What I Learned at the Laundromat
Living in 300 square feet means that we do our best to spend A LOT of time outdoors. We often refer to it as the second living room.
The weather as of late has been wonderful. We’ve barely seen days above 80. If we were in Dallas right now, the heat index would be somewhere around 108 and that is just no fun! Needless to say, we definitely try to take advantage of the second living room when we are not ministering.
While we were in Spokane we were able to stay on the church grounds where Daniel was preaching. This was great. The kids had plenty of space to run around. The church campus was peaceful and beautifully positioned on the banks of a river. Large evergreen trees provided a canopy of shade for the green grassy area where we saw turkeys and deer in the distance and a few little marmots. Reijah named one of them Flower.
We enjoyed sitting outside in the evenings with the kids, watching the occasional marmot run around. We even did a live Q & A sitting outside the coach and answered questions about life on the road. It was refreshing and the ministry time was powerful.
Mom’s, I don’t have to tell you that time spent outdoors + kids = loads of laundry. When it is time to bring everyone inside, the kids go straight to the shower and three sets of clothes go straight to the dirty clothes pile. Honestly, we do our best to get more than one wear out of clothes. That is unless you are a five or three year old little boy and your name happens to be Caden and Chase. These little cuties can get dirty by just walking outside. If you know Caden at all, whatever he is involved in at any given moment, he is in it 110%. He plays hard and sweats, unlike any other five-year old I’ve seen. Seriously. Chase is a master at finding dirt. He can find it anywhere at anytime. Dirt has no chance of escaping Chase. If it is around, he will find it. There was a particular time after playing outdoors that Chase was literally covered from head to toe in dirt. When he walked toward me, you could see puffs of dirt coming off him with each step. He looked like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown!
It seems I always have loads of laundry (pun intended). And in case you were wondering, no, we do not have a washing machine in our coach. We could, but I chose not to. The previous owners opted to put in additional storage where the washer would go. We went back and forth on the idea of putting one back in but I would lose the storage…oh the trade-off! Besides, if I didn’t have those three drawers, where would our little cuties put their clothes?!? So, storage for the win, or loss depending upon what you deem necessary! There have been a few churches who have had a washer and dryer on the property which has been an awesome blessing. Most often though, I have to find a local laundromat or use the laundry facility at the campgrounds where we stay. The nice part about that is there are generally multiple machines and in just around two hours, I can wash and dry everything!
It is now time to do laundry…again. As I sit here wondering about how amazing it would be if we could wash our clothes just once and never have to do it again, the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of the need to be clean. He wasn’t speaking to me about the loads of laundry that needed to be washed, He was speaking about me.
I grew up in church, and though I had encountered the Lord at various times in my life at church services and summer camps, I never truly had a personal relationship with Him that went beyond those encounters. I lived a good life. I didn’t get in trouble, do drugs, drink or hang out with the wrong crowd. By all appearances, those looking at my life on the outside probably would have agreed in saying that I was “clean”. Everything changed when I was 17. I was sitting in a church service and came to the realization of how holy God is and how unclean I was. In that moment, the Holy Spirit was nudging me once again and I ran to the altar in complete repentance and surrender. Though this was not the first time I had responded to an altar call, this time was most definitely different. I truly became alive in that moment as if it were for the first time. Everything about me changed. I wanted nothing more than to know Him and be close to Him, to be holy because He is holy. Not to be clean just on the outside, but on the inside as well.
Wouldn’t it have been amazing if after I made that commitment I was forever clean and never again had to deal with sin? Yes, the Cross is enough. Absolutely, the blood of Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to cover our sins and cancel the debt we owed because of them (Colossians 2:13-15). The truth is that we live in a fallen world. Though I do not live a life of habitual sin, I am still surrounded by it and some of it still gets on me and once again, I am in need of being clean. People often make judgments and measure sin based on what can be seen and think as long as you stay away from the “big” sins (by the way, sin is sin – there’s no measure to how great or small, it all separates us from God) then you’re all good. Perception, my friend, isn’t reality. No one can see your heart. In fact, you don’t even really know your own heart. Only the Lord does. He sees and knows all. You may look clean on the outside but your heart may be full of silent killers like jealousy, bitterness, hurt, carrying offense, greed, envy, and the list goes on. If it is a necessity to wash our clothes and our bodies to become clean, how much more so should we be mindful that our hearts must also continually be cleansed?
Psalm 24:3-6 says, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob.”
He who has clean hands and a pure heart. Your hands are external. They can be seen by you and others. Your heart is internal. No one can see this, except the Lord. This passage of scripture says that we must have both clean hands and a pure heart to come before the Lord.
Funny how the Lord will use the simple, everyday things in life to speak to us and gently remind us of things that we may have forgotten. He’s always speaking, we just aren’t always listening. Daily I must face the reality of my imperfections and short comings. Daily I am reminded that I must choose to die to myself and pick up my cross and follow the Lord. Daily I recognize the need to be clean and to live holy and I once again find myself saying, “wash me, Jesus”.
Whether you’ve just prayed the most life changing prayer of salvation or you’ve known the Lord for a long time, chances are, you’ve got a little bit of the world on you and you too need to be cleansed once again. My prayer is after you’ve read this blog, that the next time you’re washing a load of laundry or picking up your clothes from the dry cleaner, you’ll be reminded of the importance of having both clean hands and a pure heart.