Pastor's wife: 'A clean slate is a beautiful thing'


The clanging alerted me that there was a problem.  Some sounds are not ever supposed to come out of the dryer.  I hurried to the laundry room. 

Yanking open the dryer door, I began pulling out my beloved’s dress pants and shirts. The load was his good stuff for church.  In the still damp pile, I found a small black lid.  And then something much worse: dark greasy stains on all of the clothes.  “Aww man,” I groaned loudly.

I searched through the load again trying to find the source.  The black lid belonged to something.

“Your clothes are all greasy, ” I yelled to him from the laundry room.  “Do you know what this lid goes to?” 

He studied the object.  Then suddenly remembered.  It went to a small bottle of anointing oil. 

My beloved is a pastor.  A few days before, he and a deacon had gone to visit a very sick friend in the hospital.  He’d used it there. 

“I must have left it in my pocket,” he confessed sadly.  “I’m so sorry!”  The small vial of oil had completely anointed every stitch of his dress clothes. 

I grabbed the spray stain remover.  Anointing oil was not listed on the back.  A liberal coating of Shout was applied to every splotch.  I take Philippians 4:6 quite literally so invited God to get involved.  “LORD, I know You are good and You always work for our good.  I ask You to please, if it is Your will, let all this come out.”  I reminded Him what it was and why my beloved had even had it in his pocket.  Then after a bit, the tainted clothes were soaked overnight in hot water and dishwashing liquid in the kitchen sink.  The next day, which was Sunday-the day of new life and new beginnings-I power washed them in the washing machine in hot water right after church.

We waited breathlessly until they were dried.    

Because God is gracious, generous, and kinder than I deserve, the clothes were spotless.

During the spraying and soaking process, I pondered past mistakes with laundry and life.  Sin has stained all of us much worse than a tube of oil in the dryer.  Many search for something to wash it away, but there is only one thing that can do the job:  Nothing but the Blood of Jesus.  In the hymn Jesus Paid it All, Elvina Hall, wrote, “Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

Because God is generous, gracious, and kinder than we deserve, when we ask, He forgives us of our sin and remembers them no more (Jeremiah 31:34). 

My beloved’s dress clothes will never remind me of their spots/stains.  They have been washed and are clean.  When the devil brings up my past sins, I need to remind him that I, too, have been washed clean.

No sin is too terrible to be forgiven, no transgression too awful.  First John 1:9 reminds us, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

A clean slate is a beautiful thing.    

Dawn Reed is a pastor's wife and newspaper columnist. Reach her at