It started simply enough. While cleaning the bathroom recently after weekend guests, I swiped at some dirt tracked onto the tile floor, and when a tinge remained, I put some stronger cleanser and elbow grease to the task. To my surprise, the discoloration staining the grout whitened, too.

Inspired, I got a soapy bucket and scruffy sponge and went to work. Square by square, section by section, the dingy traffic path brightened. When I finished that long strip, the rest of the floor looked a bit yellow in comparison. Another bucket of medicated water, a fresh sponge and a lot of tedious, but rewarding work later, the whole floor looked like new. The transformation was pretty amazing.

It wasn’t that I had neglected the floor. I regularly swept and mopped it, I assure you. In fact, I’ve always considered myself an above average housekeeper. My family fervently believed that cleanliness is next to godliness, and it was important that everything readily visible be bright and shiny. I’ve maintained that standard, and to be honest, I get judgmental about those who don’t.

The deeper, less obvious grunge is harder to tackle. It’s such tough work to get down on hands and knees with a scrub brush. I found, though, that each gleaming square inspired me to do more. The obvious results kept me enthused about continuing the process. Clean begets clean.

I remembered feeling the same way about early recovery. It felt so amazing to be washed clean of the obvious elements of my addiction and trauma. The more one day(s) at a time I marked, the more encouraged I felt. The more committed I was to progressing. Sure, I still stepped in dirt at times and tracked it across my life, but I knew there was fresh water and hope awaiting.

It’s been the same way with grace. I’ll never forget the unbearable night I wrestled with God and finally realized that I needed his peace – a relationship with him – more than anything else. It wasn’t just a need; I realized it was the deepest desire of my heart. This movement of God’s process was palpable.

To my amazement, I discovered that the deeper I grow in my relationship with God, the more I want to continue. That connection guides my life and choices in a way my shame-driven willpower never could. The inexplicable thing is I’m certain the beginning point was all God’s doing.

Transformation is God’s work, including the prompt to get down on our knees. For me, this is the Easter message. Hallelujah!

Marnie C. Ferree