Nothing but the toilets

My to-do list, written by morning’s first light, lies pristine on a kitchen counter. Nothing checked off or accomplished.

What happened to the day?

I roll back the hours when morning prayers brought to mind the faces of those I love, and prompted a flurry of emails, texts, and phone calls. Praise God for technology that shrinks the miles and unites hearts with instant communication.

Not one to sit idle, the taskmaster rises within me even though I’m on the phone. I scrub toilet bowls and wipe sinks while I talk with someone a thousand miles away.

Clock strikes noon, bringing me back to “my list.” I’m off like a racehorse to the county jail. More prayers rise heavenward for the women inmates who wait for me behind cement walls, desperate for God’s Word. But chapel time surrenders to jail maintenance and prevents me from going inside. Do I check jail ministry off my list if it doesn’t happen?

Check my watch, calculating the minutes until the repair man shows up to my house, must get the heater fixed. Rush home to discover he’s running late; probably won’t happen today. Minutes slip through my fingers like liquid soap as the twilight hour appears.

Hungry stomachs must be fed so I puree pumpkin soup and listen for my husband’s car in the driveway. He earned a paycheck for his labor. What do I have to show for my day? Seems like nothing but the toilets got done. 

Chris Tomlin sings from my IPOD speakers, “Your grace is enough…I’m covered in your blood. So remember your people, Oh, God.”

I sprinkle cinnamon in the soup and ponder, is God’s grace enough? Or do I try to earn His favor and find my value in the doing? I gladly receive God’s grace when I mess up, and extend grace to others who fail. So why is it hard to give myself grace when I don’t meet my own expectations?

And relax, knowing that sometimes…..

Seeking God and remembering His people in prayer may be the only thing I can muster. But in God’s Book, my relationship with Him and others is everything.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

A light rain descends and dances like reindeer hooves on my roof. I grate zucchini and crack eggs for homemade bread ~~ an offering to my husband for a job well done.

Set the oven timer and scan my list. Clean toilets aren’t on the list. Neither are the names of people I spoke with, or intercessory prayer, but I know God laid those people on my heart.

Garage door rumbles open, and my husband enters the kitchen bearing the weight of the world. He sniffs the air where the aroma of pumpkin soup mingles with oven-baked bread. Smiling, I walk into his arms. His shoulders relax, and the pleasure on his face assures me that “my only aim is to know Christ” and love others.

The rest is gravy.

Author: Karen Foster

I'd like to say I've changed, but after decades of living, I still have the same four passions. My relationship with Jesus, spending time with family, attending live theater, and writing devotions & first-person stories about a loving, faithful God who reveals Himself in our every day circumstances.

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