The horrible, terrible...laundry.

I have been known to tell my children that, if we lived in almost any 3rd world country, they would have 1, maybe 2 outfits. They would wear them all week and then I would scrub them down in a washtub, and leave them playing naked in the house while I scrubbed 6-12 outfits in the tub outdoors in the baking sun. And, if we were middle class, I would also have a maid.

Pile #1 of clean laundry
That's not how middle class works here. My kids have scads of clothes and I seem to be forever buried in laundry. I remember being a country kid with a healthy covering of dirt most of the time, wearing outfits 2 or 3 days at a time. Our social standard now is sparkling clean kids in perfectly matched outfits. I had someone offer me information about the food stamp program while in line at the grocery store once with my kids. Just because their clothes didn't match. And likely at least one of them had traces of breakfast on their face. Or hands. But still - you're kidding me! How presumptive.

Clean and somewhat folded
Trust me, lady in the grocery check-out line, I have lots of clean laundry. If you would care to come fold and put away my laundry, perhaps you would no longer be offering me other special services. You would just pray for me.

The dirty laundry is everywhere
It's as ubiquitous as say, floorboards. Dirty laundry has five places in my home but my children still lack the memory to put it there. A walk-through of the main floor sometimes yields 6-7 pieces of laundry of unknown cleanliness.

But God washes the picture fresh, shines His sun right through the linen hamper, glowing beauty up from the ashes of my messy home.

A little boy waits in the hall for his shots
God is teaching me to be patient.
One of His main tools is my laundry.
Both the clean and the dirty.

Just like the power of rain washing endlessly on our homes, our streets, all of our man-made structure, God's healing spirit slowly strips us of our "Good Christian" paint and we see the ugly gray concrete underneath. But that's not what we should see. Because now we are wearing the glowing white perfect robe of Christ's grace. Whatever chips of "self" remain are just clinging to the ugly texture of our gray concrete souls, unwilling to give those last pieces up, thinking that somehow they cover us. No, they just make us look silly, or strong, or "spiritual" or lost. Depends on the kind of paint you're wearing. I don't want paint anymore, I want the billowing white of Christ to cover my dirty curbs.

Cashier who reminded me of my Grandma
Once you understand that we can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. (Romans 5:3-8 NLT)

That is seeing the world upside down. That is seeing beauty where the world sees ugliness. That is rejoicing as you fold each piece, attacking the endless mountainous work of mothering.

Now, where is my maid???