by Melissa McDonald
I was at a bridal shower recently. I don’t have any idea what gifts the bride received because I was playing with my toddler in the other room while the bride opened her gifts.
A friend joined me. Her oldest daughter is getting married soon so her days of hiding out in the toddler room could be long gone. But she sat down to relieve me of my shape sorting duties so I could bounce my 6-month-old.
As we visited she said something about how we always think we need grace for the “big” things but we really need just as much grace to load the dishwasher, again.
Before my daughters were born, my husband, Eric, encouraged me to meditate on Scripture while I did simple tasks around the house. It was great. But once Miriam joined our family that technique went out the window. Sleep deprived and exhausted I could hardly remember my name. And just when I realized I could listen to worship music while I went about my day, the game changed again and I could no longer hear the music above the commotion.
“Here, mommy!” begins the unloading the dishwasher chant. Miriam hands me a glass that’s a bit too heavy for her and likely to come smashing down if I don’t take it quickly enough.
“Thank you sweetheart. How about you put the silverware in the drawer?” Two little fist fulls of silverware clunk in the drawer.
Next she goes for a bowl which, from the angle she’s at, definitely won’t come out. “Stuck! Stuck!” She pulls harder.
“Oh, if you stand over here it’s easier, see?” I quickly pull it out before another one of the prongs in our dishwasher snaps off.
More glasses. More silverware. More bowls. A sigh of relief. The baby starts crying. “Up, up!” Miriam demands not wanting to share my attention with her sister.
“We need to go help Annette.” I turn to pick up the baby. Miriam stays behind, rolls the empty shelves in, closes the door, and pushes the start button.
I return with a baby in my arms to cancel the wash. “Remember, we can’t push the button until mommy puts the soap in.” I scan the counter filled with dirty dishes and swarms of fruit flies.
I need grace to load the dishwasher. I need grace to not just plop down on the couch. I need grace to be patient. I need grace to be joyful. I need grace to bypass the pity party.
My prayer is simple, “Help me load the dishwasher.” It’s short because that’s all I have time to say.
But I really mean that I can’t do it in a way that makes God look beautiful to my children unless he helps me. He wants me to realize I’m dependent like that.
This time all the dirty dishes fit. I fill the little container with soap. Miriam gets to push the button. And in less than 24 hours I will need grace to load the dishwasher. Again.
What small things do you need grace for, again, today?
ABOUT THE WRITER
Melissa McDonald and her husband Eric serve international students at The University of Iowa. Melissa is passionate about discipling women, starting with their two daughters and extending to the women she knows from around the world. Melissa blogs at Radiant Ministries Today and has written the Bible study guide: To Live Valiantly: A study on the Proverbs 31 Woman.