Monday, June 15, 2009

Delicate Cycle or Heavy Duty With An Extra Rinse?

"Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin."
Psalm 51:2


I often wash our children's sneakers and footwear on the gentle cycle of our washing machine. It cleans and freshens up the shoes, and they look like new. We don't have to replace their shoes as often because we try to take good care of them. "Shoe Stewardship" as we call it.

Recently, after a day at the park (after a full day of rain the day before) with Gabrielle's class for an end-of-the-school-year picnic, our flip flops and sandals were filthy. The mud and wet playground mulch had seeped deep into the porous material of our footwear. When we got home, I put our footwear in the washing machine on the delicate cycle with some other delicate items.

When the delicate load of laundry was complete, I opened up the washer to hang the clothes and to put the shoes out in the sun for drying. As I pulled out our footwear, I was surprised that they were still dirty. The delicate cycle was not strong enough to do the deep cleaning they needed. I put the shoes back in the washer (in a laundry bag) with a heavy duty load, which included high agitation, high spin and an extra rinse. After the heavy duty load was complete, our footwear came out clean!

I felt God whisper to my heart as I stood in the laundry room finishing up the day's laundry. "Sometimes, Sharon, I need to run the heavy duty cycle on your heart to get out the dirt that has seeped in." Recently, I had been through some "heavy-duty cycles with high agitation, high spin and an extra rinse" of my heart. The heavy-duty agitation I experienced and the high spin and extra rinse were just what my heart needed at the time. It wasn't comfortable; it was downright painful at times. But I knew God was doing a necessary work in my heart.

He met me personally in our laundry room. The powerful wash and extra rinse by the Living Water through the water of His Word was just what I needed to shine more brightly for His glory and purposes. While I'd often prefer to keep my heart on "The Delicate Cycle" for cleansing, I fully realize that any significant growth in my walk with the Lord would not occur with out the deep cleaning my heart needs at times. And as only our amazing God can do, He is gentle with us even during the heavy-duty cycles of life. He rules over the surging seas. He stills them with a whisper. "And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:12

"O, LORD God Almighty, who is like You? You are might, O LORD, and Your faithfulness surrounds you. You rule over the surging sea; when its waves mount up, You still them."
Psalm 89:8-9
"I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:29
"He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify them and refine them like gold and silver."
Malachi 3:3

7 comments:

Blessed Mom of 8 said...

Sharon,

Oh I think that could be one of the greatest problems in the body of Christ. We as humans don't want to be put through the heavy duty cycle. Too many pray to get out of a trial - to miss it all together - to be healed right now - to avoid all danger - to avoid any hardship - to avoid losing someone or things - to avoid losing money, etc. The list of avoidance is long.

If we are praying this way - we are telling God what to do vs. saying whatever it takes Lord, however You have to do it Father, let Your will be done in me and through me. That is the prayer our Father always answers and because His love for us is deeper than any ocean and higher than any mountain and wider than the eye could ever see - and He is faithful and good all of the time - we can be sure that His plans are good, wait BEST and PERFECT for us no matter what He allows or brings into our lives!

Heart cleaning is a wonderful journey - and I love looking sparkly new after the tears have dried up!

BIG BIG HUGS!

Oh how sweet our Father's love for us - so deep we can NOT measure!

Love,
Jill

Mich said...

Wow! I loved this...

A lesson taught through an ordinary daily chore. As I conquer my mountain of laundry, both the physical and the spiritual, your words hold such encouragement.

Thank you.

Chatty Kelly said...

I can relate to this SO MUCH! When I pray for changes it my life, my constant ending was always "but don't let it hurt too much." One day while sitting in church I just had a profound sense that I needed the "heavy duty cycle." I prayed "give me the discipline I need, even if it hurts." A first!

God is so good. :-) (and Jesus is better than Oxyclean!)

Edie said...

This is a great analogy Sharon. I think I have been going through the heavy duty cycle lately myself.

Thanks for the word. :)

Much love!!

christy rose said...

Joy,
God often speaks to me through daily routine things that I do. He gives me object lessons and analogies that help me so much. He is so good to relate to us right where we are!!!Even at home as a mommy. Great post!
Christy

On Purpose said...

Great truth...and way to make the dullness of laundry come to life!

Pinkshoelady said...

Wow!
This is my life the past several months. I have been in the heavy duty cycle not once but thrown back in again because of a stubborn stain deep in my heart. God finally put His special stain remover called "Forgiving Others" on it and washed me hard one more time. I came out clean! It seems I've had a little bit of unforgiveness about an event in my life I thought was long gone and over. I'm Glad does whatever is needed and doesn't do like I do when a bad stain wont come out...throw the garment away.
Thanks for once again inspiring and challenging us to love Him more!
Pamela