What Housework is Really About

They are two at the sink, in mama-stitched aprons, with the next basket of potatoes brought in from the garage, brought in from the garden, brought in from the long ago summer.

And I laugh at the counter, laugh happy at this brother and sister scrubbing up spuds like long ago Brother Lawrence.





Like thatBrother Lawrence who stood in a kitchen and said over his own spuds,

The time of work does not with me differ from the time of prayer.

In the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great a tranquility as if I were upon my knees…”

This kitchen clatters and these children call all at the same time, all for different things, and true saints don’t seek God only in still cells, but commune with Him in the clatter and the kids calling — this is their calling.

Malakai tells Shalom he needs more water and she dangles off the edge of the sink to reach the faucet. He drops potatoes into water, splashes dirty water over the counters. The washing machine groans. I have an Everest to fold, put away. Someone’s dumped the basket of crayons all over the floor.

Science may call it entropy, the second law of thermodynamics — nature slipping from order to disorder. But really, it’s this: the first law of motherdynamics — the clean always slips to chaos.

And this is the doing: to keep ordering, washing away, sweeping clean, working it all back to the Perfect Time Before, before the Fall… beating back the chaos, the powers of destruction.

Simple acts of cleaning are my humble, conquering efforts in the quotidian struggle between chaos and order, creation and disintegration, God and Death.

Is this housework a picture of entering into Redemption? To bring restoration to that which has fallen… This housework, this kitchen work, a picture of prayer? To bring the ordinary life to the Omnipotent God…. Where else do we meet God if not in the everyday work?

Housework is really being about the work of God — praying, serving, praising. And in these domestic chapels, God, The Very Person of Peace, offers Himself to the congregants.

Shalom looks up at me, her sleeves rolled up and dripping wet and she smiles, “Isn’t this good, Mama?”

I smile. “Yes, so good, Shalom.” I reach for a dishcloth to wipe off the counter. “Here is so good.

We stand at the sink together scrubbing up the potatoes.

Us all standing in shafts of chapel light.


“To lift up the hands in prayer gives God glory,
but a man with a dungfork in his hand,
a woman with a slop pail,
give Him glory

God is so great that all things give Him glory —  if you mean that they should.”

~Ignatius Loyola

Further encouragement:
Peace is a Person
The Year of Here

And oh, may I just whisper about yesterday? Your reviews at Amazon — where  One Thousand Gifts holds #12 in their Top 100 books? You all know it’s all and only God, yes? That He takes my mangled, stammering words and somehow makes you read something you need? That the words are from Him, and His gift to you? I can never get over Him! I praise Him with you… for the wonder of using a my very meager, humble offering for any good…

Praise Him for the way He’s meeting you in One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

  • “The beauty here is painful in its intense exquisiteness. It’s almost as if you can only look for a moment, then you must look away and absorb what you witnessed. To read it is to witness this holy transaction”
  • “I was not prepared for the way that this book took hold of the strings of my heart… to say this book wrecked me is such an understatement.”
  • “This will be my favorite book. Period. I don’t want it to end. Amazing. I have a whole list of friends I would love to buy this book for…sorry, I will not be loaning my copy out.”
  • “This book is not beautiful because it hides the ugly but in fact, it is beautiful because it inspires one to see the beautiful either in spite of or even because of, the ugly. It is real and it gives hope.”
  • “There is much hype about [this book]. As I’ve read the hype, the blogs and the reviews, it all seems trite. None of the hype does this book justice. … a gem of a book. Most importantly, this book is different. It is unlike any other Christian women’s book I’ve read. It is simple and remarkable. Profound and brilliant.”
  • “It is the ONE book that I have purchased, since buying my kindle, that I went on to buy a hardcover of. This is one I want to hold in my hands…”

May God change lives. It’s only Him and only He can.

To read all early reviews from Amazon

(And if you leave an honest, frank review at Amazon or Christian Book Distributors or DaySpring — drop me an email and I’ll happily send you a signed name plate? It’d be my humble joy. I’ll send them out this weekend… Thank you for praising Him with me! )

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