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As a young girl, growing up in the 80’s, one of my favorite shopping excursions included purchasing my newest pair of white canvas shoes. Once my mom paid for them, she let me place my old shoes in the shoebox and wear the new ones out of the store.

In the sunlight, the white fabric was so clean and shiny, and the soles encircling the shoes were perfectly glossy. However, by the end of my first day wearing them to school, that pristine white fabric sported at least one smudge from the heel of another shoe or from the dusty ground during outdoor activities. The smooth white soles revealed multiple scuff marks from kicking balls or just bumping my new shoes against a dark surface.

A smear of brown dirt popped up after a boy at school stepped on the toe of my new shoes, and then laughed at my failed attempts to keep them white. I peered down at them with disappointment. Inevitably, I accepted the fact that my shoes would always be white, but a deeper shade of white than I preferred.

I recently reflected on this specific memory while doing yard work, and the Lord used it to speak to me. I had taken on the chore of pressure washing my driveway. After 16 years of dirt and rain washing down its hill, it was apparent the concrete needed cleaning.

I started at the top of the slope and alerted with excitement from the immediate sparkle I saw as I swept the wand over the surface. But the more I worked, the more tired and wet I became. At one point in my cleaning, I looked down at my shoes. Though they were white when I started, they had become ashen, dingy, and soaked.

As I peered down at them, God gave me this analogy: as circumstances crowd into my adult life, I am reminded of that same desire I had as a little girl. I wanted clean, white shoes. I also wanted to grow up living a clean, unblemished life — one without bumps, bruises, and scrapes. Yet, I found myself in the middle of my yard, with dirt and water splashing onto my shoes, and I realized that my life is messy.

I have been that same little girl over and over again, walking out in new shoes, down new roads, only to come face to face with obstacles, trials, and many smudges. Often, the bumps and scrapes have come through no fault of my own, and sometimes they have been the result of my poor decisions. From time to time, they have appeared after mistreatment by another person in my life.

Despite all this, 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) reminds me “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Because of what Christ did for me on the cross, I am new, clean, and pure.

Isaiah 1:18a (ESV) says, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:  though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

Because of Jesus’ blood shed for me, I am clothed in white. Though I see a white that is deeper or darker than I prefer, God sees me as white as snow.

Copyright © August 2, 2016 by Courtney Johnson. Used by permission.

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