Dirty dishes.

I have a love-hate relationship with dirty dishes.

We had a dishwasher most of my growing up years, but that didn’t inspire my siblings and me to cheerfully load and empty it! When my dad insisted we needed to scrape AND rinse the plates before putting them in, we rolled our eyes and thought he was cra-zy.

Once married, our first apartment had lovely burnt orange shag carpet and 1970 something wall paper. The neighbors were too loud and the building smelled weird, but at least we had a dishwasher! Twelve months of blissful dishwashering! And it turned out Dad was right. For the first time, I was  loading AND unloading, and when you do that enough times, you figure out what works and doesn’t work. Since I could no longer blame someone else for a plate decked with crunchy nastiness, I started scraping AND rinsing those plates. (Most of the time!)

Fast-forward twenty years, and I’m a mother of teenagers. Without a dishwasher. If you’ve looked through this blog much, you may guess that we make most of meals ourselves, from scratch. Every day, I either spend with wet hands or with Mt. Dishmore rising from my sink. Ephraim is happy to wash when he’s got a day off, but there are plenty to go around! (Seems my family wants to eat EVERY day?)

Many a night, I stand at the sink, house quiet, washing things up. It’s not difficult. Sure, my back may ache, my hands may chap, but it’s not hard work!

Washing dishes takes time. I feel like I don’t have much time. I hate that I have to spend that time just doing the same thing over and over.

Washing dishes is often tedious. Boring. Monotonous. At this point in my life, I welcome a little bit of that! I can use that time to think through things. Plan. Dare I say it? Even zone!

Women are multi-taskers by design. I have done many productive things while washing dishes:

  • worked on Scripture memorization;
  • taught my children God’s Word;
  • listened to a sermon or Scripture;
  • had conversations in person or via phone;
  • given spelling tests;
  • prayed;
  • worshiped;
  • read a book;
  • watched the happenings in our backyard;
  • told my children stories;
  • and countless others!

I have also done less productive things while washing dishes. Sadly, some were shameful –

  • resented having to wash the dishes;
  • listened and half-watched tv or a movie;
  • scolded my family for not scraping and rinsing (eh-hem);
  • argued with my husband;
  • fumed about inter-personal conflict;
  • gossiped with someone in the room or on the phone;
  • yelled at my precious children;
  • worried;
  • spread negativity;
  • and countess other unfruitful things.

I have a blogging friend who always ends her posts with, Make Your Life Matter No Matter What.*

Yes. That.

I want my life to matter. No matter what! That includes the parts of my life I spend – sharing Christ, reading my Bible, laughing with my girls, talking with my husband, doing laundry, facebooking, cooking, taking photos, going for walks, visiting with a friend, working, and yes, even washing dishes.

I can choose to do something productive while I’m doing something tedious. But even if I don’t have the mental resources to do anything but zone, I can zone with a thankful heart!

This poem hung in our kitchen when I was growing up. I find myself reciting it now and then, for my own benefit, as well as our girls’.


Dirty Dishes

This week, most of us will enjoy a grand feast, celebrating God’s faithfulness to us. When every one is “fed, fat and happy,” we’ll groan at the pile of dishes that need tending. Maybe many hands will work together and it will go quickly. Maybe you will be left washing them all. By hand.

Either way, use your time. Make it count. Catch up with a loved one. Thank the Lord for His goodness to you. Reflect on Scripture. Zone with a thankful heart. Be intentional!

While others may go hungry . . .

Every 3 seconds, someone dies from hunger or lack of safe drinking water. As you wash your dishes in clean, safe drinking water, pray for those who have no such option to offer their children. We have no room to grumble about washing dishes. Not this week, nor any other.

By our stack of evidence, God’s been good to us.

In everything [even washing dishes!] give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NASB


For information on feeding the hungry in the name of Christ, please go to http://www.gfa.org/ . When you sponsor a child or missionary through Gospel for Asia, 100% of what you give goes directly to the field. None of that is used for administrative purposes!




* You can read more about how to “Make your life matter, no matter what” – http://angeladonadio.com/category/blog/


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