Dwelling in the Dishwater: The Basics of Grace

My evenings are usually spent standing at the sink, watching as the water washes clean the blessings of the day ,still holding onto the plates. And every night I remember how I used to hate this. How in our first year of marriage we spent most nights in tears from arguments that stemmed from long days and a culmination of dirty dishes. Who was going to wash them? Why did we let them build up for so long? Why did we rent an apartment without a dishwasher? This was insane, I used to tell myself.

The two apartments that followed our first apartment had dishwashers…I made sure of it. I was not going down that road again. I had major anxiety about the drama that stemmed from the lack of a dishwasher before. And yet…we purchased our first house a year ago, and much to my dismay at the time, there is no dishwasher. And really there is no room for a dishwasher. And the first week I cried. I couldn’t handle it. The kitchen was too small. I kept saying this repeatedly in my head.

I wish I could tell you that I had a sudden revelation about how dish washing could change my world. I wish I could tell you that I realized quickly how absolutely first world and ridiculous my complaints were. I didn’t. None of this came about quickly. But somehow God humbled me through it. Somehow God broke through my mess and taught me to see Him in something as small and seemingly insignificant as hand washing the dishes.

That first week when I cried, I also prayed. I prayed because I felt selfish being so upset about something so trivial. I was scared because I thought that this one extra daily chore was going to break me. I thought maybe God would provide a dishwasher, or a budget for a kitchen remodel. Instead, He provided me with His grace. He calmed my heart.

And this calming went beyond the dishes. It has stretched to almost every layer of my life in recent days. My anxiety over infertility, my worries about not having enough hours in the day, my constant need to control my situations, my overwhelming desire to buy more and more things for the house…they’ve all changed.

I can’t remember the last time that a complaining thought over who was going to do the dishes went through my head. I don’t even find myself asking anymore. Instead I find myself standing there at the sink, voluntarily, happily washing the used dishes in the warm water, and thinking how this is grace. This is the washing of our daily bread. It’s the proof that daily bread was provided. It’s the symbolic picture of my own heart being washed clean. The dirt and the grime, when it builds up in my life, causes me to crumble, much like the sight of a pile of dirty dishes used to do to me. But I have come to love that very sight now. Because washing those dishes clean has brought me closer to Jesus. It has completely humbled me. I fully believe that God has changed me through this.

It turns out that being faithful to God in the smallest things in the world can reveal a grace that’s bigger than you ever thought was possible and that has been waiting for you the whole time. God can mend your brokenness, friends. God can clean up your heart. And He doesn’t do this by throwing each of our souls into a dishwasher, and cleansing us all in the same way. No. He hand washes away our dirt. He takes the time to wipe clean the specks that we may not have been able to see. He takes the time for each one of us. God is so entirely personal. He gives us grace upon grace upon grace.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by this world, if you are feeling muddied by the grind of everyday life, I encourage you to pray for His grace. God is just waiting for you to turn around, to slow down, to see Him. He loves you in an incredibly personal way. I pray that you can see this, and that the world may see it, and that I may see it ever more clearly each day.

Psalm 116: 5-7 “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me. Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”







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