Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Dishwasher's Prayer

Written for my twelve-year-old sister, Maddie, who one day asked if I knew any poems or scriptures about washing dishes, for that particular chore makes her "cross". What came forth was as much a reminder for me as an encouragement for her...

The Dishwasher’s Prayer

As I begin my morning chore
And dishes start to clink,
I ask that You would join me here
Next to the kitchen sink.

I’m feeling cross and kind of rushed.
There’s so much here to do!
This job is never ending and
There’s sweeping to do, too!

When all my heart cries out against
This work I do each day,
I pray that You would bless me
In a very special way.

Grant me a smile as I begin,
Infuse my heart with joy.
Guide me as I clear the plates
And wash where little boys
Left fingerprints for me to wipe
And crumbs to sweep away.
May I remember as I serve
My loved ones every day
That You began this fine display of service to your friends,
And most of all, You serve me, too-
And Your work never ends.

Today as I am standing here
My hands in sudsy water,
I’m thinking of a time when I’ll
Be standing with my daughter.

Shall I be cross and pouty then?
For surely she will see
That Mama has a sour face
And she will mimic me.

Shall I wish to be somewhere else?
Or shall I sweetly do
The work my family makes for me?
Oh yes, I’ll serve them, too.

So as I wrap my apron round
And put away the food,
I pray that You would sit and rest
And let me serve You, too.

For I know that when I do these things
For those surrounding me,
I’m also doing them for You-
Ah! You have helped me see.

...and some scriptures that, while they may not reference dishwashing directly, nevertheless remind me to be "all there" in service to others...

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. (Galatians 6:4-5)

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again- rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me- everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:4-9)

I love you, Maddie.


32 fellow travelers shared:

Laura said...

What a great reminder for me, as well. Thanks for sharing!

A said...

Hmm . . . it's harder, I think, as a single to remember that He's here in my (messy) little apartment and that it's not just me that I'm serving, I'm serving Him. Hmm . . . I'll try to remember that!


Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Dear Elise:
Thank you so much for my poem! It is helping me get the job done cheerfully and quickly, with no (or fewer) cross looks!
I love you and miss you!!!!

Grafted Branch @ Restoring the Years said...

That Galatians verse is. SO. TRUE!

And what a blessing Maddie is, at 12, to so desire to take every thought captive to Christ. Precious.

Martie said...

I loved your poem. I will have my girls read it in the morning! What a wonderful reminder.

Thanks Elise,


Stacey said...

Mmmmm, think I will be printing this off!!! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Anonymous said...

Every once in a while, I have a JOLT of a reality that I'm not living. Usually it is a vision that inspires me to "be more like that." Most recently, I saw myself rushing to do the dishes before anyone else lay a finger on them, because it was MY job. (Like I used to look with longing every time any one else was holding Rebeccah when she was a newborn; I just couldn't wait to get her back!) I had this rush; this feeling of pride and ownership, that I GET to do these things because it is MY niche, MY place, MY thing, MY job-DON'T ANYONE ELSE TOUCH IT! I am confident the part in my vision about anyone else touching it will never be true, but what about the rest? I tell you all this because this vision was inspired by you! I know you get tired, and you struggle, but through it all you show such a thankfulness and willingness to serve your family in a way that I strive for. Thank you, again, Elise. We can never say, as mothers and wives, that we are alone and unconnected, free floating beings in space that don't have our niche! Thank you, Lord, for giving us meaningful work to do!


Andrea said...

You are a special sister. What a great poem. Even 32 year olds need to hear this poem.

Ness said...

Maddie is fortunate to have a sister like you!

Happy New Year, Elise!


Deb said...

Elise, I LOVED your poem for your sister! How very special! Plus, I think it's very special for you to have a 12-year old sister!

This is also an idea. Do you knit Elise? Or does your sister? When I have knitted dishcloths and given them to friends, I will ask them to pray for me when they use that particular cloth in their kitchen. If you do knit, you could knit your sister several colorful cloths and ask her to pray for a certain person when she washes with that cloth.. i.e. pray for Micah when she washes with the blue one or pray for your daughter when she washes with the soft yellow one, etc.

I sent a blue/white dishcloth to a blogger in Taiwan and asked her to pray for me whenever she uses it. I am very excited to know the Lord will hear her prayers for me a world away and that a dishcloth I knit is now in a missionary's kitchen in Taiwan!

Maybe something simple like this could also encourage Maddie.

Christine said...

Oh, I need to print this out! Dishes are not my nemesis, but I have plenty of other things that I grumble while doing! Glad to see you! Happy New Year!

Beka said...

Elise, this is wonderful. I think I need to post this near my kitchen sink. How special that you did this for your sister.

Happy new year! May God bless you so richly in 2008. Sending lots of love...

Sarah said...

Great reminders Elise, as always. Dishes is actually not the chore that makes me cross, I get great satifaction out of a "job well done" as you said, it is laundry for me (sigh), BUT I will do my laundry with new joy today I think! Thank you!
p.s. As for beans for breakfast, it's a favorite in our house, with all the other fixins of course, eggs, sausage, bacon, cheese, tomatos, onions, avacado, rice, salsa. (Travis is half hispanic, so I've loved all the authentic mexican cooking I've learned and continue to learn!)

Melissa said...

Thank you sooo much for sharing that. I'm on my way to re-teach my son how to clean the dishes & load the dishwasher properly--I'm dreading it. I'll put on my smile and share your poem with him and even though he's all boy, I think he'll understand!


Quinne said...

Hi Elise :) You are such a joy! Thank you for the lovely encouragement and the beautiful Scriptures. A very happy 2008 to you with love, Q

Kimmie said...

What a sweet and thoughtful poem, full of truth and wisdom.

May we all be servants, and let us learn to train our children, as we serve, in spirit and in truth.

Thanks Elise and Have an abundantly blessed New Year.

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

rcsnickers said...

What a beautiful poem and reminder to us! You have such a talent.


Heather@Mommymonk said...

What a wonderful poem. Thanks for sharing these meditations on dirty dishes. When I remember that all service is done unto my King, it changes my attitude about everything. And I often need that kind of reminding.

Shelley said...

Just what I needed, I will apply it to cooking meals for my family. I have been in such a rut lately. My dh wants me to fix healthy meals, like baked fish and brown rice, and lots of raw veggies and the kids just sigh when they come to the table and it's just so tiring.

I am thrilled that my dh wants to eat healthy and it is good for all of us even if we're not trying to lose weight. I just need to repent of my lack of enthusiasm and serve my family as if it is the Lord Jesus Christ I am serving.

Many women would be thankful for a healthy family to cook for or the health to cook for their family. Sometimes I just need perspective.

Cindi said...

Oh Elise, if I may I am going to print and frame that for my daughter and I. Sometimes we have a hard time doing things with the right attitude. I keep reminding myself. Do EVERYTHING for His glory. Even wash the dishes! Thank you so much!

Liberty said...

I LOVE THIS! Do you care if I print this for my kitchen?

Liberty said...

I LOVE THIS! Do you care if I print this for my kitchen?

Mrs Wibbs said...

That's wonderful Elise!! Thanks for this food for thought :o)
I love the way you challenge with such grace and love and humility.
...And you have a 12 year-old sister???? That must be a lot of fun!!
Blessings and love to you, friend xx

Wendy said...

Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else. For we are each responsible for our own conduct. (Galatians 6:4-5)

oh how I need this reminder often. thanks for sharing this.

Alycia said...

Dear Elise, What a sweet token of love to your sister. I am sure it has helped to lift her up and I know it has also blessed me this morning as I face a day ahead sure to be filled with a sink of dishes! Blessings to you...

Maxine said...

Oh how very sweet! I need to wish you Merry and a Happy, but I hope to get a card out. I'm just late that's all! Blessings in 2008, dear girl!

Leigh said...

Wow! Did I need to read that today! Thank you. :o)

Jenn @ Munchkin Land said...

Oh, Elise, its been a while since I've had time to really stop and soak in your words. Know that I'm still reading everything you post, time just gets away from me when it comes time to posting comments.

I really enjoyed this prayer/poem. What wonderful reminders about whom I'm truly serving in the midst of the day-to-day. Thank you.

Hope you and the family are doing well!

The Small Scribbler said...

It's printed out and taped over the kitchen sink, this poem of yours...for my little dishwashers but most of all for me.


kate said...

Yes, I HATE washing dishes, as well as every other household chore!!! These past 4 years of being a homemaker have been a challenge for me, to say the least. But, God has been so faithful!! Thanks for a wonderful, humble, convicting poem that inspires me to wake up refreshed and thankful tomorrow morning!

Stacy said...


What a precious older sister you are!
Had one of my own younger siblings asked me, "do you know of a verse...?" I would have said something like, "Hm. What about this one? If I think of any more I'll let you know." And then likely I would have forgotten and that teachable moment gone.

But you- you wrote this! And it is good. It should be framed and sold in Bible bookstores everywhere. :)

Love you, sweet Elise.


Anonymous said...

Ha!! What a pleasant surprise for me and blessing too. God, you are so awesome!!! I love you Father. Through You, through Elise to me. <3 God bless you Elise!

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