How Many Re-Washes?
by Muriel Hanson Share page

Pammy, our four-year-old, had volunteered to wash the dinner dishes.  She performed the task swimmingly, all right, in a sink billowing with suds.  But in the process she disproved the validity of claims made by manufacturers of a certain dish detergent.  It takes more than suds to get dishes clean!

Washing dishes in one thing, and something I don’t mind.  But re-washing is something else, and I found myself waiting for her to go off to bed before I undertook the task.  I did not want to let her know at her tender age that her “help” is not really as much as she thinks it is. (How much easier just to go ahead and do the dishes myself in the first place!)

When I was a child I remember being told that dishwater is great for healing minor cuts and scratches on the hands.  I’ve discovered since then that dish water is great for other things too.  In fact, there’s nothing like it for giving a mother time to think, to analyze situations and feelings.

It wasn’t only re-washing dishes that bothered me.  Remaking the children’s beds, re-pickng up after they had put away their playthings, to re-hanging their clothers straight and evenly on the hangers.  It was all much the same and all somewhat annoying, though I realized how necessary this learning process is for young children. Perfection is a long road and takes a heap of practice and experience.

My hands still busy in the dishpan, I was asking the Lord to help me overcome this bit of annoyance, or impatience, when an enlightening but sobering thought came to mind.

Isn’t this process much like what the Lord has been doing for me ever since I first accepted Him as my Saviour?

Hasn’t He umpteen times had to intervene and redo my efforts at living the Christian life according to His pattern?

I thought of a mountain of failures behind me. Every single one. He has forgiven me Every time  I have fallen…, He has lifted me up again and has whispered encouragement for another try.

Dishes done, I went to my Bible.  Verse after verse spoke of God’s patience, forgiveness, longsuffering.  I found nothing to indicate that my failings ever tempt Him to give up on me and take things out of my hands so He can do them right without me!

These days re-washing dishes, or re-making beds, or whatever I find myself redoing after my children no longer serves to aggravate me.  Rather, these tasks have come to be my moments of rededication.

For they always remind me now of what my Lord is daily doing for me in so many ways!

“You are forgiving and good, O Lord, abounding in love to all who call to you; hear my prayer, O Lord, listen to me cry for mercy.  In the day of all my trouble I will call to you for you will answer me” (Psalm 86:5-7 NIV). 

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Muriel Hanson has written and published magazines articles and stories for the Evangelical Free Church Press.  Her life experiences provide a rich source of fodder, from farm life in Minnesota to missionary work in post-war Japan to supporting her husband as the founding president of the Christian college in Canada, turning a dairy farm into what is now Trinity Western University.  Raising three children along the way, Muriel has enjoyed a long career as a writer, speaker, and nurturer—sharing her wit and gentle wisdom in everything she does.  Today, Muriel and her preacher husband live in Bellingham, Washington, and have actively planted a local church.

To buy Muriel Hanson’s book, Honey and Salt go to: Wine Press Publishing

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