As toddlers, we all had a “special object.” An object that we poured out all of our hearts in and brought everywhere. For me, it was a blanket my grandmother made; with her hands she knitted each stitch carefully, and cast each line with her love, resulting in the softest and whitest cotton blanket with a pink ribbon interwoven around the border. At night, my parents wrapped me in it, and through any storm, I was comforted. Throughout the day, you’d see me crawling or walking around with my blanket in hand, dragging it around the dusty concrete floors, through the muddy grass, through the dirty streets, so that the blanket collected leaves, candy wrappers, small sticks and pebbles, and bottle caps. Living in Colombia, the only method of washing clothes was by hand. Thus, no amount of elbow grease could remove the stains and restore the blanket to its original glory.

Each time my family tried cleaning the blanket, the majority of the debris and dust came off, but many of the stains remained and only became more permanent. Every day was the same routine: wake up with the blanket, drag it around with me, go to bed with it, and repeat. As a child, I wasn’t conscious that I had been staining my blanket every day, until one day I woke up and found the whitest, softest knitted blanket with a pink ribbon. 

Looking back at this simpler time, I realize that I treated my soft white blanket a lot like how I’ve treated myself. I have dragged myself through the day, through concrete and mud, and the messy roads. I have lived life without a purpose, only focused on using myself to ensure I was loved by everyone. Whether it was forgoing my health for the satisfaction of being considered a top student, or giving away parts of myself to ensure that no one would leave my side. I had been going to church regularly and knew that Christ was my Savior, but I had been living like His sacrifice on the cross wasn’t enough. Rather than delighting in Him and in His promises, I tried to find delight in the embraces of others. Rather than trusting in His redemption and His love for me, I searched for and found a false and erroneous love in various relationships.

Just as I dragged my blanket through the dirt daily, I found myself dragging day and night, week after week, through the arms of various people, hoping that one day their embraces would fill my life with joy and love. While searching for satisfaction, love, and fulfillment to distract me from the sin I had collected, to erase the sins that had stained me, I only found more emptiness. 

It’s not a surprise that I failed to find true love when I was searching for it in all the wrong places rather than in my Savior. Jesus reminds us that he is “the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). What I failed to understand in high school was that outside of God, outside the paths He has for us, we can’t be made clean. Just like no amount of soap and elbow grease could wash out the stains of my old blanket, no amount of good works or empty displays of “love” could wash me or save me from the sins that had stained my heart, mind, and soul. But the beautiful thing that I desperately cling to daily, is His love and mercy for us. Ephesians 2 describes our sinful condition; we lived in the passions of our flesh and carried out the desires of our bodies, BUT GOD “being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— (2:3-5). 

But God… 

But God, who is “faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19). 

 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). 

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:4-7). 

There is nothing I could have done to deserve His love. He loved me despite the stains and dirt I wore. Through His sacrifce He has already made me into a new white blanket. He loved us, despite our sinful condition, despite all the ways we showed we hated Him, despite being blameless, He bore our sins upon the cross. 
As we enter Holy Week, it’s impossible not to boast in the Cross and just how undeserving we were to be cleansed by His blood. We must boast in Him and His mercy and grace for us and only in that. We must boast in the redemption of the cross. Just like how my grandma knitted me a new blanket, the Lord has made us new.  Just as my new blanket was white as snow, through His selfless sacrifice, through His immeasurable blood, we are cleansed to be white as snow. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Nyckole Lazaro Quintero is a junior in Winthrop studying applied math