Laundry can be strenuous.
And often (not always), laundry can sway the temperature of my attitude. If I get it done, I feel great! If that basket or two sit in my living room, clean but unfolded, it can make me anxious and defeated. And sometimes, I consider myself the best mom and wife when the laundry is done, folded and put away! Oh... when was the last time that happened? I really cannot remember!
Do you ever have those moments when you're staring at something or someone, and suddenly your mind starts racing with thoughts and lessons and a-ha moments? Let me just paint the picture of what my laundry status looks like today. Two baskets of clean and unfolded laundry. A new load currently on "regular" wash cycle. And a huge pile of folded clothes in my bedroom (more on that later). Not to mention the newly found load of "dirties" that started this morning... As I stare at my laundry today, I started to ponder and God gave me great perspective. Here are THREE lessons I've been learning from this so dreaded CHORE.
We have WAY too much clothes. Seriously. And yes, I'm comparing our household with my household growing up. And families in our own community who struggle to clothe their children. I try very hard to maintain the mindset that we are a blessed family. We have more than we need. We have more than enough. And because of our human nature, we can find ourselves wanting and desiring MORE. Am I just talking to myself here? When the children ask for one MORE toy, one MORE book, one MORE pair of shoes, one MORE anything, I am reminded that they're not the only ones desiring MORE. I can be vain, too. I want MORE books. I want MORE nail polish. I want MORE coffee. And even MORE of anything being advertised on Facebook and now Instagram these days. *Sigh* Lord, help us!
So, as I look at the daily loads of laundry here at the Gentz' household, I am incredibly in need of perspective. I think of how fast my children are growing and how quickly they're going through sizes. I am thankful for the ability to do laundry at 9:12am, or 11:45am, or anytime during the day. And the sober reality that I GET to experience God's generous provision to my family. To me. We may have plenty of apparel items. Different colors. Different sizes. Different textures. And because of God's consistent and faithful provision, my family is not lacking. A humbling realization.
We CANNOT take WATER for granted. Particularly, CLEAN water. Have you ever stopped to realize that clean water is the #1 requirement for such a task? Water is the one element and variable we need to begin the process of cleaning our clothes. Today I remembered that "woman at the well" from my post here. Remember? She went to the well everyday to draw water. It was part of her day. But you and I don't need to do that. We open our faucets and get water. We start our washer machines and get water. We flush and there's water (thank goodness!!!). And maybe that's why we neglect those intentional encounters with Jesus. We take it from granted. We take water for granted. And eventually our need for Jesus. Could laundry bring me Jesus? Could the mundane CHORE remind me of Jesus? Could starting my washer machine be the variable that moves me towards an encounter with Him? Hmmm...
And let's talk about CLEAN water. You might be thinking... "Helen, you can't just do your laundry with water. What about some sort of soap? Laundry detergent?" Sure, I get you! I CANNOT just do laundry with clean water. I need some sort of soap agent. I WISH clean water would do ALL the cleaning. Wouldn't it be more affordable that way? By the way, have any of you heard of this company called MyGreenFills?
A friend of mine told me about these refillable, non-toxic laundry products that she was getting shipped to her house for a FRACTION of the mainstream stuff. And she gave me a link to try it for FREE! And I'm so glad I did! When I receive their package, it brought a smile to my face. The bottle said it would be the "last laundry jug you will ever own", as the jug is refillable.
The jug came pre-filled with the soap, and I got another refill packet with my shipment. I paid for shipping, which was less than 8 bucks! My family is super sensitive to strong odors and scents, so this has been PERFECT for us! If you want to try it, I'd highly recommend it! Your first 100 loads is FREE! I have tried the laundry soap from Norwex that so many of my friends sell. But we couldn't justify the price tag. I loved it, but this stuff is great and more affordable for our family.
Anyway... back to our "normal" programming. Haha!
We officially have a FAMILY "closet". I've given up putting our children's clothes away. For years I could wash and fold the laundry. And my defeated self would come out every time I'd see that basket of folded laundry hanging out in our living room or in my bedroom. So... I made peace with LEAVING them there. Yup. In the corner. In my bedroom. The kids get dressed in my bedroom anyway. And it's now easier to go from pajamas to school clothes in the morning. I realize it's not a "closet", but a laundry basket filled with folded clothes. But hey... it functions and works for us! It's separated by child. And if I'm not around when the kids need to get dressed, they already know to look for clean clothes there.
The simple decision to consolidate that step into a single "closet" has given me the freedom to focus on grace. Grace. It's the beautiful idea that I, as mom & wife, am not valued and counted worthy for my performance. But I'm found worthy of God's love because of who HE is. He loves me because He is love. And He loves me because of who I AM. Not what or how I do. So, whether or not I put the laundry away in separate rooms and dressers and closets, or if I contently leave my baskets in our family closet, He LOVES me and gives me GRACE. Daily.
Disclaimer: I still put Joel's clothes and my clothes away in our closet & dressers. But again, it's all in the same bedroom. Right there. In our family "closet". And this method keeps me sane and makes me happy.
Do you have a method that works for you? I'd be curious to hear what you do. Do you do laundry daily? Do you have a schedule? You did away with folding a while ago? Do you have a family closet, as well? Do you use regular soap? Unscented? Whatever's on sale? Or do you try to be toxins/dye/perfume-free? What do you do?
So, today, let us remember that Jesus is in the daily tasks of our routines. Just like when He met that woman at the well thousands of years ago, and completely changed her life, I believe He can meet me by my washer machine. And my prayer is that He'll meet you there as well.
Okay... time to switch the laundry. Dryer's a'waiting...