During my own rookie season as wife, my parents made their first visit to one of my husband’s professional games. I had so anticipated their arrival, as being away from home was a new experience (soon to be my norm). I had prepared our very modest pool house accommodations so as to pass their parental inspection. Even though I was technically a married adult, I wanted their approval. I was so excited to show my folks our new neighborhood and then take them to Wade’s game.
Once we arrived at the ballpark, my dad went off to land the best seats for analyzing batters’ swings, and my mother and I were left in the infamous family section. I could tell she was feeling out the situation. Living a minor league lifestyle is not your ordinary venture, though to many of us living it, we know no other way. I was ready to hear her thoughts, but just then my heart jumped at the sight of my groom stepping out of the dugout. I’m forever giddy over him. I glanced at my mom and was familiar with the expression on her face: she was deep in thought—but over what? Should I have not quit my job to follow and be with Wade? Was she just adjusting to her daughter living 15+ hours from home? Was she fearful we would fall victim to the many possible pitfalls that plague professional athletic couples?
Wade settled into the batter’s box. More than him hitting an RBI double (I didn’t actually recall that part, but my dad did), I’ll forever remember and then laugh at what my mom said in that moment that I had built up.
“You’re doing a good job keeping his pants clean. What are you using? Lye soap?”
This statement is funny for a few reasons:
- In case you’re unfamiliar with professional baseball, there aren’t a whole bunch of perks in the minors (especially in the lower levels like we were in as newly weds), but one is that the players are not responsible for their laundry. I really can’t even imagine if they were, considering my own husband—a comparably civilized caveman—would easily go a month before considering such.
- I’m still so terrible at doing the wash. A few years ago, some people thought we had a baby girl instead of a boy, because I had accidentally turned all of JW’s newborn onesies pink. Sorry, buddy.
- I was nervous about measuring up to some sort of silly standards I had created for myself, while my mom was just soaking in the atmosphere and trying to get the dirt on a new detergent.
- I didn’t even know what lye soap was until I ran across it in the book of Malachi (which prompted research).
Lye soap is true soap…the origin of all soaps. Back in the olden days, before there was liquid detergent with sunset-infused scents (ahem, extra chemicals), all soap was made from lye. Lye was made from boiling rainwater and the ashes of a hardwood fire. The top was skimmed and mixed with some kind of fat (lard) and then it became a housewife’s dream cleaner.
In Malachi, the prophet discusses God’s coming. We, as believers, are so excited and anticipate His arrival. We can relish that He comes for us, but we need to be prepare ourselves for Him. Malachi writes that God will “be like the strongest lye soap at the laundry” – He is going to scrub us like dirty laundry and wash us white as snow.
Preparations need not to bother with the silly standards we put on ourselves. We shouldn’t waste our precious time on chasing perfectionism, worrying over outward appearances, or trying to accumulate much wealth. We prepare for Him by making accommodations in our hearts. He desires our full devotion to Him—only Him. And when we do so, we experience a cleansing through His grace and also through His loving conviction. For those who are willing to undergo the scrubbing (the refining), He washes away our sins.
Preparation for God’s coming can be summed up as: love God, serve people, and leave everything else to Him….
Though you should probably still do the laundry!
**As originally written for Baseball Chapel and their Women’s Daily Devotions**