caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

I Am Diarrhea

Before I go any further, I have to tell you that it took absolutely everything in me to type that title. I cannot stand the word diarrhea. I can’t ever spell it right, they way it sounds out loud is completely awful; I just don’t like it at all. I am, however, typing, so that makes it a little better. Please don’t read this out loud; or, at least, not in front of me.

In fact, whenever someone gets a stomach bug, I try to avoid the word all together. I simply ask if they were throwing up or throwing down. J

Recently, my family passed around a little stomach bug. This was, thankfully, not near as bad as last time. But, we did have a few kids and a grown up throwing down for a few days in the Holzberger house. Not fun.

It is so hard to explain to a 2 ½ year old why you can’t kiss her on the mouth. Why she can’t “cuggle” with her “brudas” and watch a movie. Why Mama screams “Noooooo!!!” and dives, as if in slow-motion, as she takes a sip from her brother’s thermos. It just does not compute in her sweet little brain.

So, inevitably, when someone is throwing up or down in our home, that is when Abigail loses her thermos. Without fail, every single time. We only do water in thermoses around our house. I was a nanny in college and found a sippy cup with milk under the backseat of my car once, after an entire hot weekend. That’s all it took. We only drink milk at the table. Period.

So, here is my sweet middle son, Benjamin, throwing down like a champ. Poor baby. He is so precious and tender-hearted. He kept apologizing for being sick. Sweet boy. He is five years old, so he’s fairly competent in his potty-ing skills. But, something about being sick always makes them revert back to being three. He whines about how his hiney hurts, he needs help wiping, wants “a little cream like when I was a baby, Mama” to make it feel better. Poor thing.

Then, Abigail got it. She has only been potty trained for about five months, two weeks and a day or so. Trust me, when your house is diaper free for the first time in seven years, you remember! In fact, you celebrate! There are streamers and confetti, all paid for out of the raise your family just got from not spending heaps of money on diapers each month! But, the road to get here wasn’t easy. We’ve made it though. She rarely has an accident. She still isn’t totally self-sufficient but overall, things are pretty easy.

Until a stomach bug. Poor thing, she just can’t seem to get to the potty fast enough. I get it. It is hard when grown-ups have to get up quick and make like a cheetah to the potty. Little ones aren’t that refined with all of that yet.

So, we did a lot of extra laundry. We used a lot of extra Spray’N Wash. We threw away a lot of panties. Sometimes you just gotta cut your losses.

But, my extremely precocious and verbal daughter, she is a mini-me! who is always listening to everyone, then repeating and reusing phrases correctly, had overheard a lot of talk about the “d’ word lately. I can’t seem to get my boys to say throwing down. They’re boys. They like the “d” word. In fact, they like every version of that word, and any other word that involves bodily functions, for that matter. I don’t get boys ever sometimes!  So, sister friend knew that Benjamin had been sick. And now she knew she was sick. So, in true Abigail fashion, she put two and two together.

She was sitting on the potty for about the ninth time that day it was 10am and she was, well, throwing down. And, I said,

“Oh baby, I’m so sorry your belly doesn’t feel good. I bet it will feel better tomorrow, sweet girl!”

She sighed. Looked at me with such a grown up face that showed almost a disappointment with herself, slunked her shoulders, scrunched up her brow, and said “Mama…I am diarrhea??”

It was cute, in a sort of sad kind of way.

“No baby, you’re Abigail. You have diarrhea, you aren’t diarrhea.”

She kind of nodded her head and we took care of the rest of the business. Then, we washed hands for the hundredth time that day and went back to her quarantined area “special chair” to sit in and watch a show. Shortly after, Daddy and “the brudas” came home. She was fairly happy and smiley, but then it dawned on her that she had bad news to tell. And sure enough, she scowled her little face, sunk her sweet baby shoulders, almost as if she was about to admit to stealing their candy, and announced to the room, “Hey brudas, hey Dada…I am diarrhea.”

“No baby girl, remember what Mama said, you’re Abigail. You aren’t diarrhea, you have diarrhea.”

Clearly, I had already said the “d” word way more times than I’d wanted to in such a short time. But, in true God fashion, He still found a way to hit me

Oh man, that is exactly what I do.

I sin. Like, all the time. And then I choose to attach it to myself. I bear it. I wear it. And, I sometimes even name myself after it.

Friend, this is not God’s plan for me, or for you!

Psalm 103: 10-11 “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth so great is his love for those who fear him;”

We do not “deserve” a happy, wealthy, skinny, popular life. The darkness of our sinful hearts deserves death. Period. (Rom. 6:23) So, the fact that God gives us the opportunity to have an abundant life on earth and eternity with Him is flat out remarkable. The fact that we can be His kid and belong to Him, to be covered by Jesus’ blood, is cause for some serious praise!

Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

You get that? We were and are still sinners and He died for us. He knew how often we would blow it, just today, not to mention our entire lives here. Ok, some of you are totally sitting there thinking…

But I am not that bad. I don’t cheat on my spouse. I don’t beat my kids.  I don’t break the law. I’m a good person. I’ve got it together, Caroline.

Well, then maybe, like me, pride is your thing. I’m just sayin’. We are all in this sin-boat together. Friend, you will stop sinning when you stop breathing.

But, I love the last part of the Psalm I started to quote above: (v.12) “as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

I heard it said once that the direction of this verse is crucial. He chose to tell us that our sins were as far as the east is from the west. Not north and south, but east and west. Ever think about that? I think it’s because north and south aren’t “far” apart enough for Him. Picture a globe.  If you travel around our world going directly north, you will, at some point, get to the other side, and at some point, start going south. It’s inevitable. They aren’t that “far” apart. But, if you think about traveling east…you keep going…and going…you won’t ever be going west, unless you turn around. You won’t hit a point at the other side of the globe where you will then be going west. It doesn’t happen.  That’s far apart. That’s powerful stuff.

Especially, if you are, like me, and have a zillion moments where you totally blow it. It stinks. It is a tough weight to bear. But, that doesn’t keep us from trying to bear it, does it? I recently blew it in a big way, a couple times. Like, completely, wholeheartedly, 110%, no excuses, flat out, just blew it. I had the opportunity to say and do things that were unselfish, loving, and Christ-like. However, I chose to be selfish, whiney, and satan-like (prideful!). I responded to my husband and my best friend, two of the people who know me best and for some reason still love me most, with an ugly heart. And, this didn’t even happen at one time. I know, I’m awful. This was two completely different instances on two completely different days. That makes it even worse, of course, because I didn’t learn from the first one. Please still be my friend. I chose to have a selfish, “woe is me” attitude, instead of an “I love you” attitude. Once the words were out of my mouth; that was it. You can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube, friend. Ever.

I feel like, even now, telling it all of you people, that I have a weight sitting on my chest. The weight of sin is great, friend.  It’s no wonder it weighs us down, makes us forlorn and depressed; our bodies weren’t designed for it. We. Can’t. Handle. It.

And that’s the beauty of it, God doesn’t WANT us to.

2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

God chose His One and only Son to die a humiliating and excruciating death and bear the weight of all our sin. You think you feel a “heavy” burden sometimes? Jesus, the Son of God, was separated from His Father for the first time EVER, when He chose to put on our sin. What a long afternoon that must have been for Him!! He even cried out during His excruciating crucifixion “Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46) God could not look at His Son, because of our sin. Every moment of envy. Every jealous word we’ve spoken. Every lustful thought. Every juicy gossip we’ve spread. Every judgmental thought. Every selfish deed. All of it. God made Jesus become sin for you and for me.

Why? Read the last half of the verse, friend! “So that we might become the righteousness of God.” Not that we will. Not that we are guaranteed to. But, that we may. God didn’t make robots. We have choice. We have to choose Christ and to love Him with our thoughts, our motives, our actions, our lives, our entire hearts! Clearly put, God gave us the exchange of a lifetime: He put our sins on Jesus, and He put Jesus’ righteousness on us.  Righteousness is a big word. The definition is not perfection. It is closer to the idea of being “made right” in integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting. And trust me, this is not something we are born with. “As Christ was not made sin by any sin inherent in him, so neither are we made righteous by any righteousness inherent in us, but by the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.” (Poole)

And now, for some great news!!

1 John 1:8-10 “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”

Treat God truthfully, and he will treat you truthfully. Make no pretensions before God, but lay bare your soul, let him see it as it is, and then he will be faithful and just to forgive you your sins and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness.” (Spurgeon)

He forgives us.

He purifies us.

But, purifying is a process. My wonderful pastor describes this concept here as that of what a refiner does to purify metals. Malachi 3:3 “He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver; He will purify the sons of Levi, And purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer to the Lord an offering in righteousness.”  So, in order for this to take place, first the minerals must be placed under extreme heat. Been there, done that! Once under this heat, the impurities would rise to the top. The patient refiner, God, would ‘sit over’ the precious minerals as they boiled over the fire, and skim off the top, all the impurities. It me! must be placed under this heat so that all of the impurities may be taken away. Don’t you know, friend, that when I am in the hottest places of life, is when I sin the most! Is that true for you? I will spare you some stories here.  Then…hear me, friend…the refiner, our Great God, knew the mineral  was pure once he could see His reflection on the surface. Wow. I want people to look at me and see Jesus. But, even more so, I want Jesus to look at me and see Jesus.

Be encouraged, friend, that if you have a heart to serve Him, love Him and act like Him, then His process will continue. He will stick by you. He will faithfully allow heat to come into your life to refine you. To make your sin rise to the top, so it can be removed.

Righteousness seems, to me, to sometimes be a daunting goal. Be encouraged by this…

Hebrews 12:2 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter (finisher) of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus is not only the author of our faith; He is the finisher of it also. The idea of “He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6) is comforting indeed to  discouraged Christians, like me. And maybe like you.

He endured the cross not because it was joyful. That is not the joy this verse talks about. He endured the cross, for the joy set before him, meaning what would happen because of his endurance on the cross = the chance for us to be with Him in heaven someday. That is joy.

So, join me. Let’s accept that fact that we are not our sin. We are not diarrhea. We are His creation. And, if you are a Christian, then you are His kid. He will be faithful to forgive you, just as He was faithful to provide a way for you to have eternal forgiveness.

“I AM NOT DIARRHEA!”

I am Caroline.

And, I am His.

Thank God!

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One thought on “I Am Diarrhea

  1. Love, love, love this. Fantastic insight. Only YOU could find a spiritual illustration from diarrhea! Great post!

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