I volunteer in my church nursery one Sunday each month. This past week there were a few babies in the nursery (disclaimer: I love holding babies because it's an easy way to get my baby fix without actually having a baby), but most were toddlers who will turn three and graduate to the classroom across the hallway soon.
These toddlers walk and talk and ask me to read books to them. They interact with each other and eat Goldfish crackers. Some of them are potty trained, like one sweet little girl with soulful brown eyes and lush eyelashes that practically fan her face when she blinks.
"I have to go to the potty," she told me right as the service was about to finish.
We almost made it. (Which really means that we didn't make it.)
I paged her parents and waited. She stood beside me. "It's okay, sweetie, " I told her. She nodded, but those eyes -- those eyes of hers were so sad.
I put my arm around her, and she leaned into me. "It's okay," I repeated. She put her head on my shoulder. "You don't need to be sad. It's going to be just fine."
As she nodded again, I sat down on the floor beside her and reached out to give her a hug. She plopped down in my lap, soggy and all, and together we sat.
Her wetness penetrated into my own pants, but I couldn't budge. She simply wanted to be held. "Are you feeling better?" I asked. She smiled at me and nodded.
Don't we all need someone to stick with us when we've made a mistake? Don't we all need a faithful supporter when we get into a mess? Even messes of our own doing. Even messes that might make others a bit uncomfortable.
I left church on Sunday -- not only with wet pants, but also with a fresh reminder about God's nature: how he meets us right in our messes -- not to judge us, not to chide us -- but rather to lift us out of them.