I stood at the washer transferring the same damp clothes to the dryer as I had done last week. I loaded another load of clothes into the washer – the same clothes that I had loaded last week, then gathered up those that needed to be folded and put away – again the same clothes that I had folded and put away last week. The cycle continued week after week. I had come to the conclusion that this was a non-ending job. I was sure that my family purposed to fill up the laundry basket at any rare moment that they found that it may be empty.
But I gathered up those clothes and brought them to the place where I sit to fold clothes. As I continued folding clothes, I reflected on this continual laundry task that I faced weekly, and the drudgery of it all. From there my mind wandered to another task, that of fixing meals. Oh, I thought, cooking is not just a weekly task. That one occurs over and over, over and over, over and over each day. Sometimes that one feels like a fast-running treadmill on which I can’t keep up. Sometimes I have even thought – Mealtime again! It seems as if we just did that! They can’t be hungry again!
I’m sure most wives and moms have had those or similar thoughts at some time during their life. But I recall when The Lord freed me from this drudgery. Don’t misunderstand. I still do laundry weekly and still prepare meals, just as often as before, but what he freed me from was the drudgery of it all.
What I learned was that my thinking was totally wrong! I needed to see laundry and meals through the truth of God’s Word. Laundry and meals in the Bible? There is nothing “spiritual” about that! But that is exactly where I was wrong!
In a passage in 1 Timothy 6:6-8, the Scripture mentions contentment. Then the Scripture says: And having food and raiment let us therewith be content. What I saw through that Scripture was that food and clothing are the most basic needs that every person has. Almost all other material things are optional, but food and clothing are necessities. Now I will agree that most Americans have far more food and clothing than needed, but nonetheless food and clothing are basic human needs.
Then, I saw my family through that truth. The most basic physical needs that my family had was food and clothing. And I had been given the privilege of meeting that need for them. For me, that was certainly a new way of looking at laundry and meals.
My mind went from there to the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31, a woman who is familiar to us all. I went through the Proverb, verse by verse, and was amazed at how much time this woman spent taking care of the food and clothing needs of her family.
She seeks wool, and flax, and works willingly with her hands. (clothing)
She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar. (food)
She rises also while it is yet night, and gives meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. (food)
She considers a field and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. (food)
She lays her hand to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. (clothing)
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. (clothing)
She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. (clothing)
She makes fine linen, and sells it. (clothing)
She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. (food and clothing)
At that moment, I saw the virtuous woman in a whole new way. I knew the Scriptures described her as a woman strong in The Lord, as a woman who did good to her husband, as a woman to be honored, but what I now realized was that she spent most of her time caring for her family, and very much of that time was spent on the food and clothing needs of her family.
In all of my life, I had never seen laundry and meals as part of my serving The Lord. I had certainly never seen it as a “spiritual” work. That was the day that The Lord took the drudgery out of my housework. I realized that all of those duties were not just responsibilities or obligations to be drudged through. They were actually a large portion of my service to The Lord.
I began to see our home as a place of refuge for us all – a place where physical, emotional, and spiritual needs would be met. My outlook changed. My attitude changed. Actually, it was my heart that changed.
I still have mountains of laundry to do and thousands of meals to prepare, and I still need to be reminded. But this is what I now know – each load of laundry and each meal that I prepare is one more opportunity to serve my Lord by loving and serving my family.
And when the drudgery tries to sneak back in, and surely it does, I ask The Lord to remind me – these are the things that a woman that is strong in The Lord does – and she will be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:31