blessed my day. Thank you. I also have a 2 yr old with a "Fabric Friend." I think I will always smile and think of this post when I see his beated, dirty doggie. THnaks

Vintage Dutch Girl said...

Hee hee hee - Bubbalu has his "banky" which I made for while pregnant. It is a joy to see him carry it around...but yes, starting to look kinda dingy :)

nikkit3 said...

beautiful post:)

Carolyn said...

It's so funny...I have a post about blankies all saved and ready to go! Mine does not have the wonderful Spiritual parallel, though! :) My favorite story about God being the only one who can clean us up is from The Chronicles of Narnia's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Those of you who have read it might remember when Eustace turns into a dragon and meets up with Aslan. Every time Eustace removes a layer of skin another one is there to remove. Only Aslan can really remove it. Thanks so much for your blog!

mom24/7 said...

Well said.

Amy said...

I so needed that today. I'm reading through tears.

Thank you.


Gigi said...

What beautiful words. And so true! Thank you.

Multi-tasking Mommy said...

It's so great when a child finds a security lovey!

I always try to buy two upfront, but it's hard to think about what they will choose.

Jamie said...

Yes, Only God! Loved this post!

Lynn said...

Realizing this is TOTALLY not the point of your post...

Are you kidding me with that adorable cupcake hat?!?

MommyAmy said...

What a beautiful comparison! It's amazing to think that God's love makes us NEW!

amy8lou said...

As I read I grew more and more excited to see what you did to get the blankie clean, then I wondered how you would do the old switcher-roo... then i read on. Then, i cried. I guess you just never know when God will speak to you through someone else, and by George today it was you!! I have been grey lately, and I too pray that he will create in me a clean heart!
Its funny how 15 minutes of your life has made such a difference in mine! Thank you so very much for your thoughts!

Anonymous said...