because we can all learn a lot from our dirty laundry

March 30, 2016

As I unloaded and loaded pile after pile of laundry it hit me. Maybe I should be grateful for dirty laundry.  Now, I confess, that was not my first thought. My first thought was actually how stressed I was by all of it and how I just didn’t think I could make myself finish one more load.

Yes, I think at some point in time every tired parent has thought that same thought.

It was after ten o’clock. And, I was a little tuckered and tired due to a busy, long week.

Maybe you too are feeling a bit worn? A little overwhelmed with the chores of the week? Undone over the mounds of dirty clothes piling up day after day? If so, can I just confess, He even has a message in all the things that can be overwhelming. Like dirty laundry.

And, yes, this time, as those same feelings and thoughts crept into my laundry room and weighed on my heart, I realized how far they were from being God-honoring.

So gradually as one item moved (with my help of course, unfortunately there is no laundry fairy!) from the washer to the dryer I shifted my focus. I tried really hard in that very moment surrounded by soaking baseball pants, hanging wet items, stacked folded laundry and a packed suitcase of even more clothes to wash to shift my focus. I really wanted to go from my ‘debbie-downer-I- can’t-keep-doing-this’ attitude to one of simple gratitude.

As I slowly made a dent in what began as my frustrated ridden chore, I intentionally started to think of all the little blessings found in that dirty laundry…

The blessing of healthy, busy boys.  (Every dirty item points to one of the three men in my life who bring great joy!)

The blessing of indoor, clean running water. (I wish every time I turned on a faucet – yes there are how many in my home?- I could remember all those around the world who walk miles each day in hopes of clean water.)

The blessing of an endless supply of washing cleaners and stain fighters. (Yes, this one. What would we moms of boys do without some Shout or Oxi-Clean in our lives?)

The blessing of machines that wash and dry. (My husband makes fun of me saying, “I am doing the laundry.” He often reminds me that I don’t have to go out back or down to the rock as they did long ago. I think he thinks that pushing the button is really all it takes to do the laundry. Bless him!)

The blessing of electricity that makes those work. (How many times have I forgotten to be thankful for electricity?)

The blessing of travels near and far with one adventure right after the other. (That suitcase running over with more dirty clothes really made me stop and think of the blessing of travel. Of seeing this big, beautiful world God has created and how many times I miss saying thank you for those glimpses of His glory.)

The blessing of enough clothes that we could manage if I did not finish all this that night. (This one. Can I just say that we have way too many clothes and too much stuff in this first world we live in? I hope that my focus on becoming more grateful brings me to share more and buy less.)

The blessing of my health that allows me to provide this neat laundry service for my family. (Yes, I am grateful for every part of my aging body that still bends and works and folds and thinks and does laundry. Instead of focusing on all my aches and pains and fears, I really hope to focus on all the blessings of my health that enable me to be the chief wash girl at our house.)

No, not everyone has the blessing of seeing the fullness of their lives pile up in their laundry rooms.

Not everyone enjoys busy weeks that lead to mounds of work at the washing machine.

Not everyone has the chance to have three or four or five options for clothes for the day.

No, not everyone has good health enough to clean and wash and fold and iron and do all the things it takes to care for their family.

So, yes, as crazy as it may sound, today, I am thankful for dirty laundry.

For the piles of folded laundry that need putting away and the even larger piles still yet to be done.

For the opportunity for more dirty laundry added to my piles today.

And, even more that will come as the weekend ensues.

I am thankful for all of this and so much more.

What if we dirty-load-clothes-folding parents decided to do just this? Look for the blessings in the mundane, dirty parts of our lives as much as we did the awe-inspiring moments of our lives.

What if we said a ‘thank you’ or ‘praise you’ every time we started our washers or dryers?

Or, folded a load of clothes?

What if for every sock without a mate we thanked God for the stinky feet that once filled that sock and the little hands that misplaced its partner? Without worrying about the never-ending sock hunt that might follow.

I know, it seems a bit far-fetched, but I really believe we can all honor God in all things.

Even dirty laundry.

And, who knows? If your family begins to see you smiling as you work through heaping piles of dirty laundry they just might decide to pitch in.

Or, tackle the mounds of hard work in their lives with a little more happiness and lot more gratitude.

Yes, we can all learn a lot from our dirty laundry.

Dear Father,

Thank you for dirty laundry. For the reminder it brings of all we have to be grateful for. Help us to not forget to see those blessings in our mundane and dirty, Lord. Help us to be so grateful that others might see it and in turn, yes, Lord, see you. We praise you and thank you for all that you do and all that you are and all that you provide. You are enough, Lord.

In the precious name of the One who came to save us, Jesus.


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  • Reply Kathy Owens Croft March 30, 2016 at 12:25 pm

    Oh Jennifer! You are so, so right. My ex always said as much as I fussed for doing laundry for 2 that I wouldn’t have made it with children. I disagree because at least your kids love & appreciate you but then I still complain about putting the laundry away. How true it is that we forget to be thankful for indoor washers & fresh water. Just like when my Mother reminded me when I moved & unpacked & fussed about not having enough cabinets, that I should be thankful for the cabinets because some people had none & nothing to put in them. So true. God has blessed us with way too much.
    I love all of your posts. Thanks for doing them. I hope your grandmother is doing better! Miss you.

    • Reply Jennifer Woodward March 31, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      I am so grateful for all of your encouragement! Moms always know best, don’t they?! Praying all is well with you and missing you, too!!

  • Reply Mari Clar March 31, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Thankful for the things you wrote. God turns the mundane into opportunities for Godly service given the right attitude. These days, what I’m learning from my dirty laundry is that time is fleeting. The child rearing years for me are almost over. Three are married, 1 at college, another leaving for college in the fall. Only 1 at home.
    The days that we have in service to the King are numbered. Beautiful post. Thank you.

    • Reply Jennifer Woodward March 31, 2016 at 9:24 pm

      Thank you so much for your encouragement and this great reminder. I can definitely feel time flying by with my boys! Yes, I am praying that we as parents appreciate this time of service for Him. Grateful for your comments and your heart! Praying God blesses this season with your family, especially your last baby at home.

  • Reply Nicole April 23, 2016 at 9:41 am

    As I’m knee deep in despair over all that needs to be checked off on my to do list you reminded me to count my blessings. Thank you

    • Reply Jennifer Woodward May 2, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Praying that your to do list is now done, but that we all are still counting blessings! Thank you so much for taking the time to encourage me. It really means more than you could know. To Him be all the glory forever!

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