Inside was far worse. The stench caused me to gag and nearly took me to my knees.
What on earth?
As I approached her crib, she popped up and stood at the rail.
"Oh, Pearl. Something is very stinky. What is it?"
She pointed down to her pillow and said, "Look."
And that's when the putrid culprit was identified.
Remnants of the previous night's dinner. Dried up, hours-old vomit.
Unfortunately, its victims were not only her pillowcase and her blankies. My sweet baby girl was also covered in it. Her short, brown hair matted together and her pajama shirt saturated. She was a hot mess.
Assessing the damage, I then asked her, "Oh, Pearl, why didn't you call for us? Why didn't you tell us you needed help?"
She didn't understand what I was asking. She had no clue.
We have a baby monitor in our bedroom. We hear her whenever she makes a noise, wakes up startled, or is singing herself to sleep. And never, not once, did we hear her voice in the night alerting us there was a problem. Never.
Maybe she was too sleepy. Maybe she didn't notice. Maybe she didn't care.
Bottom line: She didn't call out for us to help her with the mess.
As grossed out as I was from the scene, I was even more sad.
We've spent nearly the last six months teaching our girl to trust us. To trust us to take care of her, to provide for her, to assist her with her needs/wants, and to depend upon us for everything. To trust that we are there for her. No matter what.
And this...this brought me bitter disappointment. She didn't think to call for us. She didn't mind rolling around in her vomit all night. She didn't know we'd come. That we'd help her, clean up the mess and restore her to a pleasant, restful sleep.
She didn't know.
Then, deep within my spirit, I felt a pressing, "Do you? Do you know? Do you remember to call out for Someone to assist you? Someone who will come, who will cleanse you and make you right again? Or are you content rolling around in your mess?"
As I looked at my daughter covered in her own vomit, I saw myself.
A couple of months ago, I was struggling with some junk. Some less-than-ideal stuff in my heart that made me feel disgusting. And I knew it. I could see it. I could smell it. I could feel it.
For some time, I dealt with the mess myself. Basically ignoring it, thinking it wasn't that big of a deal. But really all I was doing was "wallering" around in it.
Until I realized I needed help. My mess was too overwhelming for me to handle alone. So one evening, after days of private battle, of moments in solitary prayer, I opened my mouth and shared my struggles, my shortcomings, my sin, with a couple of friends.
I did what James 5:16 says, "Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed."
No judgment received. Only concern, compassion, and accountability. I am grateful these loving friends prayed over me that night and have prayed for me for days afterwards.
"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
Cleanse me with hyssop and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
Psalm 51:1-2; 7, 10
"Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
"They cried to You and were saved; in You they trusted and were not disappointed."
"In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help.
From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
He drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me."
Psalm 18:6, 16-17
Oh, praise the One that came, our Messiah who stepped right into our mess, took it upon Himself and purified us from it. And praise Him that He continues to wash, rinse and repeat as needed.
Both Pearl (and I) can testify to the fact that being clean sure feels better than the alternative!