Lessons from Dirty Dishes
a.k.a. How God Lovingly Corrects Me Through My Children
A guest post by Kim Newingham, Director of St. Paul’s Early Learning Center
Ever have that moment when you think, “OK, God. You are my Father. It’s a good thing that You are who You are…because if I was in charge I would have had ENOUGH!”?
That was me, one morning.
Getting up at 4:45am is not my idea of fun. That said, I know our morning runs better if I get myself ready before waking the kids. By 6:00am, I had showered, eaten breakfast, listened to some praise music, and put away the clean dishes from the dishwasher. I also put the dirty dishes from the sink into the dishwasher (yes, I often have dirty dishes in my sink when I go to bed…anyone else do that?). I went on to wake the kids, getting them ready and watching the clock to make sure we were on track. With about 10 minutes to go, I chased the girls into the bathroom to brush their teeth, telling my son that he was to put the breakfast dishes in the dishwasher since I had already done “his” job of emptying the dishwasher.
When I returned to the kitchen, he was just getting ready to put away the bottom rack of dishes, having already put the top rack of DIRTY dishes into the cabinets. I am not proud of my response – just suffice it to say it was not uplifting or particularly helpful (can you identify?). I grabbed some of the dirty dishes from the cabinets that I remembered putting into the dishwasher earlier and tossed them into the sink, grumbling the whole time about if he would JUST LISTEN when I told him to do something….
During the drive to drop the kids off at school, God nudged me. If I would JUST LISTEN…
…to the voice in my head that said, “Tell that woman she has a beautiful smile”
…to the voice that whispered, “Talk to the man on the corner with the sign and help him”
…to the voice that tugged at my heart, saying “It’s so cold outside, see if she needs a ride”
…to the Word that says “the least of these”
…to the Love that says “Follow me”
When I am frustrated with my children, it seems, is when God chooses to gently speak correction.
As my own words come back to nip at my conscience, I am convicted that I have so much growing to do. And so many times, I am reacting to a minor frustration, over things that just won’t matter two days from now.
Yet, God lovingly forgives all of my sins, from the things that I would consider frustrations to those I am appalled to admit that I have committed. Thank you, God!! As in the words of Psalm 19:14, May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer. May we all grow ever more like Him in our forgiving nature and willingness to offer grace!
Kim Newingham is a wife and mother of three, long time teacher of children, and the current Director of St. Paul’s Early Learning Center in Decatur, IL. You can contact Kim through the ELC by calling 217-424-9183.