The laundry basket makes a “thud” as I hoist it down each step. I’m short, the basket is tall and narrow, and I’m simply too tired to find a different one. Leaning into the spirit of defeat (the drama appeals to me) I opt to wrestle, grunt, and “thud,” “thud,” thud” my way down the stairs.
With the basket. To feed the washer again.
The prospect of this chore is churning up the old “I was meant for more” nonsense that rears its miserable head – about once a month and sadly more consistently during the months of January, February, and most of March—until the hard ground reluctantly softens to make room for the crocus.
This day I can feel myself physically and mentally fading as morning drones on — listless and dry at the core. The feeling spills over, like the clothes in the basket…and on the floor of the hallway…and in my kids’ rooms — wrinkled, unclean, walked on, misshapen and faded, waiting to be scooped up, cleaned up, and care for.
Funny thing, laundry, at least for me. I know other moms who enjoy the complete cycle of the chore – the gathering, sorting, spot-cleaning, washing, drying, folding, putting away . (I am more baffled and exhausted by this as I write each step.)
I’m more of the “pick-it-up-show-it-some-Febreze-love- and-jam-it-back-in-the-drawer” mindset.
But alas, my mate is of military ilk and my kids have heard about the other moms I mentioned before, and so washing and drying it is. I am undone at the thought that this is a chore I must do again and again, multiplied by the 17 years I’ve been married, the five kids that I have, and the untold years of dirty clothes that lay ahead of me. I don’t feel this strongly about any other repetitive chore that comprise my housewife duties. But the laundry and my chronic inability to master it, get me thinking…
My Father does not Febreze.
No, every day he patiently finds me. He lovingly scoops me up from my rumpled mess. Tenderly, he finds my stains and ugly spots. He is not angry or frustrated that we must repeat this process again and again.
He knows of the stains and the dirt – how they got there, how deeply set they are, and how their presence can seep into everything else. He understands their complexities far better than I, and He goes to work. He takes his time at this spot cleaning, using the best methods – though I seldom understand what they are. Sometimes his approach feels like it’s not going to work. Other times, it’s easy and simple and I know to be quiet and let Him work.
Always, it is just what I needed.
The washing process? Well now that is different. It only needed to be done once, but he reminds me of it over and over. It was the blood of my precious Savior — shed for me on the cross. My faith hinges on that act, and the resurrection that followed.
And as He tends to the stains that represent my ongoing sin while I live on this earth, he addresses each one and reminds me of the work on that cross, and how He sees me because of it: clean.
He dries my tears, tucks away the fear and the anxiety that threatens to overtake me, and reminds me that he has put me where I belong – in the heart of my family, loving them and tending to their needs – even their laundry.
I think I’ll go find that basket.
By Christi MilliganLeave a Comment
Thank you for this post. What a wonderful analogy. Thank you.
Robin Dance says
Who knew a post about laundry could be so perfectly and BEAUTIFULLY written? I could feel the weight of this chore as I stumbled across your words this morning. It’s something everyone can relate to, regardless of their distaste–or delight–of the task.
Wonderful analogy of what Jesus has done for his babies…and I love the fact we only need reminding over and over (not that payment is made over and over).
“My Father does not Fabreze.” What a classic quote…it made me smile big! 🙂
I loved this piece because underneath the lightness of the laundry, kids, and Fabreze a profound truth was discovered. You showed that everything worth learning from God doesn’t have to always be so serious all the time. He meets us in the absurd…the laundry…the laughter.
Thank you for sharing.
I love this post!! I am so glad God does not Febreze. This was so well written!!
Where do you blog? there is no link to your site. Would love to read more…
Thanks Sharon! No blogging yet…we’ll see.
That spoke to my heart this morning. Thank you.
Holley Gerth says
I felt like I was right there with you, girl, with the laundry and the need for some washing clean of my heart! So glad we serve a God who is forever with us in the ordinary and pulling us toward the extraordinary all at once. Thanks so much…
I love it so much how our Father uses the mundane life to bring us to Him. So beautiful how He takes our ugly and makes us beauty-like-Him. Rich blessings…and deep love as you flail in the whirl and twirl of life!
Nancy Kay says
Thank you for giving me a new perspective as I do the sometimes daily chore of laundry. God is graciously and abundantly in all that we do. We just have to let Him in. Thank you for your post.
Wow…such an awesome parallel you draw! I don’t mind laundry, but I’m gonna have to think about this in relation to emptying the dishwasher!
Sue Nowicki says
Annette Hickman says
What a great post! I know my husband has been helping more with this chore than I should admit to. Do you happen to have a fresh pot of coffee, some creamer, and a nice warm stool I could pull up to in your kitchen?…Or would you like to come through my laundry room and tell me how nice it smells? 🙂 Missing and loving my sister in Christ….on this rainy winter day that is full of the promise of spring and sunnier days ahead.
Kristen@Chasing Blue Skies says
OK…you just gave me one good reason to relish all my laundry-ing. I will be picturing your analogy…thanks for the gift!
Beautiful writer you are!
Wow! This so spoke to me!!! I needed this today especially! I too have 5 kids and I’m sooooo glad I’m not the only one who has a hard time getting laundry accomplished! It is hard to repeat, knowing that there are others that can do the same with grace. Thanks for sharing your imagery of God’s repeated works on us! Such a great reminder! Blessings! 🙂
LOVED the analogy!
Nikole Hahn says
My husband throws at shirt at me. “Does this stink?”
I hate laundry, too. He does the laundry and folds. I was made for better things like…cleaning bathrooms. LOL
Teri @ StumblingAroundInTheLight says
This couldn’t be more perfect…Monday is laundry day…and this particular Monday, I’m catching up from the time away while caring for our Caleb at Denver Children’s Hospital. Loads. And loads. And loads of laundry.
Oh, and have I been resentful? who me?
THANK you. For this precious reminder, as I toss another load from washer to dryer…still finishing the task on Tuesday…that He lovingly, tenderly, patiently washes me clean with His gentle-cycle.
Peggy Naus says
Christie, I received your ‘message’ from a new friend of mine, old friend of yours. Well, I have always found laundry as a task that I could get done completely…??.. for the moment & I enjoyed that. I, like you drag the laundry basket out and down my old house’s big ole’ steps, thuding down into the ‘old dungen’ we call a basement.?. I never have thought about it like you have presented. God does have that same ‘chore’ with all of us, at least for me. I continue to ‘truge’ though life making mistakes, sins, and ask for forgiveness which he continues to ‘wash away ‘ those dirty old things that I have done over and over again. So when I head out this Saturday, with that big old heavy laundry basket ….. I will “smile” knowing that God Our Father is right there with me .. washing away my sins and giving me another day of joy and love for & from my loved ones around me. “Thanks’ and God Blesses All.” I’ll look for you again.. Peggy
Katie S says
Beautiful, and thank you so much! I was just grumbling about this said laundry, and I now have a different outlook for this day. Thank you, and God bless!
Rachel Brown says
Christi, WOW! I didn’t know such talent was hidden inside you. What a wonderful devotional. I think you might have a future ministry! Thanks for reminding that I am so blessed even in the mundane(to me) tasks of serving my family everyday. What a privilege to serve my Father in this way!
Sarah Harmony-Powell says
Oh I can sooo relate! It’s like once it is all finally finished and put away and I take a breath, then appears another pile … never ends. I have found myself in tears over it before. I think it is so awesome to realize that while it is daunting and so unfilling at times 🙂 that we ARE more then the daily grind of mother/wife life. Even when it seems like that is all we live for, we are more and we are blessed to be where we are at in those seasons.
Living the Balanced Life says
As we have gotten older and moved into a bit of a different stage in our life, I have gone from at home mom who did most of the housework (along with the kids) to a working wife & mom of older teens. At that point hubby began doing his own laundry, kids have already been doing thiers for years. Due to medical reasons, I left my job last year, and since I am really unable to go back to work fulltime, I do what I can to bless my husband. Things like making sure he always has clean socks and underwear. That his work uniforms are always clean. That he has a towel to dry off on when he gets out of the shower. I figure it is the least I can do for him…
Change what you can, accept what you can’t