Unlike my mother, I’m not always one to keep my kitchen sink clear of dirty dishes. And this week was no exception. Valentine’s Day came and went, and the plastic heart dishes I used to serve the girls breakfast that morning were still waiting to be washed on Friday night, stuck together by dried syrup with soggy chocolate chip waffle bits in the crevices between. Two hearts bound together by muck. A metaphor for divine love, I think. C.S. Lewis wrote, “it is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us. It is the very sign of His presence.”

For many, Valentine’s Day is about romance. But each and every love I’ve ever known romantically has ended with hardened hearts, love scrubbed clean of use, dried, and stacked neatly away in the empty cabinet above the refrigerator–the cabinet you can’t reach, not even on your tippy toes, and so you only put things there that you don’t intend to use ever again. That’s where my wedding china sits stored away to this day.

But, that isn’t at all how God’s love works. There’s no tidying up and tucking it all away in dark corners when he claims your heart. When he chooses you, prepare for the sodden way of divine love, a love that refuses to look in judgment at a messy house: his love a kingdom of dirty dishes, bringing glory to the daily, the lost, the neglected, even the heart so wounded it sits soaking in water by the sink overnight.

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