My husband and I became foster parents after we had been married for two years. Our first placement was two little boys, brothers, who we adopted after they were with us for eighteen months. When our boys were two and three, we were asked to take one and three-year-old sisters into our home. For the following two years we had our own little in-house, full-time daycare.
After the girls had been with us for about six months, I attempted to get involved in a Bible study group at our church. One thing or another always seemed to prevent me from attending. I was feeling a little discouraged, but I’d purchased devotional tapes and a study guide and thought I could keep up with the Bible study by myself at home.
One afternoon, after I’d put the children down for their naps, I tackled a mountain of laundry that had piled up on the sofa and needed folding. As I was folding, I began discussing my plight with the Lord. “You know, Lord, I’ve started attending this Bible study and I’m trying to find time for You and everything I need to do, but I just can’t seem to find any time. I’ve tried getting up before daylight, but one of the kids always hears me and gets up wanting my attention and by bedtime I’m exhausted. I guess I could do them during naptime, but that’s the only time I have to get caught up with the housework…mainly the laundry. I seem to be able to keep up with most everything but this laundry! Well, I guess You know all about it. You gave me all of these little kids to care for and You know they need clean clothes to wear. You know how much work this takes and I know You understand.”
The following Sunday my husband and I were sitting in Sunday School class waiting for the teacher to begin, when our family’s adopted grandmother, Betty, came and sat down beside me. Betty is a widow who has raised five children. She’s a wonderful woman who’s always helping someone, and had personally blessed our family on many occasions, but I was totally unprepared for what she had to say on that particular day!
She leaned toward me and said, “I have a proposition for you.”
My curiosity was aroused. “O.K., what is it?” I answered back.
She sweetly and softly replied, “I really think this is the Lord, but would you let me do your laundry?”
As I sat gaping at her with my mouth hanging open, my mind was racing trying to think who could I have told about my laundry situation. I knew I hadn’t mentioned it to anyone, not even my husband, Rodney. “Do you know how much laundry I have?” I whispered back as my eyes started to fill.
“Honey, I’ve raised five children and I know how much laundry you have,” was her response. Then she continued, “You know, what you and your husband are doing raising these little children is wonderful, but I know it’s hard work. I’m an old woman and I don’t watch other people’s children anymore, but I can do your laundry. You just have Rodney drop it off on his way to work, and pick it up on his way home. I’ll wash it, dry it, iron it, fold it; whatever is needed.”
Shame on me, because the whole time she was speaking, I was thinking, “Oh, Lord, not the underwear! I can’t send our underwear to someone else to do!”
Betty was still talking, “Last week I noticed you up on the platform during praise and worship and you looked very tired. I was thinking about you all week and then I felt the Lord telling me to, `Ask Ronni if she’ll let you do her laundry,’” then she finished with, “Now, don’t you rob me of this blessing!”
At the time I didn’t know how to respond. Not wanting to hurt Betty’s feelings, I let her know I would think about her offer. Even though I had poured out my heart about how difficult it was to keep up and how I missed my devotional time with Him, I was unprepared for God to actually do something about it. He had given me the task of caring for these little ones and I was a little put out that He’d taken me seriously when I said I was having trouble keeping up. So I thought, “If I just get a little more organized, I can take care of this myself.”
As I walked in and surveyed the laundry room a couple of weeks later, I sagged against the washer. The mountain of laundry hadn’t diminished a bit with my efforts to take care of things myself. As a matter of fact, it was now bigger than ever. “Well, Lord,” I said, “I guess I could send everything but the underwear.”
Very clearly, I heard that still small voice say, “When I ask you for your dirty laundry, I want all of it, even the underwear.”
That’s when I broke. That mountain of laundry now represented the mountain of pride in my life. Who was I to look disdainfully on a gift offered in love?
As I picked up the phone my eyes were filling with tears and when I heard sweet little Betty’s voice on the other end, my own voice shook as I said, “Betty, do you still want to help me with my laundry?”
My tears quickly turned to laughter at her ready response of, “Bring it on over, Honey, bring it on over!”
Our clothes were never cleaner, brighter, or less wrinkled than during the almost two years that Betty faithfully and lovingly did our laundry. Then when our little foster daughters were placed in their “forever home” through adoption, we both knew it was time for me to resume the task, and although she no longer does our laundry, our friendship remains strong. She laughed one day when I told her I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. I still do.
[ by: Ronni Wintermote (MountainWings.com) — from Margrit, via InspiredBuffalo@lighthouse.net ]
Submitted by Richard