Friday, February 19, 2010


You already know I'm prone to overspiritualizing things. Today's confession: I also have an out-of-whack guilt mechanism. (Could it be those two are related? Hmmmmm.....)

When I was in the hospital after delivering Baby #3, the young nurse on duty instructed me to watch a series of short programs about infant care on the in-house TV. I was about half-way through the "How to Change a Diaper" film when my OB stopped in. He sat on the foot of the bed, looked up at the TV, and asked, "Do you really need to watch this?"

"The nurse told me I had to. She said they would mark my chart 'noncompliant' if I didn't."

Dr. Pierce rolled his eyes. He stood up and turned off the TV, then checked the box on my paperwork that indicated I had conformed to hospital requirements. Fortunately, the nurse never came back and questioned me on the matter - I know I would've cracked and given a full confession. Yes, I admit it - I'm noncompliant! Slap the handcuffs on me! Never mind that I had been changing diapers and nursing babies for years. I'm guilty!

One day last week was one of those especially guilt-laden days. I forgot to bring the piano teacher's check to lessons on the day it was due. I'm late again...Guilty! I passed up an opportunity to give a ride to someone who needed it on the principle that, to avoid "even the appearance of evil," I try never to ride in cars alone with a man who is not my husband or a member of my immediate family. When I told Steve about this later, he said, "Of course you should've given him a ride!" Aaaaah! I neglected to serve a brother in Christ, out of regard for some inviolable 'principle'. Guilty! School, piano lessons, errands in town - I never got around to exercising that day, PLUS I ate a whole bag of Riesen candies. What, are you just throwing your weight loss goals out the window? Guilty! I could go on, but you get the picture. It was not a very good day.

Sometimes my guilt is very real and undeniable. I DID eat all those chocolates. I really did, and I should not have. Sometimes my guilt is totally irrational. Like the time I felt so bad about the mothers in an Afghanistan refugee camp whose babies were wasting away, displayed on the TV screen during the evening news. I had a surplus of milk...just no way to ship my boobs overseas. I probably washed a pint of milk down the drain every morning when I took my daily shower, while their babies were literally starving to death. Wasting milk...Guilty! But real or not, what's to be done with all this guilt?

According to Scripture, guilt can only be washed away with blood. Hymn-writer William Cowper, like me, struggled with a sometimes overwhelming sense of his own guilt. He also penned the words to the familiar song "There is a Fountain Filled with Blood". I looked up the word fountain in the dictionary - it means a spring, a reservoir that can be drawn upon as needed. It connotes a supply that is constantly being replenished, that is gushing over in abundance.

Christ's blood has washed me clean, but some days guilt overshadows my consciousness of this truth. And so, I run back to the Fountain. Not to re-do what has already been done, but to bathe again in the truth of the sufficiency of Christ's work on my behalf. And I find there is always more blood, an abundance, enough to cover all my guilt.

There is a fountain filled with blood,
drawn from Immanuel's veins,
and sinners, plunged beneath that flood,
lose ALL their guilty stains.
- William Cowper


Christian gal issues said...

Camille, are you sure we weren't separated at birth? HA!

I felt like you were speaking to me. I have such a guilty conscience. I worry about so much stuff, but most of it is stuff that I have already confessed to God. What this means is that I don't believe God is sufficient! He is not strong enough or big enough to forgive me! UGH! That is an ugly thing. Not to mention so untrue!

But you are right, We have been washed by the blood. When God looks at us he sees us as white as snow!

How blessed are we for that mercy! WOW! Now to just internalize it and BELIEVE!


Anonymous said...

Mom! this doesn't really have a lot to do with your blog post but it involves William Cowper and I thought you would be interested:

At spring conference, Kevin Twit explained the background of the Hymn "I asked the LORD," by John Newton.

Newton and Cowper had been compiling a hymnal together toward the end of Cowper's life. They were understandably extremely excited about it. However, before it was finished, Cowper had the equivalent of a mental breakdown and was put into an asylum, thus terminating all progress. Newton abandoned the project completely, writing "it seemed that God was intentionally crossing all the fair designs we had so carefully laid out"

Years later, he went ahead and published the hymnal with the following addition:

"I asked the LORD that I might grow
in faith and love and every grace,
might more of his salvation know
and seek more earnestly his face.

'twas he who taught me thus to pray,
and he I trust has answered prayer,
but it has been in such a way
as almost drove my to despair.

I'd hoped that in some favored hour
at once he'd answer my request,
and by his all-constraining power
subdue my sins and give me rest,

instead of this he made me feel
the hidden evils of my heart
and let the angry powers of hell
assault my soul in every part;

yea, with his own hand he seemed
intent to aggravate my woe,
crossed out the fair designs I'd schemed;
cast out my feelings, laid me low -

Lord, why is this, I trembling cried,
wilt thou pursue thy worm to death?
'tis in the way, the Lord replied,
I answer prayer for grace and faith

these inward trials I employ
from self and pride to set thee free,
and break thy schemes of earthly joy
that thou mayest find thine all in me."

I love this song!