Laundry

There’s something I love about laundry (and Costco granola) but anyway, laundry, yes…I don’t enjoy putting it away, but the process of making the dirty clothes clean just feels right to me. As my friends and loved ones know, I am not one to clean, in fact, I hate cleaning. It is NO fun to me, and I only do it out of necessity (aka, when Chris looses it and I have to). I like things to be clean; however, the process of cleaning, is well, just awful. But laundry, I love! It’s very predictable: things go in dirty and they come out clean. Laundry is measurable and feels so productive: 10 pieces go in, 10 pieces come out. (except for those socks that always go missing) and I can get a lot done in a small amount of time.

With laundry, things go in smelly and wet and dirty and come out fresh and warm and soft. It’s just wonderful! And then there is the folding. The clothes are sorted and smoothed out and stacked and then everyone gets their clean clothes. For me, it is a very satisfying thing I do for my family. Weird, I know. Again, I am not a chore lover, but laundry makes me feel productive because it’s predictable.

If only life was like this, right? Productive and predictable, alot accomplished in a small amount of time, sorted, smoothed and stacked and done! If only, but I am in an unpredictable state these days. I have entered the workforce after 8 years at home, my days have changed and my schedule is a little unruly. Speaking of unruly, I have 3 boys that are anything but predictable or productive. They are all over the place, making noises and smells, running in the house, refusing to do homework, doing cartwheels in the living room, tracking in mud. And every day is different. Nothing is the same.

Unlike my lovely laundry, sometimes the smelly, wet, dirty things of life don’t always come out fresh, warm and soft. Sometimes they stay smelly, wet and dirty for way too long. 10 goes in and sometimes only 2 come out. Life is unpredictable and can seem unproductive. And God is teaching me to embrace it all.

I looked into Sam’s big, blue eyes today with a new perspective. He was reciting his ABC song, and for just a moment, I saw his future. I saw that how I love him, speak to him, and teach him, impacts his future. That it matters. My mom impacted my future. What she poured into me, how she served me, protected me, taught me the gospel and introduced me to Jesus, all of that was for my future: here on earth and for eternity. It mattered to her.

Today I felt a great sense of purpose looking at Sam. For a long time, I have selfishly parented thinking about myself and how frustrating it was that the smelly, wet, and dirty things weren’t getting fresh, warm and soft like my precious laundry. The smelly things of my life, the unpredictable things, were frustrating me and keeping my eyes on me. But as I stared at Sam today, I became a little more okay with the unpredictability. I became okay with just sitting and grinning while he sang the ABC song, because I knew he saw me…he saw me watching and listening…he saw my big grin…and it made his sweet heart feel fresh and warm and soft. And it mattered.

Sometimes laundry has stains, and we have to scrub a little harder or soak a little longer, or call a friend to get stain advice…so that what goes in comes out fresh and warm and soft. That’s it, that’s the productivity and predictability I am looking for in life…especially in this season of parenting…to know that these sometimes smelly, wet and dirty boys will be okay. That the world won’t get to tight of a grip on their hearts and minds and ears and eyes…that all the prayers and words and warnings and hard conversations…that all this stain fighting will work…that they will be washed white as snow by the precious blood of the Savior who my mom introduced me to…that they will meet Him too and come out of this spin cycle of a world all fresh and warm and soft.

This unpredictable life of motherhood wears me out sometimes. But it’s for their future and it matters and I get to steward that. I get to help sort and smooth their stacks and point them towards God’s good plan for them. 

Botox or God?

“The priests could not continue their work because the glorious presence of the Lord filled the temple”. 1 Kings 8:11

Let’s read that again, because it informs this whole post and is informing my whole heart right now.

“The priests could not continue their work because the glorious presence of the Lord filled the temple”. 1 Kings 8:11

Mind racing, restless nights, teeth grinding, morning headaches, tight shoulders, clenched jaw, swollen gums. The Dr. says it’s TMJ and Botox in my jaw muscles will help. But I know these are all physical symptoms of a spiritual problem: hands closed tightly around whatever future and life I think I deserve, what I think is best.

Pride. He’s been my new bff.

Productivity, significance, achievement- all fuel my exhausted brain. Do you hear voices? Sometimes I do. They say, “Let them see, let them know you are something. You deserve to be noticed. It means you have worth and contribute.” All this is exhausting. But what do you do when the clients don’t come and the chair sits empty, the boys are crazy and life moves slower than you thought? What do you do when the door is shut and you know it’s meant to stay closed for now? What if no one ever noticed again? What do you do when The Voice whispers, “Wait, sit still, watch with Me, do you trust Me? Do you want Me more than what you want?” What do you do when patience and waiting and the unknown simply tighten your grip on what you think can control?

What is the lie? What is the stronghold that keeps me clenched up, unable to rest, to release, to rely on the God of the universe? He whispers again, “Kimberly, do you love Me enough to trust me with you?” What would it look like to let go, to open the closed fists, to breathe, to surrender to the unknown, surrender to His pace and to wait patiently for His hand to move instead of mine, to not be able to continue because His presence is so thick.

What does it look like to be overwhelmed by the presence of the almighty God, so much so that you can no longer work, but only worship? Mary knew it, sitting at His feet while Martha stayed busy. Martha missed it: the presence of the living God in her own living room.

What does it require of me to open a door so He can fill the space, invade it even,  and consume it in a way that I am prostrate, and chains are broken and unclean lips are made pure? Do I want that? Will I let Him do that?

In his presence there is fullness of joy and at his right hand, next to his Son, are pleasures forevemore (Psa. 16:11). 

I want to get acquainted with His right hand. If there is pleasure forevermore there, why, why would I look elsewhere, need anything other than Him? “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, prone to leave the God  I love. Here’s my heart, Lord take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.” Seal it for what? For Thy courts. It’s for Him, His glory alone, not mine. There’s the lie- that any of this life is about me.

Lord forgive me, that any eye would look on me, other than for your glory. The redemption of me, the marriage I make, the boys I raise, the client chair in my office-is just for You, to make You shine brightly.

What if the most important act in this moment, in this season, is bringing Him glory? What would that change in us? What does that look like for us?

That’s the question, “What in my life invites your presence and brings you the most glory?” Then let’s do that. Let’s lay it all down, stop the working, the voices-because He is so near, all we can do is worship. Live a life of surrendered worship, whatever that means. Even if it means, the chair stays empty, the door stays shut, and no one sees but Him. Can I do that? Am I willing? 

Somehow, somewhere I stepped on the throne and thought I needed a crown. I seemed to forget the crowns are laid down in his presence and all that can be said is “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (Rev. 4:10-11). 

Take a listen: When You walk into the room by Jesus Culture