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Laughter in the Laundry

Laughter in the Laundry

I recently opened my washing machine to discover the load I just washed also contained a $10.00 bill, a pen, and a leftover ticket stub. Obviously, I washed more than clothes. I was literally “laundering money!”

Has your laundry ever produced the same results? You open the door to discover that your children’s and husband’s pockets contained items from their busy week; pencils, crayons, stickers and sticky notes, business cards, quarters, and maybe even an expired pizza coupon! It’s almost like Christmas every time you open the washer because you discover treasures you had no intention of washing, while losing a matching sock or two in the process. (By the way, does anybody know why one sock always tends to disappear in the dryer?)

I’m not sure why, but laundry stresses me out. Finding unexpected “gifts” in the machine only adds to my chaos. It’s like the washing machine represents a perpetual state of chaos for me. It’s the place where the unexpected happens—where things disappear and reappear without warning, and where items can change colors, shrink in size, and rip apart despite your best efforts.

I think my washing machine is a metaphor for life. As busy parents, wives, husbands, daughters, sons, grandmothers, and grandfathers, we often find ourselves swirling around in a chaos that begs the question: “How did we end up here?”

Despite our best efforts our children still get bullied; our teenage sons and daughters reject the church; our spouse is diagnosed with cancer, or our grandmother passes long before her time. And despite our best efforts, someone in the family loses a job, health benefits, and financial security.

Despite our best and busiest efforts, life has a way of dumping the unexpected into our laps while removing some of the things we hold most strongly (like my matching socks). So, what are we to do? Well, as trite as it may sound, that’s just life and we often can do nothing.

But it is that life of utter chaos in which unexpected things appear in the laundry and predictable and comfortable things disappear that God has called us to live with joy. But boy, oh, boy, it’s hard to smile or laugh when the chaos within our homes and lives so whips us into a frenzy that we’re utterly broken. However, this is also a time when we need to be aware that our children are watching us and looking to see how we’ll respond to things.

A wise parent will look for the moldable and teachable moments in daily circumstances. Yes, even with those melted crayons in the dryer moments.

If you’re currently in that chaotic state of the unexpected, then the best you can do most days is to laugh. “But my grace is sufficient…” (1 Corinthians 12:7). We can laugh because our perceived chaos is nothing but a blur on the Savior’s radar and because he’s already calmed the storm before the storm hit. Remember: mismatched socks are no match for Him. He’s got you and your family in His hands, and He’s holding your heart right beside His own. Laugh when the load is too much to bear because the Savior’s love will eventually bring that spin cycle to a stop, and you’ll find the mountaintop again.

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By: Dr. Lori Brown is a southern educator and writer who enjoys inspiring families to find joy in their walk with the Lord.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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