The dreaded text came late one night while my daughter was away from home visiting my sister and brother-in-law across the country: “Mooooooom! I have lice!”
Whaaat? How? Where did they come from? As my husband would say later, these are not helpful questions.
After calming down my daughter via text message and having her talk to her aunt, I hopped on the internet to do some research.
I made it 20 years of child raising before facing this experience.
I don’t recommend it to anyone.
Also, don’t google this issue unless you absolutely have to. You’ll have nightmares. I promise.
And so my lucky sister got to be the first to start dealing with this problem. Do we try natural solutions which may or may not solve the problem? Do we go the traditional shampoo route? A combination of the 2?
No matter what was decided, one thing was clear: they had to do something. Leaving the situation untreated was not an option.
Once my girl came home a few days later, we spent the next 2 weeks diligently combing her hair every day and shampooing with the special shampoo at least 2 more times.
Those 2 weeks of nit picking taught me something: lice are a lot like sin.
When looking for nits, the teeny little lice eggs that would hatch if left alone, I had to have a bright light and good eyesight. I used a very fine-toothed comb and spent a solid hour combing through small clusters of golden hair looking for those eggs that closely matched the highlights glittering in my child’s locks. It was a tedious process, but it was necessary to make sure that no more little buggies were going to live to multiply again.
It’s the same with sin. We must ask God to help us see what we are not seeing in our own lives. Are we harboring anger against anyone? Is pride gaining a foothold? Are we compromising in even a small way?
The unexamined life leaves sin to gestate and hatch and grow and molt until it reproduces into something that eventually takes over.
The results won’t be pretty.
King David asked the LORD to search his heart and see if there was any evil way in it (Psalm 139:23).
We need to know that any sin, no matter how small, will multiply if we do not ask for God’s help in identifying it and eradicating it from our lives.
A couple of days after I had declared my child to be nit free, another friend texted saying she thought she had lice. Oh no, please, Lord. As I asked questions and heard her description of her experience, in all my expertise of 2 weeks of dealing with this issue, I began to doubt that what she was seeing was an infestation. Sure enough, when she came by for me to check a few hours later, the little white stuff she was seeing in her hair was not nits, but simply dandruff from a recent change in shampoo.
Relief was felt by all.
I’m not suggesting that we beat ourselves up over every imperfection—His grace is sufficient for our shortfalls—but I am suggesting that we not overlook what God is nudging us to take care of. Those little Holy Spirit itches that alert us that something might be amiss. The counsel of a wise and loving friend can help us identify if an attitude is wrong or an action is not Christlike, but as in the false alarm of my friend, sometimes we might think we see something that truly isn’t there.
But isn’t it better to have it checked out than to assume it’s nothing and let it go?
Since my kids are older, I thought I had bypassed the lice issue. But I was wrong. I should have been aware that we were still vulnerable.
Just like with sin.
I have a good marriage, but I don’t take for granted that my husband or I won’t become hard hearted toward each other some day. We need to protect and nurture our relationship.
My kids have good friends, but someone could still come along and lure them away from their relationship with the Lord.
There will be no pointing finger or saying “that will never happen to me.” Truth is, it always could. Just like with lice.
There but for the grace of God go I.
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